Booklist: Children's Books
Plots and playwrights, executions and explorers, monarchs and musicians....there's no denying that the Tudor topic is one of the most exciting periods in British history to study. We've picked out some of our favourite texts suitable for primary school children to help explore the Tudor topic. Look out for stories featuring merry monarchs like Elizabeth I and Henry VIII, for galleons and gallows and also for tales containing no end of perils including plots to the throne, sneaky spies and deadly executions, in our selection of top children's books about the Tudors.....
Most suitable for upper KS2, Berlie Doherty offers a tensely dramatic tale with plenty of detail to explore about Tudor life. Set in the time of Henry VIII, this story explores the high tensions around religion and politics in this era as well as opening discussions about the power of the monarchy.
The Queen's Fool
Cat Sparrow lives in Tudor England during the reign of King Henry VIII. When her sister Meg is taken away by a strange figure, Cat sets out on a quest to find her. Living with a learning difficulty in a Tudor world means that Cat is often perceived by others as a 'half-wit'. With the help of a young actor, called Jacques, who has his own quest to complete, Cat embarks upon her quest and ends up joining a travelling troupe before joining Katherine of Aragon's court as the queen's fool. With plenty of historical details as well as everything you'd hope for in a Tudor adventure, from plots and perils to tournaments and feasts, this story offers fresh perspective into life during the Tudor period. Free chapter-by-chapter reading resources are also available to download from the publisher.
The Secret Diary of Thomas Snoop, Tudor Boy Spy
Philip Ardagh & Jamie Littler
Illustrated chapter book
Part of Philip Ardagh's popular 'The Secret Diary of...' series, this is highly entertaining historical fiction for a young audience, bringing a place, a time and a way of life alive for its readers. This one focuses on Thomas Snoop, a trainee spy looking to uncover Tudor traitors making plots against the king.
Part of the ‘Voices’ series, which celebrates the experiences of BAME figures in British history, Diver's Daughter gives a unique perspective into life in Tudor times. Eve and her mother start the story in South London. Eve’s mother was stolen from Mozambique as a child and the story offers insight into the lives of black families in England during this time. Patrice Lawrence paints a vivid picture of life within the cramped and dirty London streets, which transports the reader into Tudor times. The action moves from London to the South Coast and brings in the story of the sinking of the Mary Rose, as well as the fascinating lives of the divers who went to search for its treasures.
The Tudors: Kings, Queens, Scribes and Ferrets!
Comic style picture book
Retelling key events from Tudor history in an accessible way, pupils will enjoy looking over this book time and time again. The historical tales are retold in Marcia Williams' distinctive comic book style, with speech bubbles and many humorous details in both the text and illustrations that pupils will love. Topics include the Wars of the Roses, the Spanish Armada, Christopher Columbus's voyage to America and Henry VIII's many marriages.
Shakespeare's Globe (I Was There)
This short novel follows the exciting story of a young boy actor who was part of Shakespeare's own theatre company. Written from the first-person perspective, the text helps children to imagine what it was like to live in Shakespeare's times and be part of his plays in their original productions.
Tudors: Picture Book
Emily Bone & Galia Bernstein
A visual, image-filled information text from Usborne, covering different aspects of the Tudor period from monarchs and palaces to dresses and art. A handy reference guide for KS2 pupils to access independently.
My Friend Walter
Award-winning children's author Michael Morpurgo brings past and present together when Tudor explorer Sir Walter Raleigh visits a modern day family as a ghost. A good text to choose for making past-and-present comparisons as well as for learning more about the figure of Sir Walter Raleigh and his legacy.
The Queen's Token
Pamela Oldfield & James de la Rue
Illustrated chapter book
An illustrated Tudor story accessible to most readers in lower KS2, providing a lighter read than some of the other children's novels based on this topic. Stable boy Hal longs to work at King Henry's palace, but his dreams appear to be dashed when he gets accused of being a spy. Free guided reading notes are also available to download from the publisher.
Tudor Tales: The Prince, the Cook and the Cunning King
Terry Deary & Helen Flook
Illustrated chapter book
From the author of the popular Horrible Histories, this book is part of the 'Tudor Tales' series. The story is about a young boy who dares to challenge King Henry VII's claim to the throne. The text, which is accompanied by fun illustrations, is easily accessible to most pupils in lower KS2. You may also like the other tales in this series: The Thief, the Fool and the Big Fat King, The Maid, the Witch and the Cruel Queen and The Actor, the Rebel and the Wrinkled Queen.
What's So Special About Shakespeare?
Michael Rosen & Sarah Nayler
Award-winning children's author Michael Rosen explains what it was like in Shakespeare's time and how Shakespeare's plays became such a big part of our literary heritage. The text is full of interesting facts and written in Michael Rosen's lively and humorous style.
For more on Shakespeare's stories, we also like A Stage Full of Shakespeare Stories.
The Executioner's Daughter
Moss is the daughter of a Tudor executioner in the Tower of London and her job is to hold a basket to catch the heads of people as they are executed. When Moss escapes, she finds herself in an identity quest that will uncover surprising truths. An exciting and challenging read suitable for readers in Upper KS2 who are able to handle some gruesome details and emotive content.