Old folks at home
History Beneath Your Feet
Ancient Egypt by Jan Shuter and Ancient Greece by Peter Hicks in this series from Hodder Wayland (pound;6.99 each) are two fantastic books that focus on the archaeological aspect of history. They are some of the few books that explain to young children how historians find out about past civilisations and piece the puzzle together. Each double-page spread asks key questions and answers them with a variety of evidence, including the historian's work itself. Each book is interspersed with interesting facts, ideas for class projects to prove or replicate and a vast further information section, including timelines and glossaries. Key books for teachers of these two eras.
How Do We Know About...?
This series, which has recently added Florence Nightingale and the Battle of Hastings, both by Jane Shuter (Heinemann pound;8.99 each), is designed for younger or lower ability readers with simple text and layout. The subjects are concentrated on by Year 2: specifically, Florence Nightingale, and the Great Fire of London. At first glance, these look like story books merely filled with facts and dates but they also contain useful sections looking at artefacts and other evidence, encouraging key historical skills.
Each book provides a timeline, glossary and short biographies. Bright and enticing.
The Life and World of...
Florence Nightingale and Elizabeth I, both by Struan Reid and Anne Frank by Brian Williams (Heinemann pound;8.50 paperback, pound;10.99 cased) join profiles from the ancients including Montezuma, Boudicca and Tutankhamen to the 20th-century John Lennon. A great addition to period information books.
People in the Past...
This excellent and extensive series, which covers many key stage 2 topics, from children and homes to jobs and women, has added Victorian Homes and Victorian Children by Brenda Williams (Heinemann pound;7.50 paperback, pound;11.50 hardback each). All manner of sources on easily accessible double-page spreads illuminate the period. Memorable facts are emphasised in coloured boxes and there is a timeline as well as a glossary. Greatly recommended.
Life in Britain series
These are well presented books with a multitude of historical evidence to discuss and find out about. Britain in World War I by Peter Hepplewhite, in Roman Times and Victorian Times by Tim Locke and Anglo-Saxon and Viking Times by Fiona Macdonald (Franklin Watts pound;12.99) have titillating facts in coloured boxes on each glossy double-page spread. Timelines and glossaries are included, but where this series differs is with an extensive list of suggested places to visit and useful websites.
In this vast collection, William Shakespeare by Stewart Ross and Elvis Presley by Liz Gogerly (Hodder Wayland pound;11.99 hardback, pound;4.99 paperback each) are in the company of biographies of Mozart, Picasso, Mother Teresa, Neil Armstrong and Bill Gates. Each book fabulously records the lives of people who have influenced our times and does so through documented and visual evidence - a multitude of quotes is particularly enticing and revealing. The books are easy to follow and cover many eras, cultures and social backgrounds. A timeline and glossary accompany each title. There are many modern titles for those teaching the QCA topic that studies the way in which different people have changed our world.
Gods and Goddesses
Not just reference books about gods and goddesses, these books seek to tell us how the beliefs of the Egyptians, Greeks, Vikings and Romans affected their lives. Included are fact files about each deity, which are explained through archaeological remains and stories. An interesting and exciting way to find out about the influences on peoples' lives and the way in which they celebrated, worshipped, lived and died. Gods and Goddesses In the Daily Life of the Ancient Romans by Peter Hicks and In the Daily Life of the Vikings by Jen Green are very well presented and readable books (Hodder Wayland pound;11.99 hardback, pound;7.99 paperback each) .
Remembrance Day by Liz Gogerly joins this series for lower ability readers.
The books are clear and colourful with a glossary for the bold words throughout the text. (Hodder Wayland pound;9.99 hardback pound;4.99 paperback each).
Karen Keddie teaches at Deers Wood Primary School, Gloucestershire