Historical Novels for Children: World History Before Columbus

These novels are set during the time period that spans ancient history through the discovery of the New World by Europeans in the fifteenth century.

These novels are set during the time period that spans ancient history through the discovery of the New World by Europeans in the fifteenth century.

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Jason and Medea

Author: Cargill, Linda

Subjects: History; Adventure; Classical Mythology

Age: 14, 15, 16, 17, 18

Grade: 9, 10, 11, 12

ISBN: 9780880925488

Order code: 5485

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 5485S

Jason and Medea Cover

"With both a strong hero and heroine, boys and girls alike can enjoy this classic tale of love and loyalty, danger and adventure, respect, magic and bravery." – Children’s Literature

Victorious in the battle of his life but set up by the king to be slaughtered with his Argonauts rather than be rewarded as promised, Jason is brave enough to attempt to steal the Golden Fleece against all odds. His people desperately need its favor and wondrous bounty. But without Medea’s help, Jason has no mere mortal's hope of getting the Fleece and bringing it home.

Medea will have to betray her family and her people to save the golden giant among men whom she has come to love. Together they will face the wrath of her father and his army and take on the gods. But to what personal end?

This Medea is unlike the Medea who most of us have come to know—the dark murderess of Euripides of Classical Greece (500-400 B.C.), when the religion of the Sky God Zeus had taken over. This book is set in Mycenean Greece (about 1250 B.C.), a time when God was a She. Medea follows her goddess Hecate. This is not the typical male interpretation of history or myth. Based on the Argonautica (or The Voyage of the Argo) of Apollonius of Rhodes, Cargill’s Medea isn’t just a witch; rather, she is a human being who loves and hurts. For her love, she has betrayed her family, has set out for an uncertain future in an unknown land, and must somehow reconcile her love of a man with her love of her homeland. From Medea’s point of view, readers see the world of ancient Greece and experience her anguish, motivations, and aspirations. She is believable, as are the novel’s other characters.

Jason and Medea showcases Linda Cargill’s love of the classics and literature and her ability to fine-tune an action-packed, spirited page-turner. Her lyrical language comes from her trained ear from reading the ancients. Her storytelling craft has been honed in more than twenty young adult horror and suspense novels. She lives in Tucson, Arizona.

"With both a strong hero and heroine, boys and girls alike can enjoy this classic tale of love and loyalty, danger and adventure, respect, magic and bravery." – Children’s Literature

Victorious in the battle of his life but set up by the king to be slaughtered with his Argonauts rather than be rewarded as promised, Jason is brave enough to attempt to steal the Golden Fleece against all odds. His people desperately need its favor and wondrous bounty. But without Medea’s help, Jason has no mere mortal's hope of getting the Fleece and bringing it home.

Medea will have to betray her family and her people to save the golden giant among men whom she has come to love. Together they will face the wrath of her father and his army and take on the gods. But to what personal end?

This Medea is unlike the Medea who most of us have come to know—the dark murderess of Euripides of Classical Greece (500-400 B.C.), when the religion of the Sky God Zeus had taken over. This book is set in Mycenean Greece (about 1250 B.C.), a time when God was a She. Medea follows her goddess Hecate. This is not the typical male interpretation of history or myth. Based on the Argonautica (or The Voyage of the Argo) of Apollonius of Rhodes, Cargill’s Medea isn’t just a witch; rather, she is a human being who loves and hurts. For her love, she has betrayed her family, has set out for an uncertain future in an unknown land, and must somehow reconcile her love of a man with her love of her homeland. From Medea’s point of view, readers see the world of ancient Greece and experience her anguish, motivations, and aspirations. She is believable, as are the novel’s other characters.

Jason and Medea showcases Linda Cargill’s love of the classics and literature and her ability to fine-tune an action-packed, spirited page-turner. Her lyrical language comes from her trained ear from reading the ancients. Her storytelling craft has been honed in more than twenty young adult horror and suspense novels. She lives in Tucson, Arizona.

