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A Child's History of the World

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  2,367 ratings  ·  80 reviews
One of the finest history books for children, this well-loved Hillyer classic features stories of world history from prehistoric man through the 20th century, inspiring an appreciation of how events relate to one another.
Published April 8th 2014 by (first published 1924)
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Average rating 4.12  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,367 ratings  ·  80 reviews

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Sep 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
I have a nice, leather bound edition of this book that has survived being handled by four homeschooled kids. Even though it is written at about a fourth grade level, I'll always keep it on my history bookshelf because Hillyer has a wonderful grasp of the big picture of world history and is able to streamline the telling in clear, understandable language. He uses some child friendly analogies and writes in a conversational tone. I still reach for the book when I want to grasp the main idea of a ...more
Jul 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Update 11/09/08

I finished this book some time ago and I still love it, though I'll need to re-read it so I can remember things. As with any overview, the book decribes many events, and moves rather quickly, so by the time you finish one section, you're already 500 years later. I recommend taking notes while reading along, and I think it would make a great read aloud for homeschoolers .

I bought the first version of this book (I think 1911) on line and I LOVE IT. It is a great read. I wanted to
Aug 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kids-books
Updated this paragraph 04/19/15: Just finished the entire A Child's History of the World with Xander, which we have been working on for three years. One of the best books I've ever had him read. The ending has him thinking of ideas for ways to end all wars. He's come up with some interesting things: a war-ending machine, special forces that are different for each nation that protect against aggression...I will probably hear at least one more idea before he falls sleep.

The tone of this book is
Mar 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s-books
I've heard some say they think this book "talks down" to children. I respectfully disagree! I found the tone gentle and "grandfatherly" and I LOVED this book!! Absolutely brings history to life!!
Cindy Rollins
What can I say? One of my oldest homeschooling friends! Finished it today for the umpteenth time.
Oct 21, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: children and their birth givers
Shelves: favorites
A beautiful history book for young children, and just the thing for parents to use. They still have it on the curriculum at Calvert School in Baltimore I believe...
Carla Corinne
This was a pretty easy and pleasant read, but dang was it long! After a month of coming back to it bit by bit I finally finished it. I ADORE this book. This would make an awesome bed time read aloud to elementary school kids who like history (or just a good and witty story!). As an adult, I enjoyed getting the broad history of the entire world from beginning to finish in relaxed, unassuming, whimsical writing. What a fun read it was. Will read again someday and would use with children/students ...more
Aug 27, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the tone of the author thru-out. It felt easy to relay to very young listeners and covered enough factual information without over burdening their attention spans. However, this is marketed to be more in line with conservative view points and it starts off with the first three chapters being written with a decidedly progressive theology. Then it continues from there with factual errors thru-out. My husband and I are history buffs and this was very disturbing to see from a highly ...more
Melyssa Williams
Sep 19, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
We have the 1924 version, and it's the same one I read as a kid and am now reading aloud to my daughters. It holds their interest and they actually remember what we've read afterwards. My husband is one of those people who remembers every bit of random knowledge or trivia he's ever heard and is very adept at history, but even he was learning things from hearing me read aloud from this book. Make's history fun and charming and very basic.
Jan 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love the idea of this book. It is a simple, sweeping narrative of the main points of history (and prehistory) up until about the time of Vietnam. As the author says in the preface, his purpose is not to go into detail about events and people; often famous people, places, or events are simply mentioned, with a sentence or two to tell why they are important, and then the narrative sweeps on. This is wonderful, because it helps to place all these people and places and events in their proper place ...more
Wendy Jones
Aug 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
We spent the last 18 months going through this book in little bites during our Morning Time and I absolutely loved it. It opened up great conversation and it helped my boys become a little more interested in history.
We used this for the ancient world and are still using it for the middle ages. The stories are short and well-written. Much more engaging than The Story of the World. However, the author does have a 'chatty' manner in some of the chapters that really bugs. Some people list that as one of the benefits; I hate it.

We don't read this straight through. I use those chapters pertaining to a certain geographical area (we study history by continent).

