As I begin to share book lists, I do need to make it clear that you should use your own discernment when it comes to books for your family. Every family’s tolerances and tastes differ, and mine are more laissez-faire than many. I buy no twaddle, and the books I get come recommended from good sources, but I don’t preread every one and I believe in broad reading.

However, I have this luxury because my boys are ravenous readers and not the most careful nor sensitive readers. If, down the line, I get a sensitive reader or one who doesn’t read as much, I would be more choosy.

So, always make decisions in light of your own reality and not based on an abstract ideal. My list in no way represents an abstract ideal, but I hope it’ll be a good starting point for building your own library (or for scouring your local library).

Ancient History Cycle free reading book list for the elementary years

A Book List for a Wide Reading in Ancient History

As the spine of our history reading, I use On the Shores of the Great Sea by M.B. Synge, supplemented by the audio versions of Story of the World (I try to have us listen to all four volumes once a year, often either during lunch or in the car).

The following books are simply the books that live on the bookshelf during our year of studying ancients. I don’t assign them. They don’t have to do any narrations or reports or projects on them. They just read them as the fancy takes them.

Reading what you choose when you choose leads to more interest and better retention, I believe, so I spread the feast and leave them be.

Straight History


I also collect all the Signature Books biographies I can find for $6 or less when I’m book-browsing.

Historical Fiction & Lit

Make This List Useful For You

This isn’t a “right way” book list. Use it as a springboard for your own book lists and for ideas, but always filter it through what works in your own house and with your own individual children. Just filling the bookshelf with good books works for my older two, and I don’t know if it will for the three younger.

But I do know that books children pick up voluntarily and read with interest will lead to better retention and, perhaps more importantly, the habit of reading to know. As homeschooled kids ourselves, both Matt and I agreed that what we remember most are the books we read on our own time that weren’t on the school checklist. So we have set out to make sure that can happen easily for our own children, too.

More book lists for elementary readers


  1. Super excited by this. We use story of the world for first cycle through history, which I love and am very satisfied with, but I was looking for some other things for our second time through. perfect timing.

  2. Thank you, Misty, for your list. We have many of these titles, but I hadn’t heard of a few of these, so I was able to put some that you’ve recommended on hold at our library.


  3. Hi Misty, I am coming up with a 6-7 year old girl, we did CC our first year. Would some of these serve as read alouds for early elementary do you think ?

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