Jason and Medea Cover

The Secret of Delphi

Author: Sodaro, Craig

Subjects: Ancient Greece; Theater; Greek Mythology

Age: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13

Grade: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

ISBN: 978-0-89824-322-2

Order code: 3222

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

The Secret of Delphi Cover

A deftly crafted and solidly entertaining novel...an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to both school and community library historical fiction collections. – Children's Bookwatch

In 468 B.C.E. in Athens, the young Sophocles entered the theater competition at the City Dionysia against the established favorite, Aeschylus. Victory in this competition was so important that even 2,500 years later we know who won and who lost. The competition was intense, and the stakes were high. The author weaves an exciting narrative about a conspiracy to ensure Aeschylus’s victory by sabotaging the productions of Sophocles and the other contestant. The kidnapping of the lead actor of Sophocles’s company inspires his two young daughters to defy the normal conventions that circumscribed the behavior of girls and to take a leading part in attempting to save their father and to restore fair play to the competition.

A deftly crafted and solidly entertaining novel...an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to both school and community library historical fiction collections. – Children's Bookwatch

In 468 B.C.E. in Athens, the young Sophocles entered the theater competition at the City Dionysia against the established favorite, Aeschylus. Victory in this competition was so important that even 2,500 years later we know who won and who lost. The competition was intense, and the stakes were high. The author weaves an exciting narrative about a conspiracy to ensure Aeschylus’s victory by sabotaging the productions of Sophocles and the other contestant. The kidnapping of the lead actor of Sophocles’s company inspires his two young daughters to defy the normal conventions that circumscribed the behavior of girls and to take a leading part in attempting to save their father and to restore fair play to the competition.

The Secret of Delphi Cover

The Secret of Delphi sample pages:

Taking Control

Author: Love, Ann

Subjects: Leadership; Historical Adventure; Ancient Greece; Alexander the Great

Age: 9, 10, 11, 12

Grade: 4, 5, 6, 7

Pages: 137

ISBN: 978-0-89824-998-9

Order code: 9989

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 9989S

Taking Control Cover

Julian is on a class trip to a museum when he meets Mr. Callisthenes, a strange figure who offers to take Julian to the past to teach him about Alexander the Great, a legendary hero who is nothing more than a name to most modern children. Julian, bored with history as dusty artifacts locked in display cases, agrees, and so begins a series of adventures during which Julian travels back in time to find himself present for each of the significant events in Alexander's life—not just as a witness but as an active participant.

On his first trip, Julian witnesses the now-famous scene of young Alexander gentling the great horse Bucephalus. During his next trip, Julian is present as Alexander's father, King Philip, is assassinated, and Alexander becomes ruler. Later Julian goes with Alexander to Troy to honor Achilles and make his claim as Achilles’s successor. Julian is at the Battle of Issus when Alexander defeats Darius, King of the Persians, and begins to subdue the Persian Empire. He watches the taking of Tyre and the slaughter of the townspeople. He sees Alexander going to consult the Oracle of Ammon in Siwa, and he and his sister Melanie are in attendance when Darius is killed, when Alexander decides to return to Macedonia, and finally when the great leader dies. Each visit to the ancient world provides Julian with a more complete understanding of the brilliant, ambitious, complex man who was Alexander the Great.

Julian is on a class trip to a museum when he meets Mr. Callisthenes, a strange figure who offers to take Julian to the past to teach him about Alexander the Great, a legendary hero who is nothing more than a name to most modern children. Julian, bored with history as dusty artifacts locked in display cases, agrees, and so begins a series of adventures during which Julian travels back in time to find himself present for each of the significant events in Alexander's life—not just as a witness but as an active participant.

On his first trip, Julian witnesses the now-famous scene of young Alexander gentling the great horse Bucephalus. During his next trip, Julian is present as Alexander's father, King Philip, is assassinated, and Alexander becomes ruler. Later Julian goes with Alexander to Troy to honor Achilles and make his claim as Achilles’s successor. Julian is at the Battle of Issus when Alexander defeats Darius, King of the Persians, and begins to subdue the Persian Empire. He watches the taking of Tyre and the slaughter of the townspeople. He sees Alexander going to consult the Oracle of Ammon in Siwa, and he and his sister Melanie are in attendance when Darius is killed, when Alexander decides to return to Macedonia, and finally when the great leader dies. Each visit to the ancient world provides Julian with a more complete understanding of the brilliant, ambitious, complex man who was Alexander the Great.

Taking Control Cover

Taking Control Sample Pages:

Tinyacha's Quest

Author: Jones, Thomas O.

