Renaissance – Reformation Books For Kids


Curriculum Notes For Renaissance-Reformation Books

The Australian Curriculum covers Middle Ages history in Year 8.  The Renaissance is one of the options of focus topics for Year 8 in depth study. See how it fits into the high school history curriculum here.  See here for other year 8 subjects  Early Middle Ages  or Knights and Crusades.

Australian school textbooks focus on the Italian art and inventions and barely mention what is happening in church history. The Reformation brings significant  change to Europe and still shapes the church today.

It is a shame to cover all the middle ages history in one year. It took our family two years. This period is a fascinating study in human nature. I highly recommend you spending some time studying this period.

The middle ages is not a part of the Australian primary curriculum at all but nevertheless it is an exciting topic that is enjoyed by primary school children. If you feel a need to justify studying this topic use it as part of your English Literature and writing assignments for primary. There are many interesting books to choose from in this book list.

General – Middle Ages Children’s Books

Famous Men of The Renaissance by Rob Shearer

This is an excellent resource for going through all the significant people in the middle ages. I have used these for the kids to do written narrations. The version I have linked to here is a little more expensive but it has a good study guide that goes with it. Greenleaf Study Guide Famous Man of the Renaissance.

English Literature for Young Boys and Girls by HE Marshall

This book covers the evolution of English literature over the centuries. It begins with medieval works such as the first Celtic story of 1AD to 19th century. It will take you about 2 years to read through slowly. This will introduce your child to all the great classics and give you some history of their authors. Highly Recommended. Pages 688. Ages 10-16

The History of France by HE Marshall

History of France from 1st century to 19th Century. Excellent narrative story. Pages 550. Ages 10-16

Our Island Story by HE Marshall
History of England from 1st century to 19th Century. Excellent narrative story. Pages 448. Ages 10-16

Trial and Triumph — Richard Hannula
From Canon Press, this is a wonderful collection of short stories from people throughout church history. Especially written for children, it is nevertheless just as interesting for adults. From Polycarp in 69 AD to Wurmbrand in the 1900’s, this is a list of people who stood up for Christ, no matter what. Ages 9 yrs — adult.

The 100 Most Important Events in Church History – Curtis, Lang & Peterson
The church through the ages. Well-written, arresting (journalistic style) articles. Great for copywork and dictation, and good to just read. From the early church to today. More and shorter biographies than the Hannula book, and for an older age-group. Ages 12 yrs — adult.

The Seeds of Reformation Books

The Door in the Wall – Marguerite de Angeli
Robin, the son of a medieval English nobleman, becomes Crippled on the eve of beginning his page’s training. How he becomes the saviour of a town besieged by the Welsh is the amazing and challenging story. Newbery Honour book. Ages 7 —13 yrs. I actually found this a little boring although it  did explain medieval life well.

Otto of the Silver Hand — Howard Pile
Born into a baronial family that is already engaged in a blood feud with another noble house, motherless Otto is sent to live with monks while still an infant. Reclaimed at age 12 by his militant, but loving father, the gentle-natured boy is kidnapped and mutilated by the rival family. Fortunately, Otto finds comfort with his captor’s daughter, Pauline, who helps him escape. His father’s courage and cunning allow the lad’s safe return to the monks who place him under the emperor’s protection. His silver hand is a replacement for the one Otto lost while in captivity, but his injury does not prevent him from maturing wisely and marrying Pauline. Ages 10-14

The Beggars’ Bible – Louise Vernon
The story of John Wycliffe the famous Oxford professor who wants the common man to be able to read the Bible in their own language. Told through the eyes of a young lad who has troubles of his own.  I’ve actually read most of the Louise Vernon books aloud to my kids. They are good ways to teach church history. Ages 10-14

The Apple & the Arrow – Mary & Conrad Buff
The inspirational story of William Tell and his son’s courage and the birth of the nation of Switzerland in 1291. Beautiful illustrations. Newbery honour book 1952. Ages 6- 13 yrs.

