Top 10 Best Historical Books for Children

Discover exciting stories, characters and events from the past in these thrilling historical books for children. From prehistoric times to the Second World War, these books cover a range of different fascinating eras, so whichever historical period your child is interested in, you're sure to find a book they'll love. Simply check out the list below for the best historical books for children, ordered by target age.

1. Dinosaur Roar!

Paul & Henrietta Stickland | 3+

Endorsed by the Natural History Museum, this bestselling picture book features vibrant illustrations, dynamic rhyming text and a colourful cast of dinosaurs! It's perfect for reading aloud, and children will love the eye-catching pictures. The book even includes a brilliant pull-out poster. It's roar-some!

2. The Orchard Book of First Greek Myths

Saviour Pirotta & Jan Lewis | 4+

Escape to an ancient world of mystery, fantasy and adventure in this thrilling book of myths and legends. Featuring ten much-loved Greek myths, these tales have been retold with warmth and wit for younger readers, and illustrated with bright, vibrant artwork. Children will love learning about the epic characters and extraordinary quests of the ancient world, including Theseus and the Minotaur, Odysseus, Pandora, King Midas and more.

3. The Wind in the Willows

Kenneth Grahame | 5+

Published in 1908, this unforgettable tale stars Mole, who pokes his nose out of his burrow and discovers that the world is a very exciting place. He comes to meet brave Ratty, kind old Badger and the pesky Mr. Toad, and they all set off on a thrilling adventure together. Charming and engaging, little ones will adore this delightful story.

4. Illustrated Stories from Dickens

Charles Dickens | 6+

Five much-loved Dickensian classics have been retold for younger readers in this gorgeously-illustrated collection. It includes Oliver Twist, Bleak House, Great Expectations, A Tale of Two Cities and David Copperfield, as well as a short biography of the world-famous author himself. It also features internet links so kids can discover more about the life and times of Charles Dickens.

5. The Great Fire

Ann Turnbull | 7+

It is 1666, and young Sam has been left alone and homeless by the Great Plague. He's lucky to get a job working for the Giraud family, although Andre, the son of his boss, makes things difficult for him. But then a fire breaks out on Pudding Lane. Before anyone fully realises what's happening, London's burning, and no-one can put the fire out. It's time for Sam to prove what he's worth - if he can make it out alive, that is... This riveting adventure is both gripping and illuminating.

6. War Horse

Michael Morpurgo | 9+

In this gripping tale, a horse named Joey witnesses the deadly reality of battle from both sides of the trenches in the First World War. He will come to understand the chaotic power of war, and the boundless beauty of peace. His owner, Albert, is determined to bring his beloved horse home safely. This engrossing story is a favourite with kids, parents and teachers alike, and has been adapted for film and stage.

7. Hetty Feather

Jacqueline Wilson | 9+

This heart-warming, funny and fascinating novel will captivate young readers. London, 1876, and Hetty Feather is left at the Foundling Hospital when she is just a tiny baby. She goes to live with a foster family in the countryside, and, with her 'brothers' Jem and Gideon, she sneaks off to visit the travelling circus, where she is enthralled by Madame Adeline and her horses. However, when Hetty returns to the Foundling Hospital, she goes back to a tedious life of uniforms and horrible food. Could her real mother be the marvellous Madame Adeline? Or is the truth even more surprising?

8. Carrie's War

Nina Bawden | 9+

Discover an evocative picture of life for evacuee children in World War II with this stunning classic novel. Carrie and her brother Nick are evacuated to Wales with severe shopkeeper Mr Evans and his gentle sister, Lou, whom he cruelly bullies. It's not long before the two children meet a cast of quirky village characters and become immersed in every aspect of village life - including a strange, unsettling mystery they must try to solve. Featuring suspense, intrigue and excitement, young booklovers will be enthralled by this wonderful story.

