My Favorite History Books for Boys

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I am homeschooling a major history buff, who devours books. He is my sensitive, war monger if that even makes sense. He does not want to read books about murder, killing or crime but he will speak endless about any war, or battle or ruler that he’s read about. These are my son’s favorite history books, I credit them with creating and nurturing his love of history. We have never used a history textbook, and I don’t want to either but as we get into the older grades, it becomes more difficult.
Funny and gross history books for boys

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Favorite History Books for Boys

We read A Child’s History of the World (Hillyer) in the 2nd grade because I liked the living book concept of teaching history. I didn’t want to use a textbook and this worked great for us. We read one chapter each day and he did an oral narration of what he heard. I miss those early elementary years. I loved how we did history so we continued onto the Story of the World series going from the middle ages on and now we’re back to the ancient time period. I always purchase the digital version of the activity guide so that I can print out the coloring pages in smaller sizes since we notebook with them. The first chapter book M1 read was the Magic Tree House series. Jack and Annie travel to different time period and get immersed into the time period, M2 is now listening to the audio books as well. Horrible Histories is a gruesome set of books that focus on the gross and bloody aspects of history. Did you know there’s also a tv series? Adventures of Tintin is a graphic novel that my son adores. Tintin travels to different countries solving mysteries, it was written in the ’60s so there are some remarks about race that are not agreeable. Adventures in Ancient China, Greece or Egypt (Bailey) is a great and humorous series of books where a group of siblings travel through time, I really wish there are more in the works. You Wouldn’t Want to be series ie. You Wouldn’t Want to be a Pyramid Builder: A Hazardous Job You’d Rather Not Have is another great find for boys who like the bloody, gruesome aspect of history and they’re really funny as well. Tell me what are your children’s favorite history books, we’re always looking for more. One of my son’s favorite book is Rifle’s for Watie about the Civil War. You can also read the other post in this series:    
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  1. I have a history buff here too! I will have to check these out. Thanks!

  2. Nice list. My bys love The You wouldn’t want to be series too.

    1. I know, they think they’re hilarious.

  3. we loved the Magic Tree house series as well… Thanks for sharing your post..

  4. We like Mary Pope Osbourne’s Tales from the Odyssey series (based on the original, but cleaned up for children ;). Definitely worth a look (and may be available as an audiobook from your library).

    1. Thanks Susan, that’s already on my reading list.

  5. What ages would you recommend for these books? I will be starting history with DS1 in the fall (1st grade but not yet 6) and was wondering if the Ancients ones would be appropriate for him? Thanks

    1. Do you mean the Story of the World Ancients? We started ancient history with my son in grade 2 (I took him out of PS in grade 1) and it was the perfect age for him. I’m going to start it with my second son in the 2nd grade as well. It depends on your son if you think he has the attention span and how sensitive he is to battles and fighting and such. I prefer to wait and start later.
      The Linda Bailey and You Wouldn’t want to… series are picture books, the Magic Tree House books are easy chapter books like grade 1/2 with the Horrible History books being more lengthy chapter books probably better for higher grades along with Rifles for Watie.

  6. I loved the way you described your son’s reading preferences/personality. That describes my 13 year old son to a tee. He’s always been that way. Thanks for the list.

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