Who in the World Was the Secretive Printer? The Story of Johannes Gutenberg – Robert Beckham
A large print chapter book about the amazing work of Gutenberg who had to print in secret, fearing for his life. A Peace Hill Press book. Also >available as an audio book. Ages 7 – 12 yrs

Fine Print – Joanne Burch
The story of the man who invented the printing press, printed the first Bible making it accessible to many for the first time in history, which resulted in fuel for the Reformation. Ages 8 —14 yrs.

Joan of Arc – Diane Stanley
A beautifully illustrated biography of France’s champion in the time of the Hundred Years War with England. Ages 7 —14 yrs

Reformation Books For Kids

The Trumpeter of Krakow -Eric Kelly
Set around the discovery of the Great Tarnov Crystal in Renaissance Krakow (Poland), this story portrays the growing influence of the universities, of Renaissance thinking, the work of alchemists and the temptation of greed while weaving in a brief history of Poland and the Eastern lands. Ages 10 — 17 yrs.

The Apprentice – Pilar Llorente
In Renaissance Florence, thirteen-year-old apprentice Arduino’s dreams of being a painter are challenged after he discovers the extreme measures the Maestro Cosimo di Forlc will take in the name of jealousy. Arduino faces a decision that could cost him his only chance to realize his life’s dream. Ages 9 -14 yrs

Michelangelo – Diane Stanley
Well written story about the life of this famous painter. These books are very beautiful to look at as well as read.

The Man Who Laid the Egg -Louise Vernon
The English professor, Erasmus, who questioned the way things were done in the Catholic Church in England, despite having no obvious intentions of breaking away from it, sowed the seeds that started the Reformation. Told from the viewpoint of a boy caught up in the drama. Ages 7 — 14 yrs.

Spy for the Night Riders -Dave & Neta Jackson
Exciting fictional children’s story, based on truth, about the life of Martin Luther, told dramatically from the point of view of his trusted young servant. I found it gave a great picture of the life and times of Luther, and also what a courageous man he was. Ages 8-13 yrs.

Leonardo Da Vinci – Diane Stanley
Beautifully illustrated story of the life of the prime Renaissance man: artist, inventor, thinker. Ages 7 — 14 yrs.

The Second Mrs Giaconda -E.L. Konigsburg
A story is woven about the life of the great painter, Leonardo da Vinci, from the viewpoint of his main apprentice. Exciting, moving and memorable. Forms a relationship between the reader and the artworks of Leonardo. Ages 10 —16 yrs.

Around the World in a Hundred Years – Jean Fritz
Study the life of the explorers of the 15th century. Ages 9 – 12 yrs

Starry Messenger – Peter Sis
*Great for a science reader also.
The life and genius of the famous scientist, mathematician, astronomer, philosopher and physicist, Galileo Galilei, are portrayed in this picture book that includes maps, events and a world view of the times Galileo’s times. Large print for younger readers, and small print “sidebars” for older readers. Ages 5—11 years.

Johannes Kepler – John Hudson Tiner
*Great for a science reader also
Thrilling story about the life of one of the greatest scientists of all time. He began the process that gradually replaced superstition with reason. Newton said he could see further for he stood on the shoulders of giants like Kepler. Sower series. Ages 8—17 years

Spanish Inquisition

Blood Secret—Kathryn Laskey
Abandoned by her irresponsible mother, Geraldine Luna goes to live with her great aunt in New Mexico (USA). She discovers her own family’s history in an old trunk hidden in her great-aunt’s cellar. In this trunk are mementos from her Spanish ancestors – Jews who suffered, generation after generation for 500 years under the Inquisition, moving from city to city in 1391, to Portugal, then to Mexico where the brutality followed them – right to 1826. After generations of spiritual subterfuge, these Jews forgot they were Jews and became practising Catholics, yet clung unwittingly to Jewish customs, like lighting a candle on Friday night. This book portrays the crushing effects of those blood-saturated centuries and the dawning realisation of a teenage girl of how this has affected her. Masterful! Ages 14 -18 yrs.

