Jump to content


5th History book list

Recommended Posts

Is there anyone here who follows WTM closely (or fairly closely) and would be willing to share or (direct me toward) their history book list for 5th grade Ancients? Also what did you use as you spine, Usborne Internet-Linked Encyclopedia of World History, Kindersley's History of the World or SOTW1?

Or if not a whole list, were there any books not to be missed?



Link to comment
Share on other sites

I used Kingfisher Book of the Ancient World and (when needed) the Usborne book.


I have two kids, one in grammar stage and the other in logic stage. They were both in year 1 of the cycle this year. It is the second trip around for the elder boy.


I just followed the schedule from SOTW and matched up the chapters. Most of the time, I can use the Kingfisher BotAW for the 'listing of facts'. Only occasionally during the year, did I have to use Usborne, but I was glad to have it then.


I mostly used the Oxford "the World in Ancient Times' books for narration and outlining.


For reading...hmm.. I know we used Green's Egyptian Myths, The Golden Goblet, The Golden Book of The Odysses, Lion in the Gateway, Outcast, Eagle of the 9th... I am sure there were more but I can't remember.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For fifth grade, we began using Kingfisher, Usborne, and other compendiums like those for our "spines", to introduce topics. My son read SOTW on his own, for fun, and outlined a section of it each week (you can outline from any narrative that's non-fiction). If you only want one "spine", then I think Kingfisher contains more info than Usborne (unless newer versions of Usborne have changed). The last time I looked at DK, it was very cluttered with tons of small print and small pictures. I didn't like the layout. Perhaps that has changed....


Here is a link to the book list I used for fifth grade (this does not mean we read every single one of them):




We love books. It would be hard to pull out just xxxx number for the year. If you would like to know one or two good historical novels or great picture books for each civilization, then I guess I'd include:


To Ride the Gods’ Own Stallion, Diane Wilson - ancient Mesopotamia


Gilgamesh the King, The Revenge of Ishtar, The Last Quest of Gilgamesh, all by Ludmila Zeman, if you haven't read those already


The Golden Goblet, Eloise Jarvis McGraw - ancient Egypt


God's People: Stories from the Old Testament, Geraldine McCaughrean - Hebrew Civilization


The Mysterious Visitor: Stories of the Prophet Elijah, Nina Jaffe - Hebrew


Favorite Fairy Tales Told in India, Virginia Haviland

The Prince Who Gave up a Throne, Nancy Serage

Buddha, Demi


For China, and many of these other countries, I own some compendiums of folklore by Geraldine MacCaughrean. There are various books in the series, including The Crystal Pool, The Silver Treasure, The Golden Horde, etc. You can use descriptions of the stories at the end to determine whether they are definitely Middle Ages or Early Modern, but most of them in all the books can be traced back to ancient times, so you really get a lot of use out of them for that time period. My son read those stories each week that were related to the culture we were studying.




Regarding Megalithic Europe, if you want to cover that, you might read:


Ice Mummy, Dubowski

The Mystery of Stonehenge, Harriette Abels

Skara Brae: The Story of a Prehistoric Village, Olivier Dunrea


Regarding Aegean Civilizations, perhaps:


Crete: Land of Mystery, Leonard Cottrell

In Search of Ancient Crete, Piero Ventura, et al

The Ancient World: The Phoenicians, Pamela Odijk

The Phoenicians (Calliope)


For Ancient Africa, I'd turn back to the compendiums of folktales.....


For Middle and New Kingdom Egypt, something related to Tut, perhaps....


For early Greece, some good compendium of mythology, such as D'Aulaire's or Bullfinch's, etc.....


Famous Scientists of the Ancient World, Margaret J. Anderson - covers not just Greeks, but some scientists from other cultures as well....


Various Persian cultures:


Perhaps The Arabian Nights, Illus. Jr. Library and/or Arabian Nights CD, Jim Weiss


We also love Shadow Spinner, by Susan Fletcher. Our library has a wonderful version of this book on tape. The narrator is female, but I can't find anything telling me her name, sorry.... The record just says Recorded Books, Prince Frederick, Maryland, 1999....


Ancient Americas:


The Legend of Lord Eight Deer: An Epic of Ancient Mexico, Pohl

Prehistoric North America: The People, Robert Pickering

The Mound Builders, William E. Scheele

Talking Bones, William O. Steele

Cities in the Sand, Scott Warren




The Librarian who Measured the Earth, Kathryn Lasky

Archimedes Takes a Bath, Lexau

Archimedes and the Door of Science, Jeanne Bendick

Galen and the Gateway to Medicine, Bendick (all simpler, but good if you haven't read them before; can easily be read by the child alone)


DK Legend of a Warrior King: Alexander the Great


The Trojan War, Olivia Coolidge (Fabulous! Love it!)


Black Ships Before Troy, Rosemary Sutcliff (great illustrations)


Some beautifully illustrated version of Aesop's Fables....


More China:


Confucius: The Golden Rule, Russell Freedman




Perhaps Augustus Caesar's World, Genevieve Foster

The Eagle of the Ninth, Rosemary Sutcliff (A must! Fabulous!)

The Ides of April, Mary Ray

The Silver Branch, Rosemary Sutcliff (next wonderful book in the series....)