Subjects: Folklore; Native Americans

Age: 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

Grade: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

ISBN: 978-0-88092-775-8

Order code: 7758

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Tinyacha's Quest Cover

This is a retelling of ancient American folklore of the native Wallas people, long before the Spanish came to Peru. The Wallas inhabited western Peru centuries before the Inca culture rose to preeminence.

A fantastic adventure, this is the tale of Tinyacha, a drummer boy in his early teens. It is set at the time of the festival honoring Wallala, the chief god. Tinyacha has his eye on Chinita, who has been chosen queen of the spring festival. In the course of the ceremony, Chinita disappears, and this sets Tinyacha on a quest where few of his people have ever gone—into the high Andes. Tinyacha must outwit the cunning, fierce She-bear and her spoiled son to save his life and that of Chinita. A condor, frogs, and a hummingbird are all caught up in the tense drama before he wins his sweetheart.

The story is based on the author's scholarship, but the tale is told in an engaging way to delight young readers.

Award-winning author Thomas O. Jones is also the author of Lord of the Geats, a vivid retelling of the ancient Anglo-Saxon poem Beowolf, published by Royal Fireworks Press.

This is a retelling of ancient American folklore of the native Wallas people, long before the Spanish came to Peru. The Wallas inhabited western Peru centuries before the Inca culture rose to preeminence.

A fantastic adventure, this is the tale of Tinyacha, a drummer boy in his early teens. It is set at the time of the festival honoring Wallala, the chief god. Tinyacha has his eye on Chinita, who has been chosen queen of the spring festival. In the course of the ceremony, Chinita disappears, and this sets Tinyacha on a quest where few of his people have ever gone—into the high Andes. Tinyacha must outwit the cunning, fierce She-bear and her spoiled son to save his life and that of Chinita. A condor, frogs, and a hummingbird are all caught up in the tense drama before he wins his sweetheart.

The story is based on the author's scholarship, but the tale is told in an engaging way to delight young readers.

Award-winning author Thomas O. Jones is also the author of Lord of the Geats, a vivid retelling of the ancient Anglo-Saxon poem Beowolf, published by Royal Fireworks Press.

Tinyacha's Quest Cover

The Flight of the Cliff Bird

Author: Wyatt, Leslie J.

Subjects: Historical Adventure; Girl Hero; Native Americans; Pueblos

Age: 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18

Grade: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

ISBN: 978-0-89824-493-9

Order code: 4939

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 4939S

The Flight of the Cliff Bird Cover

Cliff Bird's father left their Puebloan village under the cap rock of the canyon on a trading journey six harvests ago, and Cliff Bird has been waiting for his return ever since. During that time, her mother has died, and the girl, now barely thirteen summers old, is left in the care of relatives who see her more as a burden than anything else. But Cliff Bird has gifts to offer: she's skilled at pottery and basket weaving, and she can run like the wind. And someday her father will return to make her life complete. Someday, too, she will perform a great good deed that will earn her the love and respect of her people.

But her people have bigger concerns: they are struggling. A lack of rain haunts the mesa, and the crops are parched beneath the high desert sky. Strangers have been seen lurking nearby, and fears of raiders attacking the village have grown. Perhaps it's time to abandon the cliff dwellings and travel south to a place that is more sustainable. Cliff Bird can't imagine leaving her home on the mesa. And what happens if her father returns to find an empty village? How will she ever reunite with him? She can't possibly go, even if the rest of her people do.

As if these concerns aren't enough to weigh upon a girl so young, there is also the daily battle that Cliff Bird must fight against her cousin. Why does Summer Sky hate her so? At every opportunity, the girls clash, saying hurtful things to each other, performing hurtful acts, widening the chasm between them. However, this story is told in a double narrative, and we hear Summer Sky echo Cliff Bird's frustration and bewilderment and disappointment at the ongoing rift that refuses to mend, no matter the girls' efforts. This view of the conflict from both sides offers a revealing look at how easy it can be to hurt others, even unintentionally, fueling in us as readers an overwhelming desire to practice empathy and compassion, to consider perspectives outside of our own as we go about our daily lives. Both Cliff Bird and Summer Sky learn valuable lessons about themselves and each other by the end of the novel.

The Flight of the Cliff Bird is a captivatingly beautiful story of love and loss, of effort and struggle and redemption, shimmering against the warm sandstone of the cliff dwellings—"halfway between earth and sky"—of the Long-Ago People.

