Picture Book Timeline - Early Modern History

A Chronological List of Children’s Books for Early Modern History

Here is a chronological list of picture book biographies and other children’s books about early modern history. This time period covers events from 1500 A. D. to the year 1900 A.D..

Leonardo da Vinci, by Diane Stanley

1503 – Leonardo da Vinci begins painting the Mona Lisa

Leonardo da Vinci, by Diane Stanley


Brilliant Brits: Henry VIII, by Richard Brassey

April 21, 1509 –  Henry VIII becomes King of England

Brilliant Brits: Henry VIII, by Richard Brassey


Raphael: Art for Children, by Ernest Raboff

1511 – Raphael finishes painting The School of Athens, a mural on the upper floor of the Vatican palace commissioned by Pope Julius II 

Raphael: Art for Children, by Ernest Raboff


Michelangelo, by Diane Stanley

1512 – Michelangelo finishes painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel

Michelangelo, by Diane Stanley


Martin Luther: A Man who Changed the World, by Paul L. Maier

October 31, 1517: Martin Luther writes 95 theses (concerns) about the teachings of the Church and nails them to the door of the All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg, Germany.  This starts the Protestant Reformation.

Martin Luther: A Man who Changed the World by Paul L. Maier, illustrated by Greg Copeland


John Calvin, by Simonetta Carr

1536 – John Calvin publishes the first edition of Institutes of the Christian Religion in Basel, Switzerland

John Calvin (Christian Biographies for Young Readers), by Simonetta Carr


Nicolaus Copernicus: The Earth is a Planet, by Dennis Brindell Fradin

1543 – Nicolaus Copernicus publishes his book, De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium, which states that the earth revolves around the sun

Nicolaus Copernicus: The Earth is a Planet, by Dennis Brindell Fradin, illustrated by Cynthia Von Buhler


Good Queen Bess, by Diane Stanley

November 17, 1558: Elizabeth I becomes Queen of England and Ireland

Good Queen Bess, by Diane Stanley


You Wouldn’t Want to Sail in the Spanish Armada! An Invasion You’d Rather Not Launch, by John Malam

1588 – The English defeat the Spanish Armada

You Wouldn’t Want to Sail in the Spanish Armada! An Invasion You’d Rather Not Launch, by John Malam, illustrated by David Antram


Roanoke: The Lost Colony, by Jane Yolen and Heidi Elisabet Yolen Stemple

1590 - John White returns to Roanoke Island after a supply-trip to England to find the settlement deserted

Roanoke: The Lost Colony, by Jane Yolen and Heidi Elisabet Yolen Stemple, illustrated by Roger Roth


Christopher Newport: Jamestown Explorer, by Sharon K. Solomon

1606 – The Virginia Company of England hires Christopher Newport to command the Susan Constant, the Godspeed, and the Discovery on a voyage to establish English colonies in America

Christopher Newport: Jamestown Explorer, by Sharon K. Solomon, Illustrated by Dan Bridy


Life in Jamestown Colony, by Janey Levy

1607 – The Virginia Company of England establishes Jamestown, the first permanent English colony in North America

Life in Jamestown Colony, by Janey Levy


Starry Messenger, by Peter Sis

1609: Galileo Galilei builds his first telescope

Starry Messenger, by Peter Sis


The Mayflower 1620: A New Look at a Pilgrim Voyage, by Plimoth Plantation, Peter Arenstam, John Kemp, and Catherine O’Neill Grace

1620 – The Mayflower travels from Plymouth, England to Massachusetts carrying colonists, now known as the Pilgrims, who found the first permanent European settlement in New England

The Mayflower 1620: A New Look at a Pilgrim Voyage, by Plimoth Plantation, Peter Arenstam, John Kemp, and Catherine O’Neill Grace


The Mayflower Compact, by Dennis Brindell Fradin

November 11, 1620 – The Pilgrims aboard the Mayflower sign the Mayflower Compact, the first agreement for self-government in what is now the United States

The Mayflower Compact, by Dennis Brindell Fradin


Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving, by Eric Metaxas

1621 – Squanto, a Native American of the Patuxet tribe, helps the Pilgrim settlers at Plymouth during their first winter in the New World

Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving, by Eric Metaxas, illustrated by Shannon Stirnweis


The Pilgrims’ First Thanksgiving, by Ann McGovern

1621 – The Pilgrims celebrate Thanksgiving

The Pilgrims’ First Thanksgiving, by Ann McGovern


The Taj Mahal, by Caroline Arnold and Madeleine Comora

1632 -Construction begins on the Taj Mahal in Agra, India

The Taj Mahal, by Caroline Arnold and Madeleine Comora, illustrated by Rahul Bhushan


The Great Tulip Trade, by Beth Wagner Brust

1637 - Tulip Mania hits its high point - Tulip bulbs in Holland sell for extraordinarily high prices. 

The Great Tulip Trade, by Beth Wagner Brust, illustrated by Jenni Mattheson


Isaac Newton, by Kay Barnham

 1666 –  Isaac Newton  develops his theories of gravitation

Isaac Newton, by Kay Barnham


La Salle, by Jeff Donaldson-Forbes

April 9, 1682 - After canoeing down the Mississippi River and reaching the Gulf of Mexico, La Salle claims the whole Mississippi basin for France and names it Louisiana. 

La Salle, by Jeff Donaldson-Forbes


Peter the Great, by Diane Stanley

1703 – Peter the Great, the czar of Russia, founds St. Petersbutg and makes it the new capital of Russia.