The Royal Diaries: Isabel: Jewel of Castilla
This interesting diary tells the early life of one of the most influential women of medieval Europe. She sent out Columbus, rid Spain of the Moors and supported the Spanish Inquisition. Ages 12 – 17 yrs

Expanding Contacts

Who Was Ferdinand Magellan? – Sydelle Kramer
A large print chapter book (10 chapters) about the great world explorer, first to circumnavigate the globe. Detailed line drawings. Ages 6 — 13 yrs.

Christopher Columbus – Peter & Connie Roop
The exciting story of Columbus’s life using the journals he kept while traveling to the New World. Illustrated. Ages 7 — 13 yrs.

Secret of the Andes -Ann Clark
A story about an Inca boy. Relevant here because it was during the Renaissance that Pizzaro conquered the Incas and their civilisation ended. Ages 8 — 13 yrs.

Armada: The Story of Thomas Hobbs, England 1587-1588 (My Story Series.) by Jim Eldridge
Fictional diary of a young boy, set during the reign of Elizabeth I when the British Fleet under Sir Francis Drake routed the entire Spanish Armada causing Britannia to ‘rule the waves’. The story of the greatest battle of 1588. Ages 10 — 15 yrs

You Wouldn’t Want to Explore with Sir Francis Drake! — David Stewart
Drake, the pirate who sailed the Spanish Main in the Golden Hinde, and Queen Elizabeth’s favourite adventurer, allows an investigator to join his crew and find out the truth about his voyages. Ages 5 — 10 yrs

Renaissance - Reformation Books For Kids

The English Reformation – Middle Ages Books For Kids

Mary, Bloody Mary – Carolyn Meyer
The story of the childhood of Queen Mary, remembered for her brutality. Shows her as a small child, wanting her father’s approval but receiving only neglect. Mentions some of her father Henry’s lifestyle excesses, but I found it a wonderful opportunity to talk about such things with my daughters. A worthwhile book. Ages II —17 yrs.

The Bloody Tower (My Story) -Valerie Wilding
A fascinating story from the viewpoint of the daughter of a warden of the Tower of London. Tilly Middleton tells about the various comings and goings to and from the Tower during the reign of Queen Mary: the reign and death of Lady Jane Grey and other contenders for the throne, and the long imprisonment of Princess Elizabeth. Photos and historical explanation at the end. Fiction based upon true events. Ages I I —17 yrs


The Enchanted Island – Ian Sherraillier

A more condensed retellings of Shakespeare stories than Charles and Mary Lamb. It focusses on: “The Taming of the Shrew”, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, “The Merchant of Venice”, “Henry IV Part 1”, “Henry V”, “Twelfth Night”, “Julius Caesar”, “Hamlet”, “King Lear”, “Macbeth” and “The Tempest”.

Tales of Shakespeare – Charles and Mary Lamb

The stories of Shakespeare written in a narrative form. Excellent for studying the plays. Ages 12- 17 years

Bard of Avon – Diane Stanley
Here is the story of Shakespeare’s life written and illustrated beautifully. Ages 9 – 12 yrs

The Shakespeare Stealer —Garry Blackwood
A young orphan named Widge is sent to the Globe Theater to steal the script of “Hamlet” from Shakespeare’s own company of players. When he becomes friends with the actors, he must decide whether to disobey his sinister master or betray his new friends. Ages I 0 —14 yrs

Shakespeare’s Scribe — Gary Blackwood
When an outbreak of the deadly plague closes the Globe Theater, Shakespeare’s acting troupe sets off on a tour of England–and finds some real drama long the way. Ages 10 —14 yrs

Shakespeare’s Spy — Gary Blackwood
Intrigue, betrayal, and romance abound in Blackwood’s third installment of his series. Queen Elizabeth has died, and the Bard has begun a new play about political intrigue. Real intrigue, however, is close at hand for Shakespeare and Widge. Ages 10 — 14 yrs

