The Age of Exploration & Discovery Book List

Explorers and adventurers! Read about the Age of Exploration and Discovery, 1400s through 1600s!

Christopher Columbus

In "Columbus," young readers will be swept up in the adventurous story of a man in quest of the treasures of the East. Not knowing what to expect on every turn, Columbus fearlessly sailed on across the Atlantic at a time when "civilized" people believed the world was flat. He and his brave team of sailors soon discovered many islands, people, and treasure, and opened up a strange new world. The beautiful illustrations enhance this fascinating tale of one of the world's most famous explorers. Recommended for ages 4 to 11.


In 1360 AD, King Magnus Eirikson rules over a united Sweden and Norway-a Christian Scandinavia. When a rumor reaches the king that the colonies in Greenland have fallen back into pagan ritual, along with an alarming report that the inhabitants of the Western Settlement have mysteriously disappeared, Magnus entrusts Paul Knutson to make contact with Greenland and to verify the truth of these stories. Among these men are Olav Sigurdsson-a young man sailing to prove his bravery to the king and to reclaim his father's lost honor-and Eirik the Laplander, deeply loyal to Olav's family, but a pagan viewed with suspicion by the other Christian Scandinavians.

Upon confirming the disappearance of a whole settlement, Paul and his party follow a sparse trail of clues south across the seas toward "Vinland"-convinced that some of the colonists may still be alive.

245 pages, softcover. Ages 11 & up. RL 5.7.

A thousand years ago when the Vikings roamed the seas, led by their Norse gods, there lived a man in Norway called Erik the Red. He was able and strong but his temper was wild, and after a fight he was banned from Norway. So he sailed to Iceland. There he built a farm, found a wife, and lived in peace for a while. But then he began to quarrel and fight again, and it wasn't long before he had to flee from Iceland, too. Now Erik sailed off into the unknown sea toward the setting sun, and there behind a wall of ice he found a new land... Erik the Red had three sons. The one was called Torstein, the second Torvald, and the third was called Leif. And this is the story of Leif, Erik's son, who sailed with his father to Greenland, and who later sailed still farther west and found there the continent of America. Originally published in 1941, this oversized book is beautifully illustrated. Recommended for ages 4 to 11.

Leif Erickson came from a long line of Viking seafarers-men who for hundreds of years had sailed the Atlantic, North Sea, the Mediterranean, the Black Sea, and everything in between. Whether sailing for trade, plunder, or in search of new lands to settle, the mysteries of seafaring were second nature to the Vikings. Their knowledge of the stars, and their sleek and seaworthy vessels took them swiftly and safely where they wanted to go. So, it was not surprising that when just a young man, Leif determined to sail unaided from Greenland to Norway to meet the famous king Olaf Tryggvesson. Part of the original Landmark Books series for young readers, The Vikings tells the remarkable story of the intrepid Leif Erickson and his important and exciting adventures as a seafaring Viking. 145 pages, softcover. Grades 4 – 6.

Devin and Briana O'Toole are facing the biggest adventure of their lives. In exchange for Bree's freedom, they have agree to make one voyage on the new Viking ship Conquest. with explorer Leif Erickson they travel from Norway to Iceland, then to Greenland and beyond, encountering the danger of the Northern waters and an unknown enemy within the ship's crew. Will the hardships be worth it in the end, or will Bree remain a slave?

Mikkel, the young captain of the Conquest, is full of ambition. More than anything, he has always wanted wealth and fame. But he will need courage to lead his men on such a perilous journey, and to regain his lost honor. He doesn't even want to think about letting Bree go free.

Only God can give Mikkel, Bree and Devin a Heart of Courage for the challenges that lie ahead. Recommended for ages 10 and up.

In Father's Road by Ji-yun Jang, and illustrated by Tan Jun, is about a boy named Wong Chung who has been invited to travel with his merchant father along the Silk Road to Constantinople. Wong Chung learns that this long and arduous journey is filled with many hardships, including thirst and hunger, scathing weather, and dangerous bandits. Wong has a lot to learn from his father and with so many obstacles, will their caravan make it to the glittering city to trade their goods? Includes a brief history of the Silk Road, including the global exchange, the goods different countries traded, the geography of the road, a time line of events, and more!

