The existence of popular children series was just as common a hundred years ago as it is today,
and for many of the same reasons. If children enjoy one book in a series, they frequently look for
other similar books. Likewise, the most popular juvenile history authors often wrote dozens of
book of a similar genre, and their works were frequently grouped together by publishers.
There are over 80 books included in the young readers collection, and of these, over three-fourths are part of a series,
edited by a single publisher and often written by the same author. Rather than
describing related books individually, on this page we group common books together, and describe
the set together, including relevant information about the author.
A list of all of the series that are included in the Young Readers Collection follows.
To see a short synopsis of
each individual book, including both those that are part of a series and those that are not,
see our Book Summaries page.
| Series Title || Description || Volumes || Author |
| Told to the Children || Illustrated juvenile versions of classical legends and literature. || 18 of 30 || various|
| Stories from History || Selected tales from Greek, Roman, French, English, Norse, and Medieval History. || 6 of 6 || various|
| Children’s Heroes || Biographies of many of the most exciting characters of history, particularly British history. || 13 of 16 || various|
| Famous Stories Historical Readers || Short vignettes from history, used extensively as "historical readers" in elementary schools. || 3 of 3 || Baldwin |
| Old Time Tales || Short stories from the American, European, and Biblical History. || 3 of 3 || Evans |
| American History Stories || American history from colonial times to the civil war, told in short stories. || 4 of 4 || Pratt |
| Colonial Children || Historical fiction featuring children of colonial times in America. || 6 of 10 || Otis |
| Cousins of Long Ago || Historical Fiction set in pre-modern times. || 9 of 11 || various |
| Twins of the World || Historical fiction featuring boy and girl twins from countries around the globe. || 10 of 13 || Perkins |
| Jataka Tales || Fables for children based on Indian Buddhist folklore. || 2 of 2 || Babbitt |
| Great America || Short stories and anecdotes from American History. || 2 of 2 || Eggleston |
Told to the Children Series
The object of the Told to the Children series, published by E.C. and T.C. Jack in Great Britain
in the early 1900’s, was
to take well known classics from both the western canon and 19th century English literature and
retell the stories in a simple manner for children age 9-12.
The books themselves are short, well written, and beautifully illustrated. An upper elementary
age child can sometimes complete an entire book in only a few hours, and even younger children
can read them independently.
A great deal of the complexity of the original is left out, but in most cases the author focuses
on telling a few stories well rather than trying to cover every aspect of the original at a
The series involves over 30 books by a number of authors, but we have not attempted to republish
the whole series. The books we have published represent the best of the series and focus mainly
on legendary classics rather than those adapted from Victorian era originals.
Only the books in the series which we have published are listed here. There are several more pending.
Told to the Children Edited by Louey Chisholm
| Title || Compact Library || size |
| Gulliver's Travels by Lang ||British Empire, Young Readers|| 33 |
| King Arthur's Knights by Macgregor ||British Middle Ages, Young Readers|| 36 |
| Stories of Siegfried by Macgregor ||Christian Europe, Young Readers|| 37 |
| Stories from Pilgrim's Progress by Macgregor ||British Middle Ages, Young Readers|| 37 |
| Uncle Tom's Cabin by Marshall ||Early America, Young Readers|| 48 |
| Stories of Beowulf by Marshall ||British Middle Ages, Young Readers|| 29 |
| Stories of Robin Hood by Marshall ||British Middle Ages, Young Readers|| 38 |
| Stories of Roland by Marshall ||Christian Europe, Young Readers|| 33 |
| Stories of William Tell by Marshall ||Christian Europe, Young Readers|| 31 |
| Stories of Guy of Warwick by Marshall ||Christian Europe, Young Readers|| 31 |
| Stories from the Old Testament by Chisholm ||Young Readers|| 36 |
| Stories from the Life of Christ by Kelman ||Young Readers|| 44 |
| Stories from the Iliad by Lang ||Ancient Greece, Young Readers|| 36 |
| Stories from the Odyssey by Lang ||Ancient Greece, Young Readers|| 37 |
| Stories from the Arabian Nights by Steedman ||Young Readers|| 42 |
| Stories from the Ballads by Macgregor ||British Middle Ages|| 36 |
| Stories from Dante by Macgregor ||Christian Europe|| 41 |
| Stories of Wagner by Smith ||Modern Europe || 35 |
| Stories from Robinson Crusoe by Lang ||British Middle Ages|| 37 |
| Stories from the Faerie Queen by Lang ||British Middle Ages|| 42 |
| Celtic Tales by Chisholm ||British Empire|| 42 |
Stories from History Series
The Stories from History series, in common with the Children Heroes series from the same publisher,
is a short, nicely illustrated series of books that introduce elementary readers to some of the most
famous stories from history.
The series features tales from the history of Greece, Rome, France and England, as well as stories
from the Vikings and Crusades during the middle ages.
Instead of attempting to tell the entire history of each country in such a short book, the authors
selected between six and ten especially famous stories to tell with enough detail to be of interest.
By carefully selecting their stories, each writer manages to get across the most important events
and characters of their subject civilization in a manner that is appealing even for young children.
