British Empire Living Books For Kids
We use British Empire living books at My Homeschool in Year 4 and Year 6 as it looks at Australian History and their colonial past. However this is a period of history largely untouched in the Australian Curriculum even though it is a large part of our history. Charlotte Mason would be horrified!!
Some British history in that time period is covered in Year 9 with an examination of the Industrial Revolution. If you are using an overview approach of history as Charlotte Mason recommends then you will see the this period in context. Don’t forget you can also use these books as a part of your English literature studies.
Children’s History Book list 1850’s AD-1900AD
The British Empire, Franco Prussian War Period and The Turn of the Century
British Empire Books – History Spine
Our Empire Story – HE Marshall. Is all about the British Empire including the countries such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and India. This is a large book but it’s written at a children’s level.
British Empire Books – Historical Fiction
- My Story: Zulu War by Vince Cross. This book looks at English Imperialism in Africa. The exciting story about the Zulu’s fight to the death against the British who were determined to trade in the region. Ages 9 – 16 yrs (OOP)
- Shaka, King of the Zulus – Diane Stanley & Peter Vennema. A thrilling introduction to the Zulu people and a remarkable chapter in African history. Illustrated. Ages 7 – 13 yrs (OOP)
- Nory Ryan’s Song – Patricia Reilly Giff. Two-time Newbery Honour winning author tells the true story of Nory, her great-grandmother, a brave girl who kept her family alive through the Irish potato famine until her father sent them tickets to America. Astonishing and moving. Ages 9 – 18 yrs
- My Story : The Hunger – Carol Drinkwater. A fictionalized story of the real Irish potato famine. Good coverage of English politics, Robert Peel, the Irish freedom movement, the prisons, the landlords’ lives and the cruel laws that caused the famine. Light romance at one point. Ages 9 – 16 yrs.
- My Story: Indian Mutiny – Pratima Mitchell. Between 1857 and 1858 the Indian army mutinied against their English officers who represented the British Crown. Some call these the first Wars of Indian Independence. Fictitious story from the view of an Indian soldier boy. Ages 9 – 16 yrs.
The Franco-Prussian War Period
- Elisabeth, the Princess Bride of Austria-Hungary – Barry Denenberg Elisabeth, the bride of Austrian emperor Franz Joseph, rules with him over the combined Austro-Hungarian Empire, after the turmoil of rising nation-states that followed the 1848 revolutions all over Europe. Their nephew, Franz Ferdinand, eventually is killed in Serbia, igniting WW I , and when Franz Joseph dies two years later, there is no heir. The story of this amazing empress at the end of the Habsburg dynasty. Ages 11 – 17 yrs
- Under a Changing Moon – Margot Benary-Isbert Under King Wilhelm and his prime-minister, Otto von Bismarck, Prussia is about to undertake a major transformation. A nation-state will be formed out of a former large kingdom. Teenage Paula and her five younger brothers live through the turbulent times. A story of a happy Catholic family in 1865. A Bethlehem Book. Ages 11 – 18 yrs
- Crystal Snowstorm – Trevor Meriol It is the eve of 1848, a time of small revolutions throughout Europe. Young Catherine Ayre has been called from her quiet home in England by a grandfather she scarcely knows, Grand Duke Edmond of Letzenstein. She becomes a pawn in the political unrest of the small country. Bethlehem Book. Ages 9 and up.
- Following the Phoenix – Trevor Meriol The Revolution of February, 1848, has erupted in Paris. Paul and Christie, both English, and Jeanne d’Estel of Valmay each have concerns of their own to pursue. But when the generous-hearted Rafael is arrested by political enemies, harrowing days follow. Sequel to the previous book. Bethlehem Book. Ages 9 and up.