From Roman times until the Age of Exploration, the Silk Road carried goods and ideas across Central Asia between two major centers of civilization, the Mediterranean Sea and China. In The Silk Road: Explore the World's Most Famous Trade Route, readers ages 912 will learn about the history, geography, culture, and people of the Silk Road region.

Marco Polo was just one of many who set out on the Silk Road in search of wealth, power, or knowledge. These adventurers braved vast deserts, towering mountain peaks, warring tribes, and marauding bandits. Silk garments, wool rugs, and fine glass were the prizes for those who survived the trip. Activities using everyday materials bring the Silk Road to life. Young readers will see how ideas in math, science, religion, and art were spread by travelers along with the treasures they found.

The Silk Road takes readers on an exciting, interactive adventure to a faraway place and celebrates its important role in human history and development.

Being a Renaissance explorer was both exciting and rewarding. But it sure wasn't easy! Explorers in the Age of Exploration faced many challenges and dangers as their ships sailed into new and unfamiliar lands. Some explorers caught diseases, while others battled with native peoples over control of the territory. Without the efforts of the Renaissance explorers, the world as we know it might have been very different! Brave men such as Ferdinand Magellan and Niccolr de Conti ventured into uncharted territory around the globe and learned much about what lay beyond Europe and brought back an incredible wealth of information about this "new world ."

In The Renaissance Explorers with History Projects for Kids, readers ages 10 to 15 find out more about what it meant to be an explorer and follow the biographies of five famous Renaissance explorers, including Niccolr de Conti, Bartolomeu Dias, Vasco da Gama, Pjro da Covilhc, and Ferdinand Magellan, from their childhoods until their exhilarating days of scouting new-to-them lands. In addition to diving deep into the biographies of five Renaissance explorers, readers discover the skills and tools essential for these brave men as they crossed vast oceans and interacted with very different civilizations during the course of their journeys. Kids also find out more about the science and navigational techniques that made the Renaissance one of the most important periods for the discovery of new lands, peoples, and animals.

Using the engineering design process, kids develop critical and creative thinking skills with 10 STEAM activities, such making a compass that works and building a beacon like the ones used by Bartolomeu Dias and Vasco da Gama on their journeys. Fun facts, primary source illustrations, and links to online resources spark an interest in the Renaissance that goes beyond the boundaries of Europe. Even without a time machine, learners can experience the Renaissance!

James Rumford, himself a world traveler, has retold Ibn Battuta's story in words and pictures, adding the element of ancient Arab maps - maps as colorful and evocative as a Persian miniature, as intricate and mysterious as a tiled Moroccan wall. Into this arabesque of pictures and maps is woven the story not just of a traveler in a world long gone but a man on his journey through life.

Five hundred years ago people thought the earth was flat- and tiny, until oneman determined to prove them wrong. Young adventurers will travel unknown seas with Magellan, see new sights, face grave danger and discover how big the world really is. Ages 8-12.

While awaiting trial for murder and for withholding from the Spanish king the obligatory fifth of the gold found in the New World, Esteban de Sandoval, a seventeen-year-old cartographer, recalls his adventures with a band of conquistadors. In this award winning novel, O’Dell immerses the reader in the somber and ruthless world of 16th century Spain, New World America and the conquistadors.  272 pages, softcover. Grades 7 to 9.

Hold onto your hat! It's 1492...and you are there! You're in Spain and a sea captain named Columbus is about to sail west to discover a new world--by accident. This is a time when there are no electric lights, no telephones, no wristwatches, and no protection from plagues. Do you believe in charms and magic? What do you wear? Will you go to court and meet Queen Isabella? Will you go to sea on a great sailing ship? Here's history up close and personal--a book that sends the reader into a time capsule from the days of Columbus. Illustrated, 106 pages, from Aladdin Paperbacks.

