Living Books For Kids Europe
These living books for Europe are good for literature study, history, and geography lessons.
European history can also be found in:
Here is a summary of the European countries on this page:
- Scandinavia: Norway, Sweden and Denmark
- Germany and Eastern Europe
France – Living Books For Kids Europe
The History of France by HE Marshall This book covers the story of Frances history from Roman times to 1900. This book is an excellent read for understanding the political climate before and after the French Revolution
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. A famous tale set in the lead up to the French Revolution including the storming of the Bastille. Often set as a high school text – Ages 14+ . If you are looking for a good abridged version try this one. Ages 8+
In Search of Honor – Donna Lynn Hess Set in the French revolution is an existence where one calamity follows another, young Jacques Chenier struggles to free himself from the prison of his own bitterness and find the true meaning of honour. Great Christian message. Ages 10 – 14 yrs.
The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy What an exciting read this book is! Full of disguises the Scarlet Pimpernel smuggles aristocrats out of France. Highly romantic but an enjoyable story. The Jane Seymour Scarlet Pimpernel movie was a fun watch but it isn’t true to the book version.
Royal Diaries: Princess Marie Antoinette – Kathryn Lasky The life of this princess in the days where the rich wore wigs with entire landscapes in them, while the poor starved daily. Understand the lead up to the French Revolution and Marie’s tragic end. Ages 10 —16 yrs
In the Reign of Terror by GA Henty – This is an excellent story that helps you understand the characters of the time. A young Englishman is sent to England to live with a family of the French aristocracy. The French revolution begins and this young man now becomes crucial in helping the family escape. We listened to this as an audio book. Ages 10 – 16.
Time of Napoleon
The Flying Ensign – Showell Styles A combined volume of two Bethlehem books about a daring band of Englishmen who set up a defiant stand against Napoleon in both England and Spain. Includes Greencoats Against Napoleon and Byrd of the 95th. Exciting! Ages 9 —17 yrs
My Story: Waterloo — Bryan Perrett (OOP) The battle that marked the final defeat of Napoleon in 1815. In this story Bob Jenkins of the British Royal Horse Artillery tells of the great men on both sides, the acts of bravery he wouldn’t have thought possible, and the terrifying moments. Ages 10 — 17 yrs.
The Midshipman Quinn Collection – Showell Styles(OOP) A combined volume of four complete adventures of an unlikely hero against Bonaparte’s France. 600 pages of rip-roaring adventure as Midshipman Quinn captures informants, assaults fortresses, battles in mighty naval battles with Spanish treasure ships and makes desperate rescue attempts, all against impossible odds. A Bethlehem book. Ages 10 — 17 yrs.
Les Miserables – Victor Hugo
This book is over 1000 pages. It’s an epic tale of one man’s journey through great darkness and majestic light. Set after the French revolution as France struggles to find its way. Ages 14 —Adult
World Wars and After
The Silver Donkey – Sonya Hartnett
One bright spring morning in the woods of France, a soldier, blinded by the war, is found by a little girl named Coco, and her older sister Marcelle. In return for their kindness, the soldier tells the sisters marvellous tales, each story connected to the keepsake he carries in his pocket: a perfect, tiny silver donkey. As the days pass and they struggle in secret to help the soldier reach home.
Twenty and Ten – Claire Bishop
Twenty school children hide ten Jewish children from the Nazis occupying France during World War II.
Madeline – Ludwig Bemelmans
The famous story of the confident little girl in Paris, the old house with vines and their excursions around the city. Ages 3 — 7 yrs
The Glorious Flight – Alice & Martin Provensen
A pioneer of flight goes through a variety of prototypes of planes before finding something that flies. Ages 4 — 8 yrs
Italy – Living Books For Kids Europe
Papa Piccolo – Carol Talley
A story about a cat in Venice. Piccolo travels the narrow alleys of Venice and you can mark his journey on a map of the city. Wonderful illustrations of Venetian landmarks and architecture and an endearing storyline make this a great keeping book. HB Ages 4 – 10 yrs
Angelo – David Macaulay
High above the rooftops of (modern) Rome, Angelo begins his work restoring the facade of a once glorious church. A heartwarming story of the plasterer and a pigeon. Wonderful warm illustrations. HB Ages 4 – 9 yrs
The Small War of Sergeant Donkey – Maureen Daly
A heroic story of Chico, an Italian boy in the days of the German occupation, and his daring rescue of an American officer with his surefooted donkey. Bethlehem Book. Ages 7 – 14 yrs
Daughter of Vencie – Donna Jo Napoli
It is 1592. Donata lives in her family palazzo on Venice’s Grand Canal. As the second daughter, she is to be sent to a convent. Donato plans her escape from the palazzo and encounters a Venice she never knew existed, changing her family’s life forever. Engrossing and exotic. Ages 11 – 14 yrs
Duchessina: A Novel of Catherine de’Medici – Carloyn Meyer
A young Italian noble woman who became Queen of France.
Scandinavia – Living Books For Kids Europe
The Story of Rolf and The Viking Bow – Allen French
An epic saga with lots of twists and turns set in Viking times. Rolf is from a Christian family in Iceland who defies custom when he lights a beacon from the shore. This act of compassion outraged some and life begins to change for Rolf. This book is highly recommended as historical fiction. We read it aloud when my kids were at high school and they still enjoyed it. Ages 8 – Adult
For more Viking stories see the Early Middle Ages Book List
Number The Stars – Lois Lowry
A Jewish family in Denmark needs protection from the Nazis. A real page turner.
