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Explore the Middle Ages

Robert Fitzhooth, Earl of Huntington, is unjustly stripped of his lands and must resort to the life of an outlaw, under the assumed name of Robin Hood. Book-ending over half a century of works devoted to Medieval Europe for young readers, these two works echo surprisingly congruent notions of childhood, morality, faith, courage, civil freedoms, and what constitutes rollicking adventure stories for juvenile readers.

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Adam Quartermayne, the protagonist of Adam of the Road , is the son of the traveling minstrel, Roger, and together they have some hair-raising and delightful adventures against a colorful swath of medieval life. Crispin and the Cross of Lead , is set just after the Black Death, the plague that wiped out 20 million Europeans between and Crispin is orphaned as a result, and in his travels passes through whole villages decimated by the Great Death.

A major consequence of the plague was the labor shortage that resulted in the Peasant Revolt of and contributed to agitation to end the manorial system.

Avi incorporates these features into an adventure story, setting the protagonist in the midst of events that furthered the progress of human liberty. Marguerite De Angeli won the Newbery Medal in for her novel A Door in the Wall by breaking new ground in highlighting the challenges of physical disabilities.

After the household servants succumb to the plague, Robin is taken to a monastery by kind Brother Luke, whose gentle lessons impart the courage Robin needs to face his disability. Young Gabriel plays an angel in a traveling play dramatizing gospel stories for the mostly illiterate peasants. Unlike the lighthearted minstrels in Adam of the Road , these traveling players are often run out of town by irate burghers or masters of guilds and have a hard go earning a meager subsistence, keeping out of jail, and traveling unmolested.

The Middle Ages, c. 400-1400

McCaughrean has done an accessible edition of The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer suitable for intermediate students. For primary students, Marcia Williams has abridged and edited the tales and enriched them with her whimsical illustrations. Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! This is no sanitized depiction, but one full of the pathos of real human voices speaking across the centuries.

Hanawalt, Barbara. New York: Oxford University Press, Comments RSS.

Invention of children’s literature: What did kids read before Hans Christian Andersen?

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What's the point of studying medieval literature?

The following books about life in the Middle Ages are a hit! The knights, the castles, the princesses, the jousting tournaments I clearly remember learning about the Middle Ages when I was in seventh grade.

The Middle Ages in Literature for Youth

It was all so fantastical that I was actually skeptical that it really did happen. As I made my model castle, complete with a moat, I vividly remember wondering if perhaps historians had gotten it wrong.


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It seemed like Disney, not reality. Below are some of the best children's books about life in the Middle Ages, about castles and knights and princesses, etc.

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Note: The interest age increases as you move down the page. Steer 2nd grade - 6th grade. Marguerite Makes a Book by Bruce Robertson 2nd grade - 5th grade.

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Merlin and the Making of the King by Margaret Hodges 2nd grade - 6th grade. Chaucer's Canterbury Tales by Marcia Williams 4th grade - 6th grade. Good Masters!