History is one of those subjects which can be engaging and exciting or it can be extremely dry. Boys will fall in love with history if we teach it to them in the right way. Rather than forcing them to learn a bunch of names and dates, we should tell them the compelling stories of the people who made history.
Reading biographies is a great way to teach history to our kids. If you’ve struggled to teach history to your son or to make the subject come alive, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Choose books with plenty of action
- Teach your son about people who were larger than life
- Boys appreciate humor
- Choose authors who enjoy taking their readers on an adventure
I found some great biographies boys love from Candlewick Press!
I received these books for free and I was compensated for my time but I promise that I’m sharing my honest opinion with you.
Biographies for Younger Boys (ages 5 – 9 years)
Rescue and Jessica is based on the true story of a woman who was injured during the Boston Marathon bombing. This book parallels the journey of a girl who becomes an amputee to a dog who becomes a rescue animal. The authors of this book, Jessica Kensky, and her husband Patrick Downes, were both injured in the bombing. They do a great job of capturing the uncertainty of the unknown facing a new and difficult situation.
Young boys will love visually stimulating images which capture their attention.
Hello, I’m Johnny Cash is an excellent book which details the life of Johnny Cash, from his growing up in poverty during the Great Depression to his rise to stardom in the music world. The book also talks about Johnny’s service in the military and his faith in God.
I love the illustrations in this book. Beautiful!
Biographies for Middle Grade Boys (ages 8 – 12 years)
The What’s So Special About series by Michael Rosen is perfect for upper elementary and middle school-aged boys. Rosen does a great job of capturing the interesting moments of the lives of Charles Dickens and William Shakespeare. He’s also funny! These books will keep your sons in stitches!
The illustrations by Sarah Naylor are hilarious. There’s nothing better than having cartoons every few pages to entice your sons to keep reading!
Biographies for Older Boys (ages 10 years and up)
Siege: How General Washington Kicked the British Out of Boston and Launched a Revolution is written entirely in verse. This book goes into detail about how George Washington was able to defeat the British by laying siege to Boston.
Roxanne Orgill takes a no holds barred approach when it comes to describing the conditions. Check out the way she talks about smallpox in the picture below.
Voices from the Second World War: Stories of War as Told to Children of Today is a beautiful book. It is filled with stories from pilots, evacuees, resistance fighters, navy sailors, survivors of the Holocaust, prisoner’s of war, and survivors of the Hiroshima bombing. If you have a son who’s interested in learning more about World War II, this one is a must-read book!
This book is full of stunning photographs of men and women who participated in the Second World War in various ways.
The first-hand stories told by actual survivors are a fascinating way for our boys to learn about this difficult time in history.
More Suggestions for Helping History Come Alive
Reading real books is an excellent way to help our kids enjoy learning about history. But when we pair great books with some hands-on activities, field trips, and other projects, we help that history to really come alive. Here are some suggestions I’ve learned for how to make that happen in your home:
- 5 Sneaky Ways to Teach History
- Teach Your Boys How to Enjoy Studying History
- 13 Benefits of Unit Studies and How to Make Your Own
If you’re interested in purchasing books from Candlewick Press, use the discount code CANDLEWICK to receive 25% off!!!