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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.