Snow Treasure – Marie McSwigan
In the bleak winter, Nazi troops parachuted into Peter Lindstrom’s tiny Norwegian village and held it captive. Nobody thought the Nazis could be defeated—until Uncle Victor told Peter how the children could fool the enemy. It was a dangerous plan. They had to slip past Nazi guards with nine million dollars
The Royal Diaries: Kristina, the Girl King – Carolyn Meyer
The life of this princess in the days where the rich wore wigs with entire landscapes in them, while the poor starved daily. Understand the lead up to the French Revolution and Marie’s tragic end. Ages 10 – 16 yrs
Greece- Living Books For Kids Europe
My Family and Other Animals – Gerald Durrell
When the Durrell family can no longer endure the damp, grey English climate, they do what any sensible family would do: sell their house and relocate to the sun-soaked Greek island of Corfu. Here Gerald, the youngest boy, spends idyllic years, developing a deep love and knowledge of natural science. The family fun is what makes this book worth re-reading many times. Note: some of the fun is rowdy at times and not entirely suited to young children’s reading, so we read it aloud and missed a small number of paragraphs. It was school reading for me in Grade 7 in the 1970’s. Ages 8 yrs – Adult
For more Greece stories see our Ancient Greece Booklist
Russia – Living Books For Kids Europe
The Miracle of Saint Nicholas – Gloria Whelan (Picture Book)
When Alexi learns from his babushka that a Russian village church has been closed for sixty years, the resourceful young boy decides to prepare it for a Christmas miracle.
The Royal diaries: Catherine, The Great Journey- Kristiana Gregory (OOP)
Russia, 1743. This is a fictional diary based on known facts about the life of Catherine, to become Tsarina Catherine the Great of Russia. HB. Ages 11 – 16 yrs
The Endless Steppe – Esther Hautzig
In June 1941 the Rudomin family is arrested by the Russians. They are capitalists – “enemies of the people”. Forced from their home in Poland they are sent in exile to Siberian steppes, only the strength of their family sustains them and gives them hope for the future. Ages 10 – 17 yrs
Letters from Rifka – Karen Hesse
Rifka and her family have fled Russia’s brutal treatment of Jews for America. But the path to freedom is full of deadly obstacles, resulting in Rifka not being allowed on the ship. An unforgettable story of immigrant courage by a Newbery award winning author. Winner of the Jewish Book Award. Ages 9 – 16 yrs
Eastern Europe – Living Books For Kids Europe
God’s Smuggler – Brother Andrew
The exciting story of a mission into the USSR that delivered Bibles and encouragement to the persecuted church. Don’t miss this book. Our children loved it. Ages 10 yrs – adult.
A Place Not Home – Eva Wiseman
Life in Communist Hungary isn’t easy for thirteen-year-old Nelly. Food is scarce and so are clothes. But she has great friends and a special boy she likes, so the hardships are bearable. When the Hungarian Revolution erupts in 1956, Nelly’s world crumbles. Along with the Revolution comes a new tide of anti-Semitism. Nelly’s family is Jewish, and her parents are convinced that the family must flee
The Good Master – Kate Seredy
Young Jancsi and his cousin Kate from Budapest race across the Hungarian plains on horseback, attend country fairs and festivals, and experience a dangerous run-in with gypsies Author of The White Stag.
The Singing Tree – Kate Seredy
Life on the Hungarian plains us changing quickly for Jancsi and his cousin Kate. Father has given Jansci permission to be in charge of his own herd and Katehas begun to think of going to dances. Then, when Hungary must send troops to fight in the great war and Jancsi’s father is called to battle, the two cousins must grow up all the sooner.
I Am David – Anne Holm
The story of a young boy’s journey through Europe after escaping from the camp where he had lived all his life. Sea, mountains and flowers, the colours of Italy, the taste of fruit, people laughing and smiling, all are new to David. And David learns that his polite manner, his haunted eyes and his thin features are strange to other people. It’s a little weird but still fascinating. We listened to it as an audio.
Netherlands – Living Books For Kids Europe
Winged Watchman – Hilda van Stockum
Dutch-Irish-American storyteller Hilda von Stockum has placed this adventure of resistance among the windmills of Holland during the Nazi occupation of World War II.
The Boy Who Held Back the Sea – Thomas Locker
The famous story of the little boy who put his finger in the dike in Holland, and so, saved his country. Ages 5 – 9 yrs
The Wheel on the School – Meindert DeJong
A whole Dutch village sets out to overcome many obstacles to bring the storks back to their village. Newbery Medal winner. Ages 6 – 11 yrs
Germany – Living Books For Kids Europe
Otto of the Silver Hand – Howard Pyle
A marvellous old story about a boy caught up in the murderous lives of Germany’s robber barons of the late middle ages by circumstances beyond his control. How a child’s innocence creeps into the chinks of a hard heart and wrests change. Fabulous illustrations. Ages 9 – 15 yr
The Book Thief – Mark Zusak
A book set in Germany in WWII. The heroine is a young German girl who can’t read and then learns to. It tells of the ordinary lives of these families and how the Nazis intimidated and ruined so their families. Ages 10 – Adult
Spain – Living Books For Kids Europe
Toro! Toro! – Michael Morpurgo
Antonito lives an idyllic life on his parent’ bull farm in Spain. When he finds his beloved bull calf is destined for the bloody struggle of the bull-ring, her concocts a daring plan to save the bull. It is 1936 and the drums of Spain’s Civil War are beginning to roll across the land. In this setting Antonito sees his courageous plan through. By a Children’s Laureate author. Ages 7- 14 yrs
Shadow of a Bull – Maia Wojciechowska
Winner of 1965 Newbery Medal. A suspenseful book about how the cowardly son of Spain’s greatest bullfighter finds courage to face a bull with honour. Ages 8 – 14 yr