Lives of Famous Romans, Olivia Coolidge


Some non-fiction:


Rome in cross-section, Biesty

The Roman Fort, Connolly

The Cavalryman, Connolly

The Legionary, Connolly

The Parthenon, Chrisp

The Traveler’s Guide to Ancient Rome, Malam

The Colosseum, Chrisp

Eyewitness Ancient Rome

Usborne Roman World

Science in Ancient Rome, Jacqueline L. Harris

A Roman Fort, Fiona Macdonald

Macaulay's City


Celtic Europe:


The Celts, Hazel Martell

Beowulf, Rebsamen (or this can be left to the beginning of the Middle Ages....)

BBC Factfinder: The Anglo-Saxons

Myths and Civilization of the Celts, Hazel Mary Martell

The Other World: Myths of the Celts, Margaret Hodges

Ancient Celts - Calliope

The Mouth of the Night, Iris Macfarlane


Jewish Nation/Beginnings of Christianity:


The Bronze Bow, Elizabeth George Spear (great book!)

Eyewitness Bible Lands (can also be used earlier)


More Africa:


A Glorious Past: Ancient Egypt, Ethiopia and Nubia, Ernestine Jenkins


More Americas:


The Enchanted Caribou, Elizabeth Cleaver

Building an Igloo, Ulli Steltzer

The Dancing Fox: Arctic Folktales, John Bierhorst

Pyramid of the Sun, Pyramid of the Moon, Leonard Fisher

City of the Gods:Mexico's Ancient City of Teotihuacan, Caroline Arnold

The Story of Comock the Eskimo, Robert Flaherty (this occurred late in history, but demonstrates the primitive way in which the Inuit lived from first inhabitation of the far North)

Land of the Five Suns (Aztecs), Kay McManus

Clamshell Boy: A Makah Legend, Terri Cohlene

Inuit, Bryan and Cherry Alexander

The Makah, Jeanne O. Eder




This Place is Lonely, Vicki Cobb (she has out a bunch of great books if you can find them....)

Easter Island, Caroline Arnold

Hawaiian Myths of Earth, Sea and Sky, Vivian L. Thompson




The Japanese, Clare Doran


Decline of Roman Empire:


Pompeii, Connolly

Masada, Waldman (there's a children's version of this that is great, too: The Story of Masada, Yadin)

Usborne Roman Soldier’s Handbook (or can be used earlier, too)

read excerpts from Plutarch's "Lives" - any good translation will do....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you Regena and Red Squirrel. Exactly what I am looking for. Now to go investigate. . .

Red Squirrel, we will be in exactly the same boat next year with one in fifth and one in first. I would like to try to use SOTW 1 with both. So that worked well for you?

Edited by claire+3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you Regena and Red Squirrel. Exactly what I am looking for. Now to go investigate. . .

Red Squirrel, we will be in exactly the same boat next year with one in fifth and one in first. I would like to try to use SOTW 1 with both. So that worked well for you?


Well, I didn't really use SOTW for my 5th grader this year. He already did SOTW through once. But, my boys like to be doing the same thing, so I used the chronology in SOTW as my guide for my elder boy.


For example, this week the chapter in SOTW for my younger was chapter 30, "Aryans of India". With my younger son, I read him the chapter, had him do a narration and did mapwork, colouring page, fiction book, etc, etc. I didn't do an activity this week but I often do.


For my older boy he read in The Kingfisher Book of The Ancient World pages 56-57, titled Aryan India: Tribal Times. From that two page spread he made a list of 6 facts. Then, on day 2, I had him read pp 179-189 in the book The Human Odyssesy titled "The Birth of Hinduism" and do a narration of the myth at the end of the chapter. On day 3 I had him go back to that same chapter in Human Odyssey and do a one point outline from the subchapter about the caste system. I also had him draw a diagram of the caste system with definitions.


So, I am not really using SOTW with my elder son. SWB says that esp SOTW 1 and 2 are not good for outlining due to their narrative nature. When I do activities both boys join in. They both enjoy that very much.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you Red Squirrel for walking me through what you do. That is very helpful. I was having a very hard time visualizing just how this would work out. I think using SOTW 1 as a guide would be ideal.

Did either of you order any of the Jackdaw portfolios?

Are these worth the money?


Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a couple that I got to try years ago when my older son was little. I SO do not think they are worth the money. We have found that many of the pictures in them are very blurry and all we had were in black and white. We have found the exact same pictures and in better, clearer detail (also often in color) in the library books we read. We have also found the exact same information in the books we've read.


The only good thing about these is that they come with a booklet of questions for discussion purposes. But you can do that on your own - you really don't need these!


Also, I do a search during the summer of area museums (both art and history) to find out what sorts of upcoming exhibits they have scheduled for the next year. Any that tie into what we're studying go on my list of activities for the year. It's always better to see the artifacts in person than just in pictures....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No, I never considered buying Jackdaws. They are just too expensive, for me, for a supplemental item. My local public library has the Oxford "history of the Ancient world' series and it has a book of primary sources. I just used that every few weeks.


This year, year 1 of the cycle, primary sources were not that plentiful and short. Often, I didn't see a huge benefit in narrating. It was stuff like the remnants of a school boy's letter home or a shopping list. I would just use it as supplemental reading.


I hope in year two primary sources become more conducive to middle years history.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...