- The Hallelujah Lass – Wendy Lawton A story based on the life of Salvation Army pioneer Eliza Shirley who traveled at 16 years of age from England to start the work of the Salvation Army in the United States. The true story of a young woman who was determined not to be controlled by the cultural restrictions of her day, but to seek God’s will instead. Ages 8 – 17 yrs
- Kidnapped by the River Rats – by Dave & Neta Jackson. Two children on the streets of London are helped by the strange Salvation Army people. A children’s biography of William and Catherine Booth. Ages 8 – 14 yrs
- When Esther Morris Headed West – Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge The story of women’s suffrage in Wyoming, USA. Esther Morris sets out the prove voting isn’t bad for women’s health at all, and paved the way for countrywide suffrage for women. HB Ages 8 – 13 yrs
- Hudson Taylor – Janet BengeChristian Heroes, by YWAM Publishing. The biography of Taylor’s life, from his childhood through his ministry in China. Ages 8 – 16 yrs
Turn of the Century (1900)
- Mercy at Midnight – Lois Dick. The remarkable biography of Matilda Wrede, a Finnish baroness, who, in her late teens, heard the call of God to bring the gospel to the prisons, where men and women were treated worse than animals and given no hope. During the build up to the Bolshevik Revolution when the rich generally exploited the poor, we see a Christlike example who was loved by rich and poor alike. Ages 10 yrs – adult
- Plagues and Federation (My Australian Story) – Vashti Farrer Australia’s bubonic plague, the Boer War and the lead up to Federation in Australia. Ages 9 – 17 yrs
- My Story: Suffragette – Carol Drinkwater Votes for Women! Women from all walks of life wanted a political voice and gathered in Albert Square, London, at the turn of the 20th century for a peaceful demonstration. Here is the voice of one girl. Ages 11 – 17 yrs
- Amy Carmichael: Let the Little Children Come – Lois Hoadley Dick. This missionary to India sought to free little children from sordid lives as slaves in Hindu temples. Does not go into unneccesary detail about the lives of the children prior to their coming to Donavur, but there is a lot of tension when evil persons were fighting to get the girls back. A real battle of good and evil. Brilliant! Ages 13 Read his (fictional) story. Ages 10 yrs – adult
- The Good Master – Kate Seredy Two cousins spend an adventurous summer on a ranch on the Hungarian Plains. Wholesome look at the early I 900’s. Newbery Medal book. Ages 7 – 14 yrs
- Survivors: The Night the Titanic Sank – Caryn Jenner DK Reader, Level 2, Well illustrated. Positive ending about how this disaster led to greater safety at sea. Ages 7 – 10 yrs
- The Road from Home – David Kherdian In a little-known corner of the world, the Turkish government sets out to commit genocide against a large part of its population, the Armenians. This true biography is of a girl who went through it with her family, written by her son. Full of hope and courage. Has won numerous literary prizes. Don’t miss this book. Ages 12 yrs – adult
- The Night Journey – Kathryn Laskey Newbery Award. This is the unfolding story of one Jewish family’s flight to freedom from Russia, at the time of the last Tsar, Nicholas II. NB — a handful of unsavoury words are occasionally used by the lady’s grand-daughter with her friends. Ages 8 -15 yrs.
- First Flight: The Story of the Wright Brothers – DK Reader. At the turn of the 20th century, the Wright Brothers from the USA invented the first motorised plane. Large print readers with illustrations and photos. Ages 6 – 10 yrs
My Story Series:
Agincourt: – Michael Cox(OOP)
Hundred Years War between England and France (time of Joan of Arc, but a different major battle). A diary story of a young English boy who fought there in 1415. Ages 11 – 16 yrs
The Bloody Tower – Valerie Wilding
A fascinating story from the viewpoint of the daughter of a warden of the Tower of London (1550 AD). 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 11- 17yrs
Armada – Jim Eldridge (OOP)
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 causeing Britania to ‘rule the waves’. The story of the greatest battle of 1588. Ages 10 – 15 yrs
Mill Girl – Sue Reid
It is 1882. Eliza Helsted of Manchester, England is swallowed up in the industrial revolution as she begins work at the local mill as a factory hand. The fictional diary of her first year there. Ages 9 – 16 yrs.
