Sunday, November 26, 2017

Non-Eurocentric Age of Exploration Books

The discovery of gunpowder and the invention of the printing press heralded the end of the European Middle Ages (also called the Dark Ages), and the next step was the Age of Exploration, our most recent main lesson block.

I immediately was faced with a key question. How do you cover this next stage in European history without being overly Eurocentric?

Here are some books I recommend to help students have a more balanced wordwide view of this time period, including names of explorers I never studied in school (like Ibn Battuta and Zheng He) as well as a more honest view of how the Europeans treated the people they met as they explored.

Begin the block with the Kubla Khan book.

Kubla Khan: The Emperor of Everything

by Kathleen Krull

The Great Voyages of Zheng He

by Demi

Morning Girl

by Michael Dorris

Animals Christopher Columbus Saw: An Adventure in the New World

by Sandra Markle

The Sad Night: The Story of an Aztec Victory and a Spanish Loss

by Sally Schofer Mathews

for this one it is particularly helpful to create a tableau in the classroom, to help students understand the events of the retreat

The Baldwin Project at has many books available online for free which you can use for this block, including chapters from Historical Tales: Spanish American by Charles Morris. I do recommend this book if you want to study a few of the European explorers in depth, particularly if you want to compare the attitude of the Spanish conquistadors with Zheng He. Which we did, ultimately adding a Venn diagram to our main lesson books!

Stanford History Education Group (SHEG) also has some wonderful non-Eurocentric lesson plans, including Ibn Battuta and Mansa Musa. I highly recommend their site!

This post contains affiliate links to the materials I actually use for homeschooling. I hope you find them helpful. Thank you for your support!

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