The Heroes of History series chronicles the true stories of fascinating men and women who changed the course of history.

Thrown overboard, enslaved by the Turks, captured by pirates, rescued by a princess-the story of Englishman John Smith would seem unbelievable were it fiction. Young John first sought adventure in Europe, traveling as far as Russia and distinguishing himself in the wars that raged across the Old World. But John Smith's real passion was for the New World, and in 1607 he sailed to North America with the men who would establish the first lasting British settlement-Jamestown.

For ages 10 and up.

Pedro Menindez of Aviles is an unfamiliar name to many Americans and yet in 1565 this remarkable man founded St. Augustine, the oldest continually-inhabited city in North America. Growing up in Asturia, Spain, the young Pedro becomes a master at handling boats, with an instinctive knowledge of the sea, its ways and those who sail upon it. From his nobleman father, he also comes to understand and detest the vast, tough web piracy had spun to enmesh the shipping of two continents. Gifts of observation, memory and strong will cause Don Pedro to achieve a legendary reputation as the Sea Tiger, Scourge of Pirates and in 1554, to be appointed the Captain General of His Majesty's Fleet by Emperor Charles V. With the Bay of Biscay's shipping channels freed from buccaneers, a fresh colonization in the New World becomes possible. In 1565, Pedro Menindez himself heads a major and challenging expedition of colonists, soldiers and missionaries to successfully establish a settlement in Florida. In the words of one of Menindez soldiers, he considered nothing but the service of God and his Majesty, without looking to [his own] human interests. Lively storytelling and concise commentary add to the pleasure of this fascinating biography about a man of integrity and unswerving faith. 167 pages, softcover. Ages 9-12 / Grades 4-7.

The creators of Leonardo's Horse, an ALA Notable Book, again combine their masterful talents to illuminate a tragic piece of history that still fascinates Americans today--the disappearance of 115 colonists in 1587, who seemingly vanished without a trace. Full color.

Solve one of the unsolved mysteries in history! Learn the facts about Roanoke Colony in this delicatelly illustrated book that follows a young sleuth's notes as she learns about the lost colony. "Sticky notes" provide definitions of unusual or historical words, while "notebook" paper provides historical background and other relevant notes. Read carefully and check your clues. You might be the first to solve a puzzle that has baffled people for years! 32 pages, hardcover with dust jacket.

Discover the Northwest passage with this illustrated book inspired by the song "Northwest Passage" by Canadian folk musician Stan Rogers. Beautifully illustrated, and paired with the words from the song, this book also includes a timeline of northern exploration, a mini-biography of important explorers, and the music and verses for the song "Northwest Passage". 56 pages, hardcover with dust jacket.

Trouble in New France. Working with feverish haste, she selected muskets, pistols, powder and bullets. The sight of a man's hat, an old one that had belonged to her father, lying on a powder cask, gave her an idea. She pulled off her linen cap and put on the hat. It was not too large over her heavy hair, and, seen above the pickets, it would deceive the Indians. She was adjusting the powder horn and bullet pouch when Louis and Alexandre ran in with Laviolette at their heels. And so Madeleine and her small force begin their harrowing vigil--hoping against all hope that help will come in time. Recommended for ages 10 and up.

A collection of stories about the European exploration and settlement of North America, Finding a New Land is filled with fictional stories of Pilgrim, colonist, and settler children, poems, and fact-based tales. Famous Americans such as Christopher Columbus, George Washington, and others are often incorporated for unique pieces of historical fiction. Within each chapter, new vocabulary words are bolded; at the end, a vocabulary list, comprehension questions, and extension activity are given. 29 reading selections divided into eight units; 263 pages, softcover. 4th Grade.

This book is a re-written version of Boys and Girls of Colonial Days.

History Spines and References

Just For Fun!

A shark accuses Cyrus of cowardice because he won't sink any ships. The kindly sea serpent almost succumbs to peer pressure, but learns at last to be himself. 48 pages. Paperback. Ages 4-8.