9. Goodnight Mister Tom

Michelle Magorian | 9+

This heart-breaking, illuminating tale follows Willie Beech, a deprived child who lives in London with his abusive mother. But when war breaks out and Willie is evacuated to the countryside, he is taken into the home of Tom Oakley, an old man who turns out to be kind and loving. Willie also makes a wonderful friend in Zach, who loves to go cycling. But what will happen when Willie's mother demands he come home - and tragedy strikes?

10. The Book Thief

Markus Zusak | 11+

Set in 1939 Nazi Germany, this captivating story is narrated by Death and follows Liesel, an avid young booklover and determined book thief at a time when thousands of books were being destroyed. When Liesel has to help hide a Jewish boy in the basement, the power of words and books to enrich the soul is explored by both youngsters as they try to evade danger and even death. This spellbinding yet shocking story is a must for any young booklover.

  • ACGOX 9 years +
    Jacqueline Wilson
    9 years +
    (3)
    • £6.89
    • RRP £6.99
    • Save £0.10
    Warm, moving, funny and totally fascinating, this Jacqueline Wilson book, Hetty Feather, is the perfect gift for young readers aged 8 and over.

    It's London, 1876, and Hetty Feather is just a tiny baby when her mother leaves her at the Foundling Hospital. The Hospital cares for abandoned children - but Hetty must first live with a foster family until she is big enough to go to school. Life in the countryside is hard but with her 'brothers' Jem and Gideon, she helps in the fields and plays imaginary games. Together they sneak off to visit the travelling circus and Hetty is mesmerised by the show, especially Madame Adeline and her performing horses. But Hetty's happiness is threatened once more when she is returned to the Foundling Hospital. The new life of awful uniforms and terrible food is a struggle for her. But now she has the chance to find her real mother. Could she really be the wonderful Madame Adeline? Or will Hetty find the truth is even more surprising?

    Jacqueline Wilson will surprise and delight old fans and new with this utterly original take on a historical novel. Set in Victorian times and featuring a brand new feisty heroine, Hetty Feather, this is a Tracy Beaker-esque tale that will thrill young readers.
  • ADKTS 6 years +
    Charles Dickens
    6 years +
    • £10.39
    • RRP £12.99
    • Save £2.60
    This is a beautifully illustrated collection of five best-loved classics from one of Britain's most famous writers, Charles Dickens, retold for younger readers. It includes "Oliver Twist", "Bleak House", "Great Expectations", "A Tale of Two Cities" and "David Copperfield" as well as a short biography of the great author himself. It is presented with internet links to find out more about the life and times of Charles Dickens.
  • AEBAS 4 years +
    Saviour Pirotta
    4 years +
    • £10.99
    • RRP £12.99
    • Save £2.00
    Here are ten of the greatest and best-loved Greek legends retold with warmth and humour for young children and illustrated with bright, friendly artwork. Meet Theseus and the Minotaur, Odysseus, Pandora, King Midas and a whole cast of larger-than-life characters in a series of extraordinary adventures. The perfect introduction to Greek Myths.
  • MZK2 11 years +
    Markus Zusak
    11 years +
    (7)
    • £3.99
    • RRP £7.99
    • Save £4.00
    Now a major motion picture starring Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson, The Book Thief is a moving and breathtaking novel that young readers and adults will both be sure to devour.

    Set in 1939 Nazi Germany, the country holds its breath, waiting on the brink of war. Young Liesel's life is changed forever as she stands by her brother's grave and picks up The Gravedigger's Handbook from the snow, committing her first act of book thievery and changing her life forever... So follows her love affair with books in an increasingly dangerous time. When her foster family hide a Jewish boy in their basement her world is both opened up and shut down, but the power of words and the ability for books to feed the soul is explored and enjoyed by both youngsters.

    Superbly crafted and incredibly moving, children aged 11+ simply must read this award-winning tale which has proved to be one of the most enduring and respected of recent times.
  • WHQ2 9 years +
    Michael Morpurgo
    9 years +
    • £3.99
    • RRP £6.99
    • Save £3.00
    In War Horse, award-winning children's author Michael Morpurgo allows readers to understand the horror of the First World War by recounting the experiences of a farm horse who is commandeered to join the front line.

