European History Books for Students

Learn about European history through these vivid European history books for students! Explore Europe with these books for kids.

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Austria

Who Was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart?

Learning about Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart might just change the way you look at music. You’ll learn more about his first composed piece and more in this “Who Was” book.

The Habsburgs: The History of a Dynasty by Benjamin Curtis 

Unique to history in European history, The Habsburgs were a ruling dynasty in Europe that stretched across many countries. 

Denmark

I Am David by Anne Holm

12-year-old David has spent the majority of his life in a concentration camp and knows nothing of the outside world. When given the chance to escape, he seizes it – on a mysterious mission to Denmark. He has only a compass, a map he can barely read, and the distant memories of a friend to guide him on his journey. I Am David is poignant, memorable, thought-provoking, and the best children’s novel I have ever read. Grab the book guide here.

Darkness over Denmark by Ellen Levine

The Danish Resistance during WWII saved the majority of its Jewish population. With courage, resistance, and teamwork, Denmark’s role during the Holocaust played a pivotal role in history that more students should know about.

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

Number the Stars was one of the first books about the Holocaust I remember reading. Instead of focusing on the horrors of the war, we learn about prejudice, racism, courage, and resilience from the point of view of Annemarie and her Jewish friend Ellen. This Newbery award-winning classic is highly recommended for all students. Grab the book guide here.

England

England book list is coming soon.

France

Who Was? Series

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

This vivid Caldecott award winner mixes text with beautiful illustrations as we dive into the life of Hugo, an orphan living in the walls of a Parisian train station. Hugo believes he is receiving a hidden message from his deceased father and is determined to find the meaning. There’s also a movie.

The Family Under the Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson

The Family Under the Bridge is a Newbery Honor award winner about an old man living in Paris. He is living under a bridge when a mom and her three children came into his life, changing it forever. 

The Lacemaker and the Princess by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

Life can change in the blink of an eye and it easily did for eleven-year-old Isabelle, the lacemaker in the town of Versailles, France. After meeting Marie Antoinette, Isabelle receives a new job: a companion to the queen’s daughter.

Allies by Alan Gratz

Allies tells the story of D-Day through multiple perspectives – a Canadian paratrooper, a girl in the French resistance, an American soldier, an African-American medic, and more. It emphasizes the importance of teamwork, especially in a time of war. Grab the book guide here.

The Journal of Scott Pendleton Collins: A World War II Soldier by Walter Dean Myers

The “Journal” series is a “boy” companion to the Dear America series. In this story, Scott Collins is an American soldier who shares his story of the Battle of Normandy, D-Day.

The Horrible Histories of France by Terry Deary

If there was ever a book that revealed the truth of history in France, this book is it! All of the “Horrible Histories” books are perfect for kids who think they don’t like history. 🙂

France: Travel Guide for Kids

Learning about France has never been so easy. This travel guide for kids will help them learn about tidbits from France. 

Germany

Who Was? Series

Why Beethoven Threw the Stew by Steven Isserlis

Beethoven was a deaf composer whose works have remained classics for centuries. Although this book isn’t just about him, this is a fun introduction of classical composers for younger students.

Emil and the Detectives by Erich Kastner

Set in Berlin, this book will take you on a fun adventure. Emil has the time of his life as he races through Berlin and teams up with a few detectives. 

Please view my Holocaust book recommendations here.

Greece

Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan

The fictional Percy Jackson series has been loved by millions and serve as an introduction to Greek mythology. Riordan’s written many sequels and spin-offs to this multi-faceted series.

The Iliad by Homer (Classic Starts)

Set during the siege of Troy, this book has plenty of battles, duels, and characters than ever before. What an awesome European History adventure to go on in Greece. 

DK Eyewitnesses: Ancient Greece by Anne Pearson

This series talks about how Greece made war and worshiped their very own Gods. The illustrations in this book are amazing!

Holland

Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

Most of us have heard of Anne Frank. This book is a firsthand look at what life was like for a young girl in hiding during World War II. Because of some content issues, I’d recommend it for middle school students and up.

The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom

(There is also a children’s chapter book by Janet Benge)

Originally written for adults, The Hiding Place is a classic that is appropriate for middle school students too. Corrie ten Boom and her family sheltered several Jews during the Holocaust. Although she and her sister are sent to a concentration camp, their faith never waivers.

God’s Secret Agent (Brother Andrew) by Janet Benge

God’s Secret Agent is about Andrew Van Der Bijl from the Netherlands smuggled Bibles behind the Iron Curtain. His story of faith and resilience makes this one of my favorite Christian memoirs. I’d also recommend his memoir, God’s Smuggler.

