Guidance: Primary History Topic Booklists
What are the history booklists for?
The history topic booklists are designed to provide curated reading lists featuring recommended children’s books that support the primary school history curriculum.
The booklists on the BooksForTopics website mostly feature books suitable for the primary school age range (4-11). We use a quality-selection process including a review panel and a curriculum-matching process to select the most suitable books for each topic. Each of our history topic booklists contains a carefully curated selection of books to support the teaching of the primary curriculum. Curriculum relevance is at the heart of our curation process – alongside quality and classroom suitability – and our thorough analysis of the history requirements for KS1 and KS2 helps us to select the most relevant books for schools teaching each of the topics.
Both teachers and parents find the history lists helpful for book recommendations, whether it’s to support learning in the classroom or for interest and enjoyment at home. Schools can also purchase the full bookpacks from Peters to make sure they have quality books to enhance their history curriculum offering.
What are the best history books for children?
Many children enjoy imagining life in the past and love to get stuck into all the gory details of history as well as the debates and mysteries that still puzzle historians today.
We love to share with you quality non-fiction books that inspire children with facts about the past or that help children connect the dots between different periods of history. A Street Through Time is an excellent choice of history book for children and it takes the reader on a 12,000-year journey to witness the changes to a single UK street over the span of British history. For children wanting to travel back to the very earliest civilisations, Ancient World Magnified offers an interactive element as well as giving an insight into life in the ancient past – presented in a seek-and-find format with a magnifying glass included. We also recommend Black and British: An Illustrated History, which is an essential addition to school libraries and explains the overlooked history of Black people in Britain from Roman times to the present day. History’s Biggest Show-Offs offers a humorous round-up of bold and brilliant characters from history who are known for their supersized power, riches, glamour, creativity or intelligence – and the book was described as a ‘must-have’ by our review panel.
There’s plenty of superb historical fiction available for children, too. Our favourite authors of historical fiction include Tom Palmer, Emma Carroll, J.T. Williams, Tony Bradman, A.M. Howell and Ally Sherrick. Children in KS2 looking for a good historical adventure story should try Secrets of a Sun King, which is set in Ancient Egypt, or The Buried Crown, which brings together aspects of Anglo-Saxon and Second World War history. We also recommend Tom Palmer’s page-turning adventure Arctic Star, which tells the story of the Arctic Convoys during World War II or Journey Back to Freedom, which explores the incredible true tale of Olaudah Equiano and his experiences of slavery.
Younger children looking for an entry point into historical worlds through picturebooks might enjoy the much-loved picture book Stone Age Boy, Floella Benjamin’s Windrush-inspired autobiographical picturebook Coming to England, the informative seek-and-find book Castles Magnified or the exciting adventures in Ice Trap, which tells the story of Shackleton’s astonishing journey through frozen worlds.
The Horrible Histories series is a very popular choice with children who love to discover all the gory details of life in the past. Readers who enjoy these books may also like our Branching Out booklist with recommendations of even more books for fans of Horrible Histories.
Each of the books mentioned above feature among our History Topic booklists.
Which history topic booklists are available?
The history curriculum booklists cover the span of the primary history curriculum, featuring a diverse selection of thematic recommendations for a deeper exploration of historical subjects. You’ll recognise the most popular history topics – like our list of Romans Books for Children or Ancient Greek KS2 Books – and you’ll also find more thematic lists to support broader historical understanding, such as the British Black History booklist or the list of Crime and Punishment topic books.
If you’re in search of children’s books that align with specific historical eras, our curated collection of children’s history books covers most of the topics on the KS1 and KS2 history curriculum. From stories about the Stone Age and Fire of London recounts to texts about the Anglo-Saxons and Victorian stories for children, you’ll discover a wide range of carefully chosen book suggestions to enhance historical learning.
Young learners with an interest in ancient civilizations from around the world can explore our topic booklists on the Ancient Egyptians and Ancient Greeks children’s book recommendations. Our history lists also cover the early to middle ages, including booklists dedicated to Viking history, Tudor times and the Slave Trade. You’ll also find recommendations for understanding more recent history through our Second World War booklists and recommendations of King Charles III children’s books.
Our history booklists encompass wider themes and broader historical periods, including children’s books about Explorers and the Kings and Queens topic booklist.
What are the most popular history topic booklists?
Here are a few popular favourites covering specific historical periods or events:
Here are some of our most popular thematic or wider-spanning history booklists:
Where can I purchase the books on the BooksForTopics history booklists?