Sunday, January 30, 2011

Horrible Histories

I've already mentioned the Horrible Science books by Nick Arnold. So hold onto your hats for the Horrible Histories series created by Terry Deary.

It's "History with the nasty bits left in"! Or "Everything you NEVER wanted to know about history"!

These books are funny, attractive, high interest, and packed with information. They are hard for most kids (and adults) to resist.

It's fairly easy to track down this series in either your local bookstore, an online store (such as or Chapters), or  through Scholastic Canada. The books are likely most appropriate for kids 9 and up (or younger kids with strong stomachs and a high tolerance for gore).

If you can't stand reading them aloud to your kid, then you can also get them on action-packed audiobooks.

BBC (via CBBC) has created a fabulous new Horrible Histories television series. There is an older, animated series but this new "live action" series has won critical acclaim (via the BAFTAs) and is also highly amusing, in a horrible sort of way. These vignettes and music videos cover a lot of historical ground in ways, like the books, that could be considered rather unorthodox (but very kid-friendly).

Now broadcasting season two, there is a DVD set for season one but, unfortunately, it is only available through and in PAL format (so won't play on most North American DVD players). Fortunately,  you can keep yourselves highly entertained with history on youtube as there are several clips and songs from the series.

Here's a sample to get you started.