History and social studies are so important! I wanted to make sure my kids could learn to love both subjects. We do this by joyfully exploring amazing books and documentaries!

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History and Evolution

Absolutely Everything! A History of Earth, Dinosaurs, Rulers, Robots, and Other Things Too Numerous to Mention.   I read this to my kids when they were 6 and 7, though I think it’s geared for middle schoolers.  We’ll definitely be revisiting it.  It’s easy to read out loud, with an engaging, informal voice that I enjoyed, and there are tons of pictures.  Of course, there’s quite a bit that’s left out, but it provides an excellent overview of world history. I loved that there were specific sections on Asia and Africa, which are often neglected in western society.  We used each chapter as a spine for a unit study, and just supplemented heavily with books from the library and lots of documentaries.

Honest History is an amazing magazine! It’s engaging for kids, filled with tons of information, and is super well-made. Use code GYPSYGAMESCHOOLER to get 10% off!

Sapiens: my husband listened to the audiobook and couldn’t stop raving about it. When I saw that at least the first part came out in graphic novel form, I jumped on it. You may have seen me mention elsewhere that my kids love comic books and graphic novels, so even though I can’t understand them, I try to pick them up when I can. This book is thicker than my kids are comfortable consuming on their own, but they’ve explored it with their dad. Lots of color and relatable explanations. If you’re looking for a book on human evolution I can’t recommend this one enough!

Castle: we were given both Castle and City by a friend, and they’re a really nice exploration of a medieval castle and Roman cities, respectively. Lots of line drawings (no color) and good explanations, but not thick enough to turn my kids off them. They’re perfect additions to unit studies.

Social Studies Books

These next books are NOT history books, but modern social studies. We use a lot of documentaries and books about individual cultures and countries to study other cultures, but these two are good additions about more than one culture.

A Kid’s Guide to Native American History is included in this section on social studies, rather than with the other history books, because indigenous cultures are still alive today. Despite presenting the topic as history, though, this book is recommended on the American Indians in Children’s Literature website, so my kids and I still use it. I just make sure to emphasize that indigenous people are still alive today. Anyway, I love how it doesn’t just lump all the natives together, but rather has specific information about specific nations. The crafts and activities suggested are not religious, and again, it’s recommended by natives.

Children Just Like Me features kids from each of 28 different countries, from all over the world – Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas (both North and South). For the first several years of my kids’ lives, we lived in a monoculture. Everyone was very white, with very little diversity. I wanted my kids to know that people came in all sorts of different colors, dressed in a variety of ways, ate different things, etc. This book is an excellent part of the many ways we worked to experience more diversity. It has many pictures of many different kids and their families, dressed in their normal everyday clothes, as well as special clothes for specific events. Writing is in short blurbs that keep my kids’ attention. There are more books in the series, too.