The books are short enough to be read in only a few hours by an older elementary school student,
or read aloud to a younger one.
Stories from History Edited by John Lang
Children’s Heroes Series
The Children's Heroes series was published in the early 1900’s by T.C. and E.C. Jack, and has many of the same
positive attributes as their well-known Told to the Children Series. Instead of focusing on literature however,
it is a series of biographies, primarily about historical English men-of-action. Several of the "heroes" dealt
with in this series were not unambiguously good men, but all lived important and action filled lives, that
are of great interest to young people.
A few of the heroes introduced in these tales, such as Lincoln, Columbus, and Joan of Arc, were not figures
related to British history, but most of the others were. This series, therefore, is not only a wonderful collection of
fascinating biographies, but also gives terrific insights into British history. We recommended many of these
books as a supplement to older students who are undertaking a comprehensive study of England and the British Empire.
Children's Heroes by Various Authors
| Title ||Compact Library|| size |
| Story of Robert Bruce by Lang ||British Middle Ages, Young Readers|| 44 |
| Story of Joan of Arc by Lang ||Christian Europe, Young Readers|| 35 |
| Story of Columbus by Imlach ||Spanish Empire, Young Readers|| 34 |
| Story of Francis Drake by Elton ||British Middle Ages, Young Readers|| 37 |
| Story of Raleigh by Duncan ||British Middle Ages, Young Readers|| 36 |
| Story of Lord Clive by Lang ||British Empire, Young Readers|| 32 |
| Story of Captain Cook by Lang ||British Empire, Young Readers|| 34 |
| Story of Napoleon by Marshall ||Modern Europe, Young Readers|| 34 |
| Story of Nelson by Sellar ||British Empire, Young Readers|| 40 |
| Story of Abraham Lincoln by Hamilton ||Early America, Young Readers|| 37 |
| Story of Livingstone by Golding ||British Empire || 32 |
| Story of H. M. Stanley by Golding ||British Empire || 32 |
| Story of Lord Roberts by Sellar ||British Empire || 39 |
| Story of General Gordon by Lang ||British Empire || 38 |
| Story of Chalmers of New Guinea by Kelman ||Unavailable|| |
| Story of Cromwell by Marshall ||Unavailable|| |
| Story of Bishop Patterson by Paget ||Unavailable|| |
Famous Stories Historical Readers
James Baldwin was one of the most influential educators and authors in the late nineteenth century.
He was a teacher and at one time superintendent of the Indiana public schools, and later worked
with the American Book Company to produce books suitable for elementary textbooks.
At one time it was estimated that almost half of the books used in public schools were written or
edited by Baldwin and he dedicated his career to producing high quality classic books for
The books from his Famous Stories series were particularly popular and were used as "readers" in
the young elementary grades in schools throughout the United States. They are written at a second
to fourth grade level and retell dozens of true stories, about half from American history, and the
rest from world history. These stories are anecdotal in nature, and many have a gentle moral. They
do not tell complete histories or biographies, but usually only touch upon a single incident in a
famous person’s life. For example, the stories of "Columbus and the Egg", and "Bruce and the Spider",
recount only brief episodes in the lives of these famous characters, but at a level of great
interest to young readers.
Famous Stories Historical Readers by James Baldwin
Old Time Tales
Lawton Evans was a public school teacher and administer from Augusta, Georgia, and an extraordinarily
talented story-teller. In the first decades of the twentieth century, he wrote a series of story
books based on historical tales, and also several American History textbooks. The Old Time Tales
series is a collection of his best stories, from American History, European History, and Biblical
Evans was a strong believer in story-based history, and his books were favorites of
school children throughout the nation.
His America First is a collection of 100 fascinating stories from American
History, many involving interesting anecdotes from less well-known characters, as well as retellings
of some of the most famous episodes in American History. It is not a comprehensive history by
any means, since the stories are of diverse origin and generally unconnected. Likewise, Old Time
Tales (also published under the title Kings and Knights of Old), tells a variety of stories from
European History from the last days of the Roman Empire to the French Revolution. Heroes of
Israel retells stories form the Old Testament in chronological order, but each story is told
with great interest at a level comprehensible to a grammar school student.
Old Time Tales by Lawton Evans
American History Stories Series
Mara Pratt was a prolific author of children’s history books in the late 19th century,
and her American History Stories series includes many of the most famous anecdotes from
the early days of the colonies to the close of the civil war. The books are intended
for young readers and tell short stories of interesting characters and events rather
than providing civics instruction on constitutional matters.
In addition to introducing important historical characters by way of short vignettes,
Pratt also uses songs, poems and art to illustrate her stories. Several chapters consist
only of lyrics or verses composed in honor of specific events or characters. Pratt also
delights in telling interesting stories of not-so-famous people who in some way or another
supported American values, or advanced the cause of freedom.
American History Stories by Mara L. Pratt
Colonial Children Series
James Otis was a very successful children’s author around the turn of the century, although his
primary genre was fiction, or historical fiction, rather than regular history. In this
series, set in the early years of colonial America, the protagonist of each book is a
young child of American settlers. The point of the series is not to deal in detail with
political events, but rather to show the manner in which the children of early pioneers
and colonists lived in their everyday lives. The following is from the introduction to
Richard of Jamestown.
