Barbara Henderson - author of The Siege of Caerlaverock (available here) - has picked out her top five recommended children's books set in the Middle Ages.
The Book of Boy
Catherine Gilbert Murdock
Suitable for upper primary, this charming story retains plenty of suspense until the very end. It has a compelling narrator, a mysterious stranger and an impossible mission. It also has one of the best twists of any children’s books I know of. The Middle Ages are evoked in so many ways: language, settings and characters – but never do these things become a barrier to a modern reader connecting with the story. Just fabulous.
This text is an accessible, heavily illustrated and humorous take on life in the Middle Ages and I love the whole Danger Zone series. It will appeal to fans of Horrible Histories and to young readers who will learn without realising that they are learning. An excellent introduction to the topic, enabling children to imagine themselves in a medieval castle.
The granddaddy of them all – what medieval knights and castle game is not inspired in some way by Arthurian legend? This is a compelling collection of the best known Arthurian tales, retold for children and suitable for Upper Primary school.
All the Knight in Training books are excellent, entertaining and exciting young readers in equal measure. The dream team of Vivian French and illustrator David Melling weave their ample magic here: Sam J. Butterbiggins' only ambition is to be a Very Noble Knight, but he has been packed off to the castle next door. Now he has to put up with his annoying cousin Prune, and the weird creatures his aunt looks after in her Luxury Accommodation for Dragons, Griffins and other Regal Beasts!
Usborne sure know how to do a great line in lift the flap books with innumerable interesting facts and insights. The illustrations really sing here, with plenty of detail to be discovered by young 4-8 year-old readers (and their parents!). A joy!
Barbara's own book, The Siege of Caerlaverock, is set in Scotland in 1300. Ada’s castle home is under attack. Rocks and flaming arrows rain from the sky as Ada has a dangerous choice to make. Who will survive the siege of Caerlaverock? Find out more about the book on our blog.