What to Read After... Horrible Histories

Published on: 10 November 2022

Once someone has read all the books in the iconic Horrible Histories series, where to turn next? The combination of Terry Deary’s gory facts and Martin Brown’s humorous illustrations is hard to beat. But there are other books that might keep a young history buff entertained.

Illustration: Martin BrownIllustration: Martin Brown

Historical Humour

If your child enjoys jokes with their history, try Corpse Talk by Adam and Lisa Murphy. Told by the historical figures themselves in the form of full-colour graphic novels, these will have children laughing out loud as they learn. The series is large enough to fuel interest for a good while. The brilliant History Atlas by Thiego de Moraes features many different civilisations throughout history, using the medium of maps. Informative, quirky and amusing, this has no shortage of fascinating facts.

Expanding out from human-centred facts, Greg Jenner’s You are History provides the history to important inventions such as headphones, pyjamas and – of course – toilets. Full of delightfully daft information in almost bite-size form, with vibrant colour illustrations, this has huge child appeal.

Illustration from Corpse Talk Illustration from Corpse Talk 

Fascinating facts

If your child wants to explore a particular theme of history, there are plenty of excellent books to share. Black and British by David Olusoga sheds light on the perhaps-surprisingly-long history of Black Britons. Women Who Led the Way: Great Explorers and Adventurers by Mick Manning and Britta Granstrom is an absorbing account of 21 little-known women who were pioneers in their field. Ancient Games: a history of sports and gaming by Iris Volant and Avalon Nuovo will engage any sports fan in history – and covers many cultures studied at school. Hide and Seek History: The Greeks by Jonny Marx and Chaaya Prabhat has a fun lift-the-flap element to it, making it appealing to those with short attention spans. If you enjoy travel, A History of the World in 25 Cities by Tracey Turner and Andrew Donkin, and illustrated by Libby Vanderploeg, provides a captivating peek into worldwide cities and their history. And, to return to Britain, try the inspiring Great Britons: 50 Amazing People Who Have Called Britain Home by Imogen Russell Williams and Sara Mulvanny.

Illustration from Black and British: An Illustrated HistoryIllustration from Black and British: An Illustrated History

Funny Fiction

If your child fancies a story set in the past that will make them laugh, look no further. Two Terrible Vikings and Grunt the Berserker by Francesca Simon, illustrated by Steve May, has madcap action, super-silly toilet humour, and two characters called Hack and Whack. The Wizard in My Shed by Simon Farnaby stars a wizard from the Dark Ages who’s transported to the 21st century – with hilarious consequences. In the graphic novel A Roman Rescue by Kelly Gerard and Emma Dodd, Charlie and his dog Bandit end up in Ancient Rome and have to dodge gladiators, win a chariot race and find their way home! Finally, there is no historical fiction with wittier wordplay – or more exciting fight scenes – than the Asterix series. Written by René Goscinny, illustrated by Albert Uderzo and translated by Anthea Bell and Derek Hockridge, this classic graphic novel series has puns, visual gags, ridiculous stereotypes and plenty of action. Try Asterix the Gaul and there will forever be a small part of your heart that is holding out against the Romans.

Illustration from Asterix the GaulIllustration from Asterix the Gaul

Join in!

Those are some of our ideas – but what about you?

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