My kids and I are slightly hooked on the Usborne Young Reading Series. They have so many great titles, written at just the right level for the kids (nothing too gruesome and frightening) and perfect for our current History phase we are going through.
One of our Favourites has to be The Story of London (Young Reading Series Three). We love learning about our city (we live on the outskirts of London and often travel into the city with the kids, so the kids call it their city).
The book starts with the Roman rule in 43AD. The kids and I loved the way it sets the scene………”At the head of the army, a war elephant stomped and snorted through the marshes, it’s curled tusks slicing the misty air. Behind, a golden eagle – the symbol of Rome – glinted in the sunlight.” My youngest says he can picture himself part of the Roman army marching to the river Tamesa and setting up their settlement Londinium.
Next the Saxons and the Vikings came and then the Middle Ages. We have been spending quite a bit of time on the Middle Ages and Tudor times recently so this particular section has been read and re-read multiple times.
The book mentions how King Henry wanted to show off his wealth and power so he converted existing buildings into new impressive palaces – one of the examples being Hampton Court which was seized from cardinal Wolsey. The kids love visiting Hampton Court Palace so the fact the book brought in one of their favourite palaces was so exciting for them (and of course it meant a few more vists to Hampton Court Palace was needed).
It talks about Guy Fawkes, the Great Plague and the Fire of London. All British historical events which we have talked about so the kids liked reading how they fitted into the sequence of events and contributed to London as we know it today.
In each stage of the City’s history the book mentions which famous structures were built which for kids who have been into London or are planning on going into London makes it more exciting.
My kids also loved the fact that book included the first underground trains in 1863 (We visited The London Transport Museum after we read the book for the first time).
Then the Victorian area and onto the World Wars and then Modern London.
We LOVE this book. It has been fascinating for us to read about how London developed over time and when lots of the famous landmarks were built. I love that it is written in language which makes the History accessible for my kids but at the same time is not too simplified.
My kids have loved reading about the City that they know but I also think this book would be great to read with children who are planning on coming to visit the City as it would give them context to a lot of the sights that they are about to see.
We highly recommend this book.