Summer Reading Program 2015

Theme: World Conquerors

I came in from chores last night to find a list of several historical kings, queens, emperors, tyrants and barbarians listed on the chalkboard.  It was titled: Who do you think was the best ruler?  Well, that resulted in a conversation of their inequalities and relative levels of influence.  I mean, some took over vast sections of the world, while others just held tiny countries.  One wasn’t a ruler at all!  But it got me thinking about our summer reading program, and World Conquerors sounds like a pretty fun theme, no?

Most of the books listed below are out of print, but readily available second-hand or through libraries.  Apparently, in years gone by, it was generally accepted that children were both intelligent and genuinely interested in history, and many a fine author wrote engaging tales specifically for this audience.  More modern books tend to be less appealing.

This list is primarily for elementary through middle school students, though older kids, and even adults, will enjoy the tales, too.  Books intended for an older audience are labeled with an A.  You know, for adult.

One last disclaimer: I haven’t read all of these books.  The children’s books should be inoffensive, but the adult books may contain inappropriate or graphic material.  And, of course, there are a lot more options out there; these are just the ones I think will be good, and I’m a pretty good Book Picker. 🙂  Don’t forget to check the offerings at your library!

These names were gathered from several internet lists based on square mileage of their conquered lands, skills as battlefield strategists, and influence over Western civilization. They are not in any particular order.

Alexander the Great (Macedonia; 356-323 BC)
Alexander the Great (Landmark)
A Fire from Heaven, The Persian Boy, and Funeral Games (Adult Historical Fiction)

Adolf Hitler (Germany; 1889-1945 AD)
The Rise and Fall of Adolf Hitler (Landmark)

Charlemagne (Franks; 742-814 AD)
Son of Charlemagne
A Charlemagne: from the Hammer to the Cross
A Charlemagne: The Legend and the Man

Tamerlane (Turkish; 1336-1405 AD)
A Tamerlane: Conqueror of the Earth (Lamb)

Attila (Huns; 406-453 AD)
The White Stag
A Throne Of The World
A The End of Empire: Attila the Hun and the Fall of Rome

Hannibal (Carthage; 247-183 BC)
Hannibal (Abbot)
A Hannibal: One Man Against Rome

Napoleon Bonaparte (France; 1769-1851 AD)
Napoleon and the Battle of Waterloo (Landmark)
A The Rise Of Napoleon Bonaparte and The Reign Of Napoleon Bonaparte

Cyrus the Great (Persia; 580-529 BC)
Cyrus the Great (Abbot)
A Cyrus the Great (Lamb)

Julius Caesar (Rome; 100-44 BC)
Julius Caesar (Landmark)
A Julius Caesar (Folger Shakespeare Library)

Genghis Khan (Mongolia; 1162-1227 AD)
Genghis Khan and the Mongol Horde (Landmark)

Caesar Augustus (Rome; 63 BC – 14 AD)
Augustus Caesar: Architect of Empire
Augustus Caesar’s World
A Augustus: The Life of Rome’s First Emperor

Hari Singh Nalwa (Sikh Empire; 1791-1837 AD)
Sikh Warrior: Hari Singh Nalwa

2 Comment

  1. Beckie R. says:

    I personally think that King Alfred the Great of England (Wessex, actually) should be on your list too, but I have a particular affinity for him. This looks really interesting and I think we’ll make our own summer reading program based on a theme!

    1. He was a very good king, but would you consider him a world conqueror? He was one of the rulers on the kids’ original list, by the way. 🙂

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