Books About the Middle Ages

Books can take kids on wonderful adventures and, for this list, we’ve selected 14 Medieval books that will catapult them back in time! Within these pages, there are brave heroes, mystical castles, ancient legends, and reverent nuns like the artist featured in a recent My Artist Box, Hildegard von Bingen. We hope these books become a thrilling gateway to the past for your young readers!

From Saint Hildegard's Kitchen: Foods of Health, Foods of Joy Jany Fournier-Rosset

With this book, you and your children can cook like Hildegard von Bingen! In the 12th century, Hildegard wrote about healing and nutrition. She believed that certain “foods of joy” could improve a person’s physical and emotional health. This cookbook includes Hildegard’s recipes as interpreted by a French chef. You’ll find recipes for breakfast dishes, pasta, fish, vegetables, and other foods. Use this book to get kids in the kitchen and connect with history!

A Saint a Day: A 365-Day Devotional Featuring Christian Saints Meredith Hinds

Use this book to teach children more about Catholic saints, including Hildegard von Bingen and others from the Middle Ages. One saint is featured each day for an entire year. Each day, kids can read a brief biography of the person along with a Bible verse and a one-sentence prayer. Families can use this book as a jumping-off point to learn about the people who interest them most.

Weird But True Know-It-All: Middle Ages Michael Burgan

In the latest “Weird But True” book from National Geographic Kids, children will learn about Medieval rulers, castles, battles, and more! Most of the information is presented as factoids so kids stay interested page after page. Each section is packed with visuals too—maps, paintings, photographs, and bright colors. Upper elementary kids will enjoy paging through this book on their own or you could read just a few facts on each page to keep the attention of younger kids.

Chanticleer and the Fox Geoffrey Chaucer

This Caldecott-Award-winning book presents a slightly updated retelling of the Nun’s Priest’s Tale from The Canterbury Tales, written between 1387 and 1400. In this story, kids meet a poor widow and her daughters living in the Middle Ages. They live on a farm with many animals and, one day, their rooster becomes alarmed. His worst fears come true when he spots a fox! Kids will enjoy the old-time feeling of this book and the simple moral of the story that’s revealed in the end. Read this one with elementary kids.

Crispin: The Cross of Lead Avi

This Newbery Medal book tells the story of a 13-year-old boy living in Medieval England. When he’s accused of a crime he didn’t commit, he leaves his town and his family. The only thing he takes with him is a lead cross from his mother. The book details Cripsin’s adventures in vivid detail. It’s a thrilling book that includes quite a bit of Medieval details, as well. Middle school and high school students will enjoy reading this one on their own.

Cathedral: The Story of Its Construction David Macaulay

This book follows the imaginary construction of The Cathedral of Chutreaux in 13th-century France. The story begins with the wood in the forest and ends with a final sheet of lead on the spire. It’s an 86-year process that the author describes in detail and depicts through beautiful pen-and-ink drawings and diagrams. The text is quite dense in this book, so we recommend reading it alongside kids ages 10-15.

Marguerite Makes a Book Bruce Robertson

Head to the 1400s and meet a young girl and her father in Paris, France. The father creates illuminated manuscripts for royalty, but his latest assignment is running late. Watch as the young girl gathers all of the materials she needs and puts the finishing touches on the manuscript. The historical details in this book are spot-on. A few of the illustrations are also a nod to the traditional illuminated manuscripts. Because the book is text-heavy, it’s a good choice for reading alongside your early elementary kids or encourage upper elementary children to read it on their own.

DK Eyewitness Books: Medieval Life Andrew Langley

This book is full of photographs and facts that will provide a broad overview of the Middle Ages. First, kids will learn about the feudal system and how it was employed in Europe. Then, they’ll page through to sections that describe the furniture, clothes, artifacts, tools, and food of this time period. Each section breaks up the information into snippets, so it’s engaging for kids. Middle schoolers can read through this book on their own, stopping at the pages that pique their interest. Younger children will enjoy looking at the pictures and reading through the book with an adult.

Women and Girls in the Middle Ages Kay Eastwood

What was life like for women who lived in the Middle Ages? Find out in this book! With 14 sections, readers will see how all types of ladies, from royal women to peasant girls, lived. Marriage, housekeeping, education, and beauty topics are all discussed. There are also quite a few illustrations in this book, keeping the overall feel light and fun. Read this one with elementary kids.

Adam of the Road Elizabeth Janet Gray

This book follows 11-year-old Adam through 13th-century England. His father is a minstrel, but Adam prefers to spend his time on big adventures. One day, Adam is separated from his father and watches as his dog is stolen. He’ll go on the biggest adventure of his life as he searches for both his dog and his father. Through his journey, Adam learns valuable lessons about loyalty, perseverance, and the power of music. This is a great read-aloud book for upper elementary children and middle schoolers.

Illuminated Manuscripts Coloring Book Marty Noble

Kids can take an artful approach to 30 illuminated pages in this coloring book! There are a variety of scenes to color: saints, mythical animals, horses, knights, and battles. If you’d like a lasting piece of art, simply copy these pages onto the paper of your choice. These designs would look beautiful with colored pencils, thin markers, or watercolor paint.

Manners and Customs in the Middle Ages Marsha Groves

With this book, you can take a peek inside the daily life of knights, peasants, nuns, and other people in the Middle Ages. This book covers many interesting traditions, rituals, superstitions, and beliefs from the time period.  Kids will get questions to many thought-provoking questions like “Why did nuns eat in silence?” and “How did peasants celebrate Christmas?” It’s a fun introduction to some of the topics of daily life in the Middle Ages. Read it with elementary kids.

When on Earth? History as You’ve Never Seen It Before! DK

This visually engaging book will take children from ancient times to the 21st century in 160 pages. It’s an atlas, but it’s so much more. There are text boxes, photographs, illustrations, and a wealth of facts about each time period. The Medieval section includes information about Vikings, castles, the Crusades, inventions, and more. Each page is a treat for kids who love history! Kids 8+ will want to page through this one and pull it off the shelf again and again.

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