The Hunger – Carol Drinkwater
A fictionalized story of the real Irish potato famine. Good coverage of the English politics, Robert Peel, the Irish freedom movement, the prison, the landlords` lives and the cruel laws that caused the famine. Light romance at one point. Ages 9 – 16 yrs.
Workhouse – Pamela Oldfield
In the easy to read diary style, read about the (fictional) life of one girl, Edith Lorrimer, who goes to visit the English workhouse her mother patronises in 1871. here the poor work as virtual slaves in laundries hour after hour, day after day. Ages 11 – 17 yrs.
Crimea- Bryan Perret (OOP).
What really happened in the Crimean war? Michael Pope of the 110th British Regiment tells his (fictional) story of the years between 1853 and 1857 when he fought in the Crimea. Maps and pictures included. Ages 10 – 17 yrs.
Indian Mutiny- Pratima Mitchell (OOP)
Between 1857 and 1858 the Indian army mutinied against their English officers who represented the British Crown. Some call these the first wars of Indian Independence. Fictitious story from the view of an Indian soldier boy. Ages 9 – 16 yrs.
Suffragette by Carlo Drinkwater
It’s 1909. Dollie is swept up in the thrill of the campaign for Votes for Women. Against her guardian’s wishes, she marches against Parliament with Emmeline Pankhurst and fellow suffragettes. Things turn violent, women are imprisoned and endanger their lives with hunger strikes.
The Trenches – Jim Eldridge
It’s 1917 and Billy Stevens is a telegraph operator stationed near Ypres. The Great War has been raging for three years when Billy finds himself taking part in the deadly Big Push forward. But he is shocked to discover that the bullets of his fellow soldiers aren’t just aimed at the enemy…
Battle of Britain – Chris Priestley
It’s 1939 and Harry Woods is a Spitfire pilot in the RAF. When his friend Lenny loses his leg in a dogfight with the Luftwaffe, Harry is determined to fight on. That is, until his plane is hit and he finds himself tumbling through the air high above the English Channel…
Patient, Princess Catherine – Carolyn Mayer
The sad story of Catherine of Aragon, first a bride of Prince Arthur, brought from Spain to foreign England, and her life there. After he died, she became Henry VIII’s first wife. Told through the eyes of one of her servant girls. Ages 13 – 17 yrs
Katie’s War – Aubrey Flegg
Caught in the Irish Civil War, Katie has divided loyalties: her shell-shocked father fought in the First World War and wants peace, but others still want to fight for a united Ireland.
Nory Ryan’s Song – Patricia Reilly Giff (OOP)
When a terrible blight attacks Ireland’s potato crop in 1845, twelve-year-old Nory Ryan’s courage and ingenuity help her family and neighbors survive.
Mary Jones and Her Bible – Mary Ropes
The story of the Welsh girl who walked barefoot over 50 miles to get a Bible in her own language. The beginnings of the British and Foreign Bible Society. Ages 7 – 13
James Herriot’s Treasury for Children – James Herriot
Beautifully illustrated true animal stories by the famous English vet. Blossom Comes Home, Only One Woof and The Christmas Day Kitten are some of the memorable tales included. Great gift. HB Ages 4 yrs – adult
Little House In The Highlands – Melissa Wiley
The story of the great-grandmother of Laura Ingalls Wilder, as she grows up in the
Scotland of the 1 700s. Four books: Down to the Heather Hills, Down to the Bonny Glen, The far Side of the Loch, Little House in the Highlands. Ages 9 – 15 yrs
The King’s Shadow – Elizabeth Adler
Evyn, a young Welsh serf, has dreamed all his life of becoming a storyteller. But in a cruel twist of fate, Evyn and his father suffer a brutal attack by a group of murderous ruffians. Evyn’s tongue is cut off and his father is killed. Here, Evyn chronicles his journey which culminates at the Battle of Hastings.
Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens.
A classic English novel about an orphan boy alone in London.