"The purpose of this series of stories is to show children, and those who have already
taken up the study of history, the home life of the colonists with whom they meet in their
books. To this end every effort has been made to avoid anything savoring of romance, and
to deal only with facts, so far as it is possible, while describing the daily life of those
people who conquered the wilderness whether for conscience sake or for gain.
That the stories may appeal more directly to the children, they are told from the viewpoint
of a child, and purport to have been related by a child. Should any criticism be made
regarding the seeming neglect to mention important historical facts, the answer would be
that these books are not sent out as histories,—although it is believed that they will
awaken a desire to learn more of the building of the nation,—and only such incidents as
would be particularly noted by a child are used."
Only four books from this series are currently available. The rest will be completed in a later release.
Colonial Children by James Otis
Our Little Cousin of Long Ago Series
The Our Little Cousin series was introduced by the Page Company in the early 1900's.
It was based on the idea of introducing world geography through the stories of children who
live in various countries. After its initial success, a new series was initiated, entitled
Our Little Cousin of Long Ago. These books differed from the original in that they
were centered on ancient civilizations instead of modern ones. Most were set in the midst
of important historical events, but the central drama is always fictional, and the historical
events and characters play out in the background, rather than the foreground of the story.
Like the original series, the books are intended to focus on the everyday life, beliefs,
customs, and livelihoods, of the characters rather than to tell a particular historical tale.
In many cases however, the character is present at an important battle, or during the
sacking of monastery, or during some other key historical event. But the main plot typically
involves the curious adventures of a ten-year-old boy rather than a particular historical
Our Little Cousin of Long Ago by various author
Twins of the World Series
This series of books is based on the idea of introducing world geography and the customs
of different civilizations, by way of a pair of twins growing up in various countries.
The books are written for grammar school students, and each features a set of twins—always
a boy and a girl—who are young and curious. The plots are simple, but the characters themselves
are developed in enough detail to be of real interest.
The books deal primarily with customs, geographic, and livelihood issues rather than
historical or political issues, but several of the stories are conceived with a historical
circumstance such as a war, a flood, or land-reform in the back-ground. In these cases,
the day to day life of a typical family growing up in unusually difficult circumstances
is portrayed. Most of the books, however, are focused on presenting the life-style and
customs of the children in a given country, and their daily activities and education.
Twins of the World by Lucy Fitch Perkins
The following excerpt is from the introduction to Jataka Tales
Jataka Tales by Ellen C. Babbitt
The Jatakas, or Birth-stories, form one of the sacred books of the Buddhists and relate to the
adventures of the Buddha in his former existences, the best character in any story being
identified with the Master.
These legends were continually introduced into the religious discourses of the Buddhist
teachers to illustrate the doctrines of their faith or to magnify the glory and sanctity of
the Buddha, somewhat as medieval preachers in Europe used to enliven their sermons by introducing
fables and popular tales to rouse the flagging interest of their hearers. . . .
. . . While some of the stories are Buddhistic and depend for their point on some custom
or idea peculiar to Buddhism, many are age-old fables, the flotsam and jetsam of folklore,
which have appeared under various guises throughout the centuries, as when they were used
by Boccaccio or Poggio, merely as merry tales, or by Chaucer, who unwittingly puts a Jataka
story into the mouth of his pardoners when he tells the tale of "the Ryotoures three."
. . . The Jataka Tales contain deep truths, and are calculated to impress lessons of
great moral beauty. . . . .these tales "are, as everyone must admit, nobly conceived,
lofty in meaning, and many a helpful sermon might be preached from them as texts."
Great Americans Series
Edward Eggleston was an America author, well-known both as a historian for children, and
as an author of fiction. Eggleston wrote serious history for adults and was particularly
well known for his "local-color" accounts of small-town American life. When he tackled
children's history it was with the specific intention of engaging young children with
anecdotes of early American life—particularly that of the pioneers and explorers who
settled this great land with little more than their own courage and wit. The following
paragraph sum's up his intentions, from the Preface to American Life and Adventure.
. . . The stories and sketches in this book relate mainly to earlier times and to
conditions very different from those of our own day. They will help the pupil to apprehend
the life and spirit of our forefathers. Many of them are such as make him acquainted with
that adventurous pioneer life, which thus far has been the largest element in our social
history, and which has given to the national character the traits of quick-wittedness,
humor, self-reliance, love of liberty, and democratic feeling. These traits in combination
distinguish us from other peoples.
Eggleston was a gifted writer, and both of these book were written specifically for
very young readers. The use short sentences, short chapters, and a limited vocabulary
that is accessible to beginning readers, while retaining a great deal of interest and
capturing the authentic spirit of early America.
Great American Series by Edward Eggleston
The number of sheets listed indicates the number of 8½ by 11 sheets of paper required to print the
entire book, single-sided. Double-sided printing would allow publishing the entire book using only half the given number.
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