Puritans, Pietists the Divine Right of Kings

Royal Diaries: Elizabeth Tudor, Red Rose of England -Kathryn Lasky

Good Queen Bess – Diane Stanley & Peter Vennema
A lavishly illustrated HB story for children about Queen Elizabeth I. Top notch. Ages 6 – 12 yrs

Mary Queen of Scots (My Royal Story) – Kathryn Lasky
No story of the reign of Queen Elizabeth can be complete without the story of the tragic Mary, Queen of Scots. A story of the childhood of the girl who was a queen but never reigned. Leads up to a true retelling of the end of her life. Ages 11 — 17 yrs

I, Juan de Pareja – Elizabeth Borton de Trevino
Is story of Juan, who was born a slave and died an accomplished and respected artist. Upon the death of his indulgent mistress in Seville, Juan de Pareja was uprooted from the only home he had known and placed in the charge of a vicious gypsy muleteer to be sent north to his mistress’s nephew and heir, Diego Velazquez, who recognized at once the intelligence and gentle breeding which were to make Juan his indispensable assistant and companion and his lifelong friend. Ages 11 — 17 yrs

A Parcel of Patterns – Jill Paton Walsh

A devastating look of how the plague went through one English village in the 1600’s, through the personal story of one girl. The difficult decisions each had to make — to help their sick neighbours or to quarantine them. Shows the human side of the statistics. Ages 1I —18 yrs

Red Hugh, Prince of Donegal -Robert Reilly

Not everyone was happy with Elizabeth l’s rule. The Irish, for instance, were not. This book tells the story of one Irish prince, imprisoned by the English, who manages to escape and return home. Bethlehem Book. Ages 10—17 yrs.

False Coin, True Coin – Lois Hoadley Dick

A girl whose life is changed by Bunyan’s preaching (author of Pilgrim’s Progress) endures the Great Plague and the Fire of London, and learns the difference between the false and the true. Wonderful story with a Christian message. Ages 9 — 16 yrs.

A Lion to Guard Us – Clyde Robert Bulla

Three children leave England alone in 1609 to sail to America to find their father who has built a house at Jamestown. Great story of the upheavals going on at the time in Europe and the sacrifices people made to get to the New World. Shakespeare’s play, The Tempest, was based upon this true story. Ages 7-13 yrs.

King of the Wind – Marguerite Henry

What was it like in the palace of the French King Louis XVI. Through this exciting true story of the coming of the Godolphin Arabian horse to Europe, the reader receives a real taste of France under the pre-revolution kings. Ages 6 —12 yrs

My Story: Civil War — Vince Cross

The amazing events that led to the beheading of King Charles and the rise of Cromwell. A look at some of the great families in England at the time. Ages 9 — l5 yrs

Robert Boyle – John Hudson Tiner

*Great science reader also

A fascinating look at the unusual childhood and remarkable discoveries of this trailblazer scientist. Listed in everyone’s hall of fame, Boyle stressed the importance of the experimental method to prove theories, rather than looking up the works of Greek scientists. In his life he founded modern chemistry, and discovered physics truths to fill many books. Sower series. Ages 9—17 years

Isaac Newton – John Hudson Tiner

Perhaps the greatest scientist of all time, a committed Christian, has his story explained here, in layman’s terms. All of Tiner’s books are god. This one is the best. Ages 9-17 years.

Susanna Wesley: Mother of John and Charles – Charles Ludwig

Excellent Sower series biography of this devoted and influential woman. Be inspired with her commitment to raising her children for God, despite their dire circumstances. Ages 11— 17 yrs

Royal Diaries: Kristina, The Girl King – Carolyn Meyer

Kristina signed the Treaty of Westphalia, ending the Thirty Years War of Catholic vs Protestant, then opened Sweden up to a stream of intellectuals, pushing her country into the modern world. Great story of a courageous girl. Ages 11 — 16 yrs

This book list has been provided by Mary Collis from A Living Education