18 Top History Books for Children

posted by Toka Box Editorial Team , January 25, 2021

You'd be amazed at the variety of books available about India. We have listed them all. From picture books to chapter books, activity books to books on Indian History, and more.

PICTURE BOOKS

1. Tales of Historic Delhi

In this stunningly illustrated picture book, the animals of Janwar Dosti — Tunnu the tiger, Zero the giraffe, Lucky the rabbit and all their jungle friends — embark on a beautiful and historical journey through Delhi. They discover its monuments, its places of historical importance, and also find fun things to do. Tales of Historic Delhi is the ultimate family guidebook and companion to explore the city and make its history come alive.  Come and take a walk back through time with the animals and birds to discover historic Delhi!

Many Indian books for children have listed the various monuments of Delhi, but few have succeeded in making them into a book that makes learning about this great city - fun! The illustrations make the book come alive. A great way to educate children through this medley of the real, the fantastical and the historical!

Buy now!

Toka Shop | Amazon India

2. Mukund and Riaz



Mukund and Riaz by Nina Sabnani, published by Tulika Books is a story of a deep friendship between two boys, Mukand and Riaz set against the backdrop of the partition of India. The story strikes a chord and is deeply touching and all the more because it is based on the real-life story of the author's father. A perfect book to perhaps begin conversations about hard topics with your children, if and when they begin asking these questions.  

Buy now!

Toka Box Amazon India

3. The Story of the Dandi March

This book is part of our Toka History Box on Partition which will be shipping October through December!asbattle over salt? Yes, fought the Gandhi way! What guns and soldiers could not do, he did simply, quietly and non-violently, just by picking up a lump of salt. Follow Gandhiji's famous march to Dandi to see the brilliant strategy that made the British give in and the world take notice. Peek into the book here.

Choose this book as an option when you subscribe to the Toka History series now through September as part of the Gandhi box!

Buy now!

Toka Box | Amazon India

4. My Gandhi Story

Everyone has their own story of Gandhi -- and in this book, a Warli artist, a storyteller, and an animation filmmaker come together in a unique collaboration to bring a very visual story of Gandhi to children. This book is part of our best-selling Toka History Series.

The book narrates Gandhi's story but from a unique perspective and the story is something that every young reader can relate to, instead of just being impersonal facts in a book. We also love the diversity behind the making of this book, when different kinds of artists come together to tell a story.

Choose this book as an option when you subscribe to the Toka History series now through September as part of the Gandhi box!

Both Gandhi Books are also available for purchase as a Gandhi Bundle on the Toka Shop!

Buy now!

Toka Box | Amazon India


5. Bhimrao Ambedkar: The Boy Who Asked Why

This book follows the life of Babasaheb Ambedkar and how he lent voice to fight against caste discrimination. From GoodReads - "This straightforward telling, visualized with quirky imagination, brings to children a man whose story will raise their awareness of discrimination -- leading them, perhaps, to ask their own whys. It's a great way to learn about one of the authors of our constitution and a man who fought many battles in his life.

Buy now!

Amazon US | Amazon India 

6. A is for Ajrakh

What do ancient fragments of cloth found in Egypt have to do with modern-day Gujarat? The answer starts with A — and sets us off through the alphabet, building with blocks of a very different kind! A for Ajrakh, B for Bagh, C for Chhipa… Each letter sparks off an aspect of block printing on textile, so that by Z for Zafran what we get is a fascinating patchwork of the styles, the motifs, the blocks, the dyes, and the skilled people who sustain and invigorate a centuries-old intricate craft.

Buy this book now!

Toka Shop | Amazon India

7. The Story of Babur by Parvati Sharma

This is the story of Babur, the first Mughal emperor of Hindustan. It is based on the Babur Nama, in which Babur writes about the events in his life, and of the people and things he loved or hated. Descended from two legendary conquerors, Chenghis Khan and Amir Temur, Babur spent much of early life losing kingdoms, wandering through the Uzbek mountains and almost living the life of a vagabond. This is the story of the strange and wonderful things the future brought to him.

Lavishly illustrated in Mughal miniature style paintings, this action-packed tale of this legend, king and adventurer will fascinate children and their parents alike.

