Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Wacky, Wild History Resources - Some Geography, too!

Now this is what I'm talking about!  It's time to laugh, goof around, get silly and learn something in the process!  History with a sense of humor, kid-style.  Grownups will like these, too - how can you not like the way these resources teach?

NOTE: These are not organized by time period or historical subject - does that drive you crazy? Also, not all of these will jive with your personal philosophies, your beliefs, or your inclinations. They are listed purely for their educational and entertainment value, for you to peruse and decide what fits for you and your family.

Click on the books to learn more information (usually from Amazon).

horrible geography

by Anita Ganeri with titles like Odious Oceans, Wild Islands and desperate Deserts.  This title contains geography with the gritty bits left in.  Where in the world can you:  spot sand dunes that bury whole villages?  Discover some deadly desert wildlife?  Follow in the footsteps of daring desert explorers?

horrible histories

Horrible Histories collection.   History with twice the nasty bits left in ...in a horrible new edition.  "The Groovy Greeks" is full of fab facts about the hip 'n' happenin' Greeks.  In "Rotten Romans", readers follow life for folks in Roman times, from nasty Nero to brave Brit Boudicca.  Featuring curious quizzes, rotten recipes, gruesome games and terrible tests ...history has never been so horrible.  The Horrible Histories collection has many different titles such as The Awful Egyptians, Rotten Rulers, The Smashing Saxons and the Storming Normans to name a few.  Some are available as boxed sets and some are in audio format.

youwouldn't want

I love these!  We just finished reading You Wouldn't Want to Be a Mammoth Hunter: Dangerous Beasts You'd Rather Not Encounter. The illustrations are quirky and the captions silly. You'll learn a lot in each book! There are several titles about Viking explorers, Alexander the Great's armies, pyramid builders - wish I could get my hands on them all! Check your library for them.

explorers who got lost

by Diane Sansevere-Dreher.  Just the title alone makes me laugh, although for those who got lost it probably wasn't all that funny.  Fast-paced, exciting, full of facts and adventure, Explorers Who Got Lost provides detailed information on the most influential explorers of the fifteenth century.  The history, sociology and even the superstitions of the time along with dozens of drawings, maps, routes and diagrams of ships and navigational equipment are all included.  You'll discover the new world as these famous explorers discovered it.  You'll follow their routes, you'll experience their hardships.  You'll learn all about these amazing heroes whose discoveries altered the face of the globe and changed the course of human history.


by Gillian Clements is a fun, informative, and chronological guide to the history-of-world explorers that covers a wide range of figures:  the well-known and the all-but-forgotten, men and women, even a couple of Russian space dogs.  It begins with the ancient explorers such as Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar, treks on through to Magellan and Drake, continues with Lewis and Clark and John C. Frémont, and comes right up to the present-day with Ranulph Fiennes.  Each page puts an explorer in the context of his or her own time with details of other important contemporary events and figures, the new inventions which were the springboards for their adventures, and the areas of the world which were capturing people’s imaginations.  Gillian Clements explains the reasons behind exploration and how technology and exploration have gone hand-in-hand throughout history.  Combining entertaining fact and historical information with amusing, eye-catching illustrations, the book is a delight for readers of any age.  Gillian Clemets also has two other books titled The Picture History of Great Inventors and The Picture History of Great Buildings, in case this one whets your appetite!

newspaper history

Newspaper History series like the Stone Age Sentinel (where the headline reads, "Man Burns Finger in Fire!") or the Greek Gazette and others are good reads.  We have the Greek News and are enjoying it as part of a unit study on Ancient Greece.  In it there's an article titled, "Women Talk Back" which is an interview with two Greek women. It's humorous. There are also ads for clay potties for toddlers, lost and found announcements, articles on how to please the gods, etc.  We also read the Stone Age Sentinel and learned how to use every bit of the mammoth.

backyard history

by the Brown Paper School Series.  The Brown Paper School books are pure genius!!  Love them, love them, love them.  I must gradually collect all of them.  So far we've been able to find them at the library, but they are so good, they are worth having your own copies because you can turn to them often and as your kids get older.  Right now we are reading This Book's About Time by Marilyn Burns.  Since we were reviewing how to tell time for math, I picked this up to supplement the topic.  It's turned into an entire history lesson about time, clocks, time zones, natural rhythms in nature.......it's very interesting and is science, math and history all rolled up into one!  The link to the book about time is right here: Link  

us history american indian

More Brown Paper School.  This series is US history-focused.  Kids can learn about the civil war, the American revolution, American Indians, etc.

eyewitness to history

by John Carey.  Short first person accounts of over 400 events in history like the plague in Athens to Napoleon's battles to placing a man on the moon.  Looks like it can be a little graphic (which can be reframed as descriptive, right?), so probably not good bedtime reading.

cartoon history

part 1-3 by Larry Gonick.  Oh my gosh, this one is fun.  Here and there you'll find adult humor, but I just skip over those parts while reading.  Mr. Gonick has created several cartoon books on various subjects like physics, the United   States, the Modern World and yes, even SEX! That one's on the list for around 7-8th grade, when Max is ready for it.  Check it out before you pass judgement - it looks well done.  Here's the link to Mr. Gonick's Cartoon History of Sex because I'm betting you are curious:  Link  

harriet tubman nest

Nest Animated Hero classics DVDs and videos of important people in history are very well done.  Max has watched the biographies of Harriet Tubman, Thomas Edison, Louis Pasteur, and a few others.  He'll periodically watch them over and over and then talk about them.  Many of these videos have a strong Christian theme, some of them don't.  You can sometimes find them on eBay.

time traveler

by Judy Hindley.  Ms. Hindley has a few other historical titles as well.

geography for every kid

Easy activities that make learning geography fun.  Janice VanCleave is prolific and a whole lot of fun. She has quite a few books about science, physics, biology, chemistry, astronomy, etc.  A lot of her stuff is hands-on and active, so you aren't just reading.  You are doing!  And that's a great way to learn something new.  I've seen many of her books at the library, so they are easy to find.

kids learn america

This is a Kids Can Press publication, yet another terrific publisher!  You can find all of the materials that Kids Can Press offers at http://www.kidscanpress.com/US/Default.aspx.  On Amazon this particular book got dinged by the reviewers of the School Library Journal, but maybe those folks prefer more boring texts?  All the families who reviewed it offered much praise in contrast, so who to believe?  I'll go with the families who tried it out on kids and enjoyed it.

goodtimes travel agency

The Good Times Travel Agency series is another Kids Can Press product. Max ate up reading about the Binkerton kids and their time traveling adventure to Ancient Greece!  That particular book in the series is called Adventures in Ancient Greece by Linda Bailey.  Lots of humor mixed in with historically accurate people, places and events, not to mention some delightful sibling rivalry. There are many books in the series - thank goodness!


Calliope is a monthly world history magazine for ages 9-14. $33 per year, but it looks like it's worth it.

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