Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Children's Chapter books set in Europe

In the autumn, the home education group, that we attend, is looking at Europe. In preparation for this, I am looking out a couple of chapter books about Europe for the book club. An excellent excuse to read some more books and quality children's literature makes for relaxing reading!

I realised that there are far more books than I can use. Some I won't use because several of the children have already read them and others are slightly more difficult to obtain, sometimes because they are out of print and one, strangely for a book about Europe, because it has to come from the US.

Anyway, this is an overview of some of the chapter books about Europe that I have enjoyed. There is another waiting to be read and another waiting to be ordered when I have read them they may be added. 

Heidi was one of my favourites as a child and my daughter loves the book too. A beautiful story with themes of the Prodigal Son. Sadly, this won't make the cut as too many of the children have read the book.

Treasures of the Snow, by Patricia St John, is another beautiful book set in Switzerland. It has a disaster, peril and a strong Christian message.

When Hitler stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr. This book could also includes France and England.

I have written about The Good Master recently and this book will probably be one of my selections for the book club.

The Wheel on the School by Meindert DeJong is a Newbery Medal winner. This book tells the story of a tiny school in the Netherlands and the attempts of the children, and ultimately, the whole village to attract storks to nest on their roofs.

Piet Prins was a post Second World War Dutch politician who also wrote children's books. These books are rather difficult to source in the UK but the Shadow series and particularly, the books When the morning came and Dispelling the Tyranny from the Eighty Year War series were popular here.

United Kingdom
It is difficult to know where to start! 

The Family at One End Street The hilarious story about a dustman and his washerwoman wife and their large family.

Malcolm Saville's Lone Pine series is set on the Welsh border and in Sussex.

Children of the New Forest is historical fiction set in the New Forest. 

Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome is set in the Lake District. This book is iconic but I have to be honest and say that my family is divided between those who love the book and those who find it tedious. My personal view is that people who love the book are lovers of sailing and outside living.

Milly Molly Mandy is iconically English although set about ninety years ago.

The Silver Sword by Ian Serrrailler. Strictly speaking, this also covers Germany and Switzerland.

Detectives in Togas is a detective story set in Ancient Rome.

The Endless Steppe is an autobiographical account of life in the Second World War,

Please do add your recommendations. I realise that the Balkans and Scandinavia are unrepresented. It would be great to remedy this imbalance!

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  1. A suggestion for Scandinavia - The Strange Intruder by Arthur Catherall (published by Bethlehem Books) is set in the Faroe Islands which are part of the Kingdom of Denmark. My children enjoyed it very much.

    1. Thank you, Carol. I've not heard of the Strange Intruder before. I will look it out. Something about the Faroe Islands would be ideal as they will be new to many of the children.

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  2. Thanks for the link you left on my blog the other day :-) Emil and the Detectives springs to my mind (Germany) - my two really liked it, and we read one of the sequels as well (not enjoyed so much). We're reading Detectives in Togas at the moment - A&B would like me to read it all in one go they're enjoying it so much :-) B (10yo) also really liked Mission to Marathon (Greece) and we'll be re-reading Viking Tales by Jennie Hall in the not too distant future, God willing, which might be a consideration for Scandinavia ... I don't remember it terribly well though so can't be sure they don't set sail for America! Hth.

    1. Helen, that made me laugh as the book waiting to be read is Emil and the Detectives.
      Thank you for the other recommendations. They will be useful.

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  3. I liked "The Tanglewoods' Secret" by Patricia St. James and "Esmeralda Ahoy" by Elisabeth Fairholm - both about the UK. The first is, of course, Christian; the second is not and is a kid-solved mystery story. It has been a long time since I read either of them. :-)

    An American book about Iceland that is maybe not of the type you would be looking is from the Hardy Boys series and is called "The Arctic Patrol Mystery". I don't know how available that series might be over there. It is very common here.

    1. Thank you, Mary. I love Tanglewoods' Secret and had a great time reading it with my younger children last year. The other books are not familiar to me. I will look them up.

  4. Pippi Longstocking and Mrs Pepperpot for Scandinavia. Also Milly Molly Mandy for an England. These books are popular with my class of 5 - 7 year olds for reading to and for the older children as readers

    1. We love Milly Molly Mandy too but I hadn't thought about the other two. Thank you.