Buy this book now!

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8. The Indus Valley

The book narrates how in the 1920s, archeologists started to excavate great cities buried beneath huge, ruined mounds in South Asia. They revealed an ancient civilization that flourished from 2600 to 1900 B.C.E. The skilled architects, artists, and builders of this mysterious culture left behind a wealth of artifacts. Each year's archeological finds provide more clues to solve the riddles of the Indus Valley civilization.

Apart from giving your child information on the Indus Valley Civilization in short and engaging bites that they will like and enjoy, the book may also light the spark and produce budding archeologists! Unearthing cities under the ground is many a child's dream!

Buy this book now!

Toka Box | Amazon India  

9. Cave Art: The First Paintings

How did art begin? Where did colors come from before paints in tubes and bottles? Taking a long step back in history, this book explores how the world’s first artists may have tried their hand on the very first canvases the walls of rocks and caves. Arising more from artistic imagination than archaeology, this story of art unfolds with photographs of the ancient paintings at the Bhimbetka Caves in Madhya Pradesh alongside creative reproductions of rock art.

Visceral, thought-provoking and informative, the book contains visual signposts to our history and origins. Children being such visual learners, they will connect immediately to the instincts and emotions behind primitive art and its honesty.

Buy this book now!

Toka Box | Amazon India 

10. Eye Spy Indian Art

After Raza's Bindu, authors Ritu Khoda and Vanita Pai are back with Eye Spy Indian Art, an absolutely gorgeous and well-crafted book that takes us on a journey of the evolution of Indian Modern Art and its various movements.

They start with the pre-modern phase of the Company School depicting life, birds and animals in British India under the patronage of the East India Company and Kalighat Pats made of cloth that are accompanied by patuas who tell stories or sing folk songs.

Buy now!

Amazon US | Amazon India 

CHAPTER BOOKS 

11. The History Mystery Series 

Natasha Sharma is one of our favorite authors. The History Mystery series are semi-fictitious stories woven around famous people from Indian history -- Ashoka, Akbar, Razia Sultan, and more. The incidents narrated are fictitious but are based on actual events from history. We loved Razia and the Pesky Presents, a book about Razia Sultan who is very irritated because she keeps getting these pesky presents that keep reminding her she is a woman and not a male to run the empire. She sets out to discover who is giving her these gifts. 

In Raja Raja and the Swapped Sacks, Raja Raja is the king of the Chola dynasty. He is worried because the Chinese from the Song dynasty have complained against to him against the Ayyavoles who are the group of traders who control the trade of the Chola dynasty. Someone has been swapping the sacks of goods which the Chola empire has been trading with the Chinese. The king then realises that only one person in this kingdom can solve this mystery. 

There are five books in this series and each one is so engrossing, you cannot up it down! 

Combining history with mystery is a superb idea and Natasha Sharma's humor keeps the narrative going at an exhilarating pace. You will be on your toes, trying to read till the very end and make interesting discoveries. The book has actual facts and information on each historical figure, right at the very end.  We highly recommend this one! It's our favorite.

Buy now! 

Toka Box History Mystery Bundle Set | Amazon India



12. A Children's History of India


This book is written by Subhadra Sen Gupta & illustrated by Priyankar Gupta published by Rupa Publications is consolidated book on the history of India right from the times it was called Jambudvipa till today. The book is divided into four sections - Ancient India, Medieval India, British India, Independent India. While most history books deal with important events, what sets this one apart is the chapters on how the common people lived.

Buy now! 

Amazon India | Amazon US

13. The Incredible History of India's Geography 


Written by Sanjeev Sanyal with Sowmya Rajendran, published by Puffin, is one of those magical books which manages to convert historical facts and figures into an interesting read with almost a story-like feel to it.

Buy now! 