    The unbeatable storytelling skills of Michael Morpurgo make War Horse a stunning, unputdownable tale that won't fail to move all readers from 9+. As Steven Spielberg's epic film version gained a whole new audience for this stunning piece of literature, there's never been a better time to read the book.
  • APVEP 7 years +
    Ann Turnbull
    7 years +
    • £5.89
    • RRP £5.99
    • Save £0.10
    "In sixteen hundred and sixty-six, London burned like rotten sticks." Left alone and homeless by the Great Plague, Sam struggled to survive. He was lucky to get a job working for the Giraud family. Though Andre, the son of his boss, doesn't make life easy. And then a fire breaks out on Pudding Lane. Before anyone fully realises what's happening, London's burning ...and this fire can't be put out. Now it's time for Sam to prove what he's really worth. If he can get out alive...A thrilling historical adventure produced in partnership with the National Archives. Sam's previous adventure is The Great Plague: A Cross on the Door, published by A&C Black.
  • AHXBC 5 years +
    Kenneth Grahame
    5 years +
    • £14.29
    • RRP £17.98
    • Save £3.69
    This timeless story opens with Mole leaving his spring-cleaning and going above ground to explore the world beyond his burrow. Making friends with Ratty, the two become inseparable and together they spend long summer days enjoying the delights of the river and its banks. Then they meet the impetuous Toad and the distinguished though slightly stern Mr Badger and find themselves caught up in a series of adventures to rescue Toad from his own reckless behaviour and return him safely to Toad Hall. Stolen cars, prison sentences, daring escapes, and dastardly villains all feature in this classic tale of high-adventure and rock-solid friendship. The Wind in the Willows is a story full of beautifully-drawn characters. It is cherished from one generation to the next and so makes a perfect choice for a gift book as it will be enjoyed in equal measure by those tucked up in bed hearing the story for the first time and those who remember many of its lines fondly as they read the story aloud for their young listeners. Now available with a set of 32 beautifully illustrated character cards, perfect for playing family-favourite games such as snap or pairs.
  • GMR2 9 years +
    Michelle Magorian
    9 years +
    • £3.99
    • RRP £6.99
    • Save £3.00
    In Michelle Magorian's classic Goodnight Mister Tom, a young Willie Beech is evacuated to the countryside due to the outbreak of the Second World War.

    A sad, deprived child, he slowly begins to flourish under the care of a kind old man, Tom Oakley. But then his cruel mother summons him back to war-torn London... Will Willie ever see his friend Mister Tom again?

    Full of characters to both love and hate, moments of grief and joy, and a marvellous, emotion-grabbing narrative, Goodnight Mister Tom will captivate adults and young readers aged 9 and over.
  • CWZ2 9 years +
    Nina Bawden
    9 years +
    (3)
    • £3.99
    • RRP £6.99
    • Save £3.00
    Nina Bawden, award-winning author of The Peppermint Pig, creates an evocative picture of life for evacuee children in World War Two with her classic novel Carrie's War.

    Carrie and her brother Nick are evacuated to Wales and live with strict shopkeeper Mr Evans and his sister Lou. They quickly meet a host of quirky village characters and find themselves absorbed into every aspect of life in the village.

    With plenty of suspense and intrigue, this book will enthrall readers aged 9+, fans of Carrie's War may also enjoy Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian.
  • DIX2 3 years +
    Henrietta Stickland
    3 years +
    • £3.99
    • RRP £6.99
    • Save £3.00
    Endorsed by the Natural History Museum, Dinosaur Roar! is a bestselling picture book that is widely heralded as a modern classic.

    Full of cheerful rhyming text, it's perfect for reading aloud and the images are truly eye-catching. Ideal for preschoolers who are fascinated by all things prehistoric, the book even includes a pull-out poster.