I think this is a great read-aloud for the elementary
Feb 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My kids and I have really enjoyed this history book. It takes you from the creation to modern history. This book creates the perfect forum for parents to discuss world history with their kids. Each chapter is short, and it always grabs their attention from the get-go. It takes the tone of a friendly grandpa telling a story to a kid on his knee. My kids aged 6 to 11 all equally enjoy it. They beg me for "Just one more chapter! PLEEEEASE!"

This book is an essential part of our homeschool
The original publish date was 1924. If you can get past this author's racism - this is a surprisingly entertaining book! He thoroughly and whimsically covers just that - the history of the world - at such a level that children of almost all ages can enjoy! I recommend it as a read-aloud for children 6-12 years old, or for an independent read for 10 and up.
Aug 29, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens, nonfiction
The conversational style of this book draws in children when you read it aloud; it covers world history from prehistory to the present. Written originally in 1924, the book has been revised several times, but keeps its old-time charm. I would not depend on this book for an inclusive history of the world, but it is an inviting introduction to the subject for children.
May 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
I absolutely *loved* this book as a child, and read it over and over again. It's so well-written and would be a fascinating read-aloud. I think it came with the Sonlight curriculum, if I'm not mistaken.
Christel Devlin
Nov 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book over and over when I was a child. I can easily say this book taught me more than any other book I have ever read, and that I love this book the way a child loves a puppy.
Jan 03, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Wondering if this could be any more biased. . . . can anyone recommend a GOOD comprehensive read-aloud-as-is book on world history geared to 8 years old and under? I'm having a hard time.
Oct 15, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: homeschooling
I read this book to my children over the course of a year. Hillyer gives a practical perspective on history. My children emerged with more understanding of the world and an abhorrence for war.
Jun 03, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great narrative overview of history. I learned as much as my daughter as we were reading it for her history book in school.
Sep 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"To give an American child only American history is as provincial as to teach a Texas child only Texas history. Patriotism is usually given as the reason for such history teaching; it only promotes a narrow-
mindedness and an absurd conceit based on utter ignorance of any other peoples and any other times, an intolerant egotism without foundation and fact. Since WWI it has become increasingly more and more important that American children should have a knowledge of other countries and other
Adam Calvert
Mostly good with a little bit of a mixed bag in the religion department. While many of the negative reviews on Amazon complain that it is a Christian perspective, Hillyer begins this history with the Big Bang Theory of origins followed by the biological theory of macro-evolution (I guess from a theistic-evolution standpoint?). Along with that, he mentioned nothing about the terrible things Mohammad, the founder of Islam, taught and did; but he only painted him in a positive, peace-making light.

Devon Flaherty
Jun 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
We didnt end up using this much, but only because we had enough history to be getting along with, in The Story of the World. The few chapters that we read in A Childs History of the World were great, though. I enjoyed it. My son liked it. I would recommend it, especially for younger children, perhaps before you get to The Story of the World, as it is not as thorough. It is out of print, and perhaps hard to procure. Recommend, for earlier. ...more
Aug 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Clearly and concisely written in an approachable conversational tone, this book was well-received by my early elementary kids and provides a good survey of world history. Certainly there is much expanding that can be done, and I loved the Sonlight curriculum and the supplemental texts we read to flesh out the history, but overall a great entry to history. Would recommend for elementary kids or even adults who want a fast overview to brush up on world history.
May 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-aloud
I really enjoyed each chapter. We would often chuckle at the slightly conversational remarks he made when discussing some period in history. Overall the chapters are the perfect length for reading aloud and coming away satisfied with some concrete knowledge of that portion of history.

Will read again in about four years.
Tricia Brown
Jan 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm really enjoying reading this book with Lindy. It's written almost conversationally, and is perfect for her to listen to at 7. It holds her interest & she remembers a lot of what we've read. I'm learning a lot from it, too!
Jennifer Cretu
Mar 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kids
This book is magical, and we are on our second read as a family. I wish I would have had this book as a child. This is the single greatest book of history for children ( and really for any of us) I have read. I love this book. We will keep our copy in our home forever.
Joy Hakim
Oct 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-history
This is a wonderful classic book of history. Hillyer was a school principal and used his students as sounding-boards for his writing. They told him what they thought and he wrote to please them. I learned from him and those students when I wrote my book.
Jul 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book for the story of history to kids. I think we will read this book to our kids many more times.
May 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Preparing Hearts for His Glory History Spine
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(Virgil Mores Hillyer)

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