Amazon India | Amazon US

14. Ahimsa  

Set in 1942, Ahimsa is about Anjali, a ten-year-old girl whose mother works for a British officer. Anjali's mother quits her job and joins the freedom movement. Anjali is nonplussed by her mother's choice and she cannot understand why they would have to give up their beautiful clothes and only wear khadi. Anjali and her family are brahmins and hence on top of the caste system. Anjali's parents decide that everyone should be equal and they start challenging the status quo -- they empty the waste from their own toilets, work with the Dalits in their neighborhood how to read and write, and are constantly assessing their beliefs and strategies when it comes to their role in the freedom movement. 

Buy this book now!

Toka Shop | Amazon India

15. The Constitution of India for Children by Subhadra Sen Gupta

We all celebrate Republic Day but what is the constitution of India? What does it tell us? It took two years, eleven months and seventeen days to realize the constitution. The Constitution of India for Children is a beautiful book by Subadhra Sen Gupta, which tells children everything they need to know about our democracy - which language is the Indian constitution written in? Were women part of the team? What is the official language of India? 

This handbook is wonderful for children to get essential facts about this beautiful country. It is presented in a very engaging and interesting manner, with the author talking about many interesting events that mark our history and how the constitution was written.  

Buy this book now!

Amazon US | Amazon India

16. Excavating History

Superhero action carved on rocks. A headless statue. Royal inscriptions on pillars and copper plates. Glass fragments from a lost city. These may sound like clips from a fantasy thriller, but are in fact objects unearthed at archaeological sites across the country — and the stories they throw up are just as exciting! This book won the 2018 The Hindu Young World-Goodbooks Award for Best Book: Non-Fiction

Buy this book now!

Toka Box | Amazon India

28. UNESCO India Heritage Series

There are 37 World Heritage Sites in India. The set of 5 books in this series tell stories of Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh’s Sanchi Stupa, the Qutb Minar in Delhi and the Keoladeo Bird Sanctuary. The books are authored by renowned historians and conservationists and beautifully illustrated by accomplished artists.
ONLY 1 AVAILABLE!  

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GET THE WHOLE SET! 

17. The Unknown Indians by Subhadra Sen Gupta
 

The book begins with an Introduction about the evolution of India, which gives a background to the way we perceive civilization; and explains in amazing and interesting detail how we, as a country, have always been tolerant and all-encompassing. It speaks about the influence that other cultures of the world as well as the dynasties that have ruled us have had on our culture and lays a firm foundation for this marvelous work.

The book is a lovely read that is divided into chapters with headings that are self-explanatory and beautifully laid-out. At the end of every chapter, there is a small section that gives fascinating pieces of information complementing the chapter. As a chapter ends, one is not yet ready to let go, but with the beginning of every new chapter, it is impossible not to be interested all over again and immersed in a world that is superbly mesmerizing! Read more here.

Buy this book now! 

Amazon US| Amazon India

18. The Teenage Diary Series by Talking Cub

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The Teenage Diary Series published by Talking Cub, is written from the point of view of brave female warriors from Indian history who went on to defy the orthodoxy and became fierce warriors and achievers. There are five books in this series -- The Teenage Diary of Razia Sultana by Anitha MurthyThe Teenage Diary of Jahanara by Subhadra Sen Gupta, The Teenage Diary of Rani Laxmibai by Tanushree PoddarThe Teenage Diary of Jodh Bai by Subadhra Sen Gupta, and The Teenage Diary of Noor Jahan by Deepa Agarwal.

Young children and chapter book readers will empathize with famous historical personalities because they are written from a teenager's point of view. It makes for fascinating reading and inspires children in many ways!

Buy this book now!

The Teenage Diaries Bundle 

19. The Incredible History of the Indian Ocean by Sanjeev Sanyal

An adaptation of The Ocean of Churn for young readers. When did the first humans arrive in India and how did they get here?

What are Roman artifacts from hundreds of years ago doing in a town near Puducherry?

How did merchants from Arabia end up near Kochi?

From the east coast of Africa to Australia, one big blue body of water has connected diverse peoples and cultures for thousands of years: the incredible Indian Ocean. Read on to learn about the fearless travelers and sailors, pirates and conquerors who set out to cross the ocean in search of gold and glory, and discover how geography can shape the course of history.

This book is an Honor Book in the Non-Fiction Category from the Toka Box Top South Asian Books 2020! 

Buy this book now!

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