Social Sundays: Horrible (Hilarious) Histories

I love the stories from history (the background on Alexander Hamilton, the story of the man who used his hot air balloon to gather information on the Confederate army for the Union), but my students LOVE the ghoulish parts - the revolutions, the drama, and the backstabbing.  So, when students tell me that history is boring, I pull out one of my favorite history book series, The Horrible Histories , and challenge them to just read a chapter and then tell me it's boring.

History, to me, has always been about the people and the stories. I think, at my core, I'm almost more of a sociologist or anthropologist than an historian. As I look at past events and people, I'm curious about what shaped them.  So, it's not surprising that I'm a big fan of the hilarious Horrible Histories series. 

These books while often kind of gross (okay, really gross) engage the reader with all kinds of fun stories about different periods of history (I am a personal fan of the Villainous Victorians and the Measly Middle Ages).

What Students Love:

  • The books are laugh out loud funny.  
  • The stories are filled with all kinds of unusual facts that we don't "teach" in history.
  • The books are not boring (a.k.a. they are interesting)
  • The topics are wide and varied from British History to the Aztecs to the 20th Century
  • There are comics interspersed in the text to illustrate concepts. 
The Horrible Histories is one of my go-to-book series for students who really struggle to connect with history.  I almost always have books on loan to students, because they want to read them at home.  How often does that happen with other history books?  In addition to having most of the Horrible Histories in my library, I sometimes read aloud a section from a book or use the books as part of the curriculum.  I am hoping one day to get a class set so I can integrate the histories into our every day curriculum.  They are truly a rare find.


Social Sundays is a bi-weekly post sharing tips, ideas, resources, and products for teaching social studies.  If you have questions or think there is something I should share, you can leave me a message in the comments below or at the store in the question and answer section.  




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3 comments

  1. Thanks for linking up today. I haven't heard of this series. What ages is it geared to?
    ✿April✿
    Grade School Giggles

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  2. It's a FABULOUS series. You can use it with lots of ages - pretty much 3rd grade and up although the language is pretty sophisticated, but higher level readers will have no problem with it. I have had upper elementary, middle school and high school kids love it. And as an adult they are very entertaining!

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  3. I love stories like these that reveal what historical figures were really like. Thanks for linking up!

    The Literary Maven

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