Leslie J. Wyatt was born in Utah, grew up in Montana, and lived with her husband for many years in Missouri. They now reside in Redding, California, back among the mountains that Leslie enjoys exploring on horseback. After twenty-four years of homeschooling their six children, she went on to pursue a degree in graphic arts.

Wyatt says about writing The Flight of the Cliff Bird: “Ever since I gazed across the canyon to the ancient homes nestled beneath the cap rock, the cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde, Colorado, have captured my heart and my imagination. As a child, I wanted to live there under the wide sky, to sit for long hours with my back against the warmth of the sandstone, to be one small being in the greatness of the canyon. Writing Cliff Bird’s story was an unfolding of that dream.”

And about the people: “The Hisatsinom—The Long-Ago People—never returned to farm the high green mesa where the sky was wide and blue or to live in their well-crafted dwellings under the canyon rims. Yet over the centuries, and still to this day, their descendants come back to Mesa Verde to visit the sacred sites and to pay homage to those who came before, for in this place their roots run deep.”

Wyatt is also the author of River Rats, set in 1940s rural Missouri, also published by Royal Fireworks Press.

Cliff Bird's father left their Puebloan village under the cap rock of the canyon on a trading journey six harvests ago, and Cliff Bird has been waiting for his return ever since. During that time, her mother has died, and the girl, now barely thirteen summers old, is left in the care of relatives who see her more as a burden than anything else. But Cliff Bird has gifts to offer: she's skilled at pottery and basket weaving, and she can run like the wind. And someday her father will return to make her life complete. Someday, too, she will perform a great good deed that will earn her the love and respect of her people.

But her people have bigger concerns: they are struggling. A lack of rain haunts the mesa, and the crops are parched beneath the high desert sky. Strangers have been seen lurking nearby, and fears of raiders attacking the village have grown. Perhaps it's time to abandon the cliff dwellings and travel south to a place that is more sustainable. Cliff Bird can't imagine leaving her home on the mesa. And what happens if her father returns to find an empty village? How will she ever reunite with him? She can't possibly go, even if the rest of her people do.

As if these concerns aren't enough to weigh upon a girl so young, there is also the daily battle that Cliff Bird must fight against her cousin. Why does Summer Sky hate her so? At every opportunity, the girls clash, saying hurtful things to each other, performing hurtful acts, widening the chasm between them. However, this story is told in a double narrative, and we hear Summer Sky echo Cliff Bird's frustration and bewilderment and disappointment at the ongoing rift that refuses to mend, no matter the girls' efforts. This view of the conflict from both sides offers a revealing look at how easy it can be to hurt others, even unintentionally, fueling in us as readers an overwhelming desire to practice empathy and compassion, to consider perspectives outside of our own as we go about our daily lives. Both Cliff Bird and Summer Sky learn valuable lessons about themselves and each other by the end of the novel.

The Flight of the Cliff Bird is a captivatingly beautiful story of love and loss, of effort and struggle and redemption, shimmering against the warm sandstone of the cliff dwellings—"halfway between earth and sky"—of the Long-Ago People.

Leslie J. Wyatt was born in Utah, grew up in Montana, and lived with her husband for many years in Missouri. They now reside in Redding, California, back among the mountains that Leslie enjoys exploring on horseback. After twenty-four years of homeschooling their six children, she went on to pursue a degree in graphic arts.

Wyatt says about writing The Flight of the Cliff Bird: “Ever since I gazed across the canyon to the ancient homes nestled beneath the cap rock, the cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde, Colorado, have captured my heart and my imagination. As a child, I wanted to live there under the wide sky, to sit for long hours with my back against the warmth of the sandstone, to be one small being in the greatness of the canyon. Writing Cliff Bird’s story was an unfolding of that dream.” 

And about the people: “The Hisatsinom—The Long-Ago People—never returned to farm the high green mesa where the sky was wide and blue or to live in their well-crafted dwellings under the canyon rims. Yet over the centuries, and still to this day, their descendants come back to Mesa Verde to visit the sacred sites and to pay homage to those who came before, for in this place their roots run deep.”

Wyatt is also the author of River Rats, set in 1940s rural Missouri, also published by Royal Fireworks Press.

The Flight of the Cliff Bird Cover

Flight of the Cliff Bird Sample Pages:

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