Iceland

Who Was? Series

Wild Emm – Child of Iceland by Written by Anne Lane 

Join a curious and energetic child doing sheep round-ups in Iceland and explore the landscape and all the country has to offer. 

Ireland

Nory Ryan’s Song and Maggie’s Door by Patricia Reilly Giff

I loved Nory Ryan’s Song and its sequel Maggie’s Door as a child. Told from the perspective of 12-year-old Nory growing up during the Irish Potato Famine, this is a story of adventure, survival, and hope. Maggie’s Door shares Nory’s story as she and her family emigrate to America to her sister Maggie’s home. The covers are somewhat outdated, but these were some of the best-written works of historical fiction I’ve read.

Black Potatoes by Susan Campbell Bartoletti

Imagine all of the food we have available today. This wasn’t always the case. It is so interesting to read about Black Potatoes and discover the blight attacks on potato crops in 1845 in Ireland. Losing friends and starving was common for a while, but Irish people found a way to overcome it. 

Horrible Histories of Ireland by Terry Deary

History wasn’t always pretty. Horrible Histories of Ireland tells us of some of the wars, famines, and sieges. 

Italy

Who Was? Series

Stones in Water by Donna Jo Napoli

One minute Robert is heading off to the movies and the next minute he’s in a brutal work camp. There is a lot of tragedy but triumph in this story. 

Norway

Snow Treasure by Marie McSwigan

No one knew how WWII would impact Norway. However, this is an amazing story of how about nine million dollars passed through the hands of the Nazis thanks to a young boy. This book is set during WWII but is not graphic or violent in any way. Instead, it is a tribute to a group of courageous children.

The Winter Fortress by Neal Bascomb

Striking the blow to an atomic bomb in Norway, this story involves letters, diaries, and a secret document to help tell this story. 

You Wouldn’t Want to Be a Viking Explorer by Andrew Langley

European History wouldn’t be complete without this book about vikings. Vikings are an intricate part of Norway’s history. This series is great for ages 8-12 and is great for reluctant readers.

The Life and Times of Erik the Red (Biography from Ancient Civilizations Series) by Earle Rice 

Life began in Norway for Erik Thorvaldsson, known as Erik the Red, but he ultimately helped the world to discover Greenland. 

Poland

The Trumpeter of Krakow by Eric Kelly

The Great Tarnov Crystal has caused quite an issue in medieval Krakow, Poland. Joseph needs to be able to protect the crystal from plundering Tarters. This story received the Newbery winner in 1928.

Escape from Warsaw/The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier

This book tells of the amazing history of three siblings during World War II in this adventure. This book has been published under two titles, Escape From Warsaw and The Silver Sword.

Please view my Holocaust book recommendations here.

Russia

Breaking Stalin’s Nose by Eugene Yelchin 

Breaking Stalin’s Nose received a Newbery Honor book in 2011. Set in the 1940s, six-year-old Sasha has a fascination with Stalin. His world view changes after his father, a loyal Communist, is arrested. Dark history from the perspective of children is always interesting and this book does a great job with introducing communism to younger readers.

Sword Enemies by Carol Matas

I would really only recommend this for grades 7+ because of some content, but I did find this a unique story worth telling. During Russia in the late 1800s, Jews suffered many anti-Semitic attacks (pogroms) in Eastern Europe. The country’s czar was forcibly kidnapping young Jewish boys for his army, and most didn’t survive. This is the fictional story of two “survivors” – who are both sworn enemies and must work together to survive. Although both boys survive, they never do really make amends.

Spain

Who Was? Series

Switzerland

Heidi by Johanna Spyri

In this beloved children’s classic, Heidi is a young orphan sent to live with her grandfather in the Swiss Alps. There are also several movie adaptions that can be watched afterward.

Children of the Alps by Johanna Spyri 

Children of the Alps is an older story that might be hard to find. There are 3 stories in this book. Each story is interesting and has a few layers of history in them. 

Misc.

DK Eyewitnesses: Castles by Christopher Gravett

Have you ever imagined living in a castle? This DK Eyewitnesses book breaks down the history of European castles by country.

DK Eyewitnesses: Medieval Europe by Andrew Langley

The Middle Ages ran from the end of the Dark Ages to the Renaissance in the 15th century. DK Eyewitness Medieval Life offers an in-depth look at life during that era. It covers several different perspectives from both the town and the country and for the peasants and the aristocracy of the era. 

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Samantha is an entrepreneur and a former homeschool student from Indiana, USA. When not blogging, Samantha can be found reading about WWII, trying to speak Hebrew, and wasting time on Pinterest. Her work can be found on Free Homeschool Deals, Unigo, True Aim Education, Encouraging Moms at Home, and more.

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