Peter the Great, by Diane Stanley


Struggle for a Continent: The French and Indian Wars: 1689-1763, by Betsy Maestro and Giulio Maestro

1754-1763 – The French and Indian War

Struggle for a Continent: The French and Indian Wars: 1689-1763, by Betsy Maestro and Giulio Maestro


The Boston Tea Party, by Steven Kroll

December 16, 1773 – The Boston Tea Party

The Boston Tea Party, by Steven Kroll, illustrated by Peter Fiore


Let it Begin Here! Lexington and Concord: First Battles of the American Revolution, by Dennis Brindell Fradin

April 19, 1775 – Battles of Lexington and Concord

Let it Begin Here! Lexington and Concord: First Battles of the American Revolution by Dennis Brindell Fradin, illustrated by Larry Day


Henry Knox: Bookseller, Soldier, Patriot, by Anita Silvey

January 24, 1776 – Henry Knox arrives at Cambridge, Massachusetts with around 120,000 pounds of artillery that he has transported across some 300 miles from Fort Ticonderoga

Henry Knox: Bookseller, Soldier, Patriot, by Anita Silvey, illustrated by Wendell Minor


The Fourth of July Story, by Alice Dalgliesh

July 4, 1776 - The Second Continental Congress approves the Declaration of Independence

The Fourth of July Story, by Alice Dalgliesh, illustrated by Marie Nonnast


Nathan Hale: Patriot Spy, by Shannon Zemlicka

September 22, 1776 - Nathan Hale, a Connecticut schoolteacher and a captain in the Continental army, is hanged by the British for spying in New York City

Nathan Hale: Patriot Spy, by Shannon Zemlicka, illustrated by Craig Orback


When Washington Crossed the Delaware, by Lynne Cheney

December 25, 1776 – Washington crosses the Delaware River with 5,400 troops and attacks Hessian troops in  Trenton, New Jersey

When Washington Crossed the Delaware, by Lynne Cheney, illustrated by Peter M. Fiore


Valley Forge, by Richard Ammon

December 1777 – June 1778: The American Continental Army, led by George Washington, spends the winter at Valley Forge, enduring cold, sickness, and lack of proper clothing

Valley Forge, by Richard Ammon, illustrated by Bill Farnsworth


John Paul Jones: Hero of the Seas, by Keith Brandt

September 23,  1779 - John Paul Jones captains his old warship Bonhomme Richard against the Serapis, a British warship.  After shouting "I have not yet begun to fight!" he loses his ship but wins the battle.

John Paul Jones: Hero of the Seas, by Keith Brandt, illustrated by Susan Swan


Shh! We're Writing the Constitution, by Jean Fritz

September 17, 1787 - The U.S. Constitution is signed

Shh! We're Writing the Constitution, by Jean Fritz


Big George: How a Shy Boy Became President Washington, by Anne Rockwell

1789:  George Washington is elected President of the United States of America

Big George: How a Shy Boy Became President Washington, by Anne Rockwell, illustrated by Matt Phelan


Young Mozart, by Rachel Isadora

September 30, 1791 – Mozart’s  The Magic Flute premiers in Vienna, Austria

Young Mozart, by Rachel Isadora


Marie Antoinette, Queen of France, by Mary Englar

October 16, 1793 – Marie Antoinette, Queen of France, is beheaded 

Marie Antoinette, Queen of France, by Mary Englar


Eli Whitney, by Catherine A. Welch

1794 - Eli Whitney patents the cotton gin,  a machine that greatly speeded up the process of removing seeds from cotton fiber

Eli Whitney, by Catherine A. Welch


The Revolutionary John Adams, by Cheryl Harness

March 4, 1797 – John Adams becomes President of the United States

The Revolutionary John Adams, by Cheryl Harness


Napoleon: The Story of the Little Corporal, by Robert Burleigh

November 9, 1799 – Napoleon Bonaparte seizes power in France

Napoleon: The Story of the Little Corporal, by Robert Burleigh


Thomas Jefferson: A Picture Book Biography, by James Cross Giblin

1801 – Thomas Jefferson is elected as the third President of the United States

Thomas Jefferson: A Picture Book Biography, by James Cross Giblin


The Story of the Barbary Pirates, by R. Conrad Stein

February 16, 1804 - Stephen Decatur leads an expedition into Tripoli harbor and sets fire to the captured USS Philadelphia to keep the warship from being used by the Barbary Pirates

The Story of the Barbary Pirates, by R. Conrad Stein, illustrated by Tom Dunnington


The Duel, by Dennis Brindell Fradin

July 11, 1804 – Alexander Hamilton is shot by Aaron Burr in a duel and dies the next day

The Duel, by Dennis Brindell Fradin, illustrated by Larry Day


Sacagawea, by Lise Erdrich

April 7, 1805 –  Sacagawea, along with her husband and baby, heads west with Lewis and Clark and the rest of their expedition

Sacagawea, by Lise Erdrich,  illustrated by Julie Buffalohead


Noah Webster: Weaver of Words, by Pegi Deltz Shea

1806  – Noah Webster publishes A Compendious Dictionary of the English Language, the first truly American dictionary

Noah Webster: Weaver of Words, by Pegi Deltz Shea, illustrated by Monica Vachula


Robert Fulton: From Submarine to Steamboat, by Steven Kroll

August 17, 1807 – The Clermont, a steamboat designed by Robert Fulton, makes its first successful voyage up the Hudson River to Albany, New York

Robert Fulton: From Submarine to Steamboat, by Steven Kroll, illustrated by Bill Farnsworth


Dolley Madison Saves George Washington, by Don Brown

August 23, 1814 – Dolley Madison saves a  portrait of George Washington at the White House from being looted by British troops during the War of 1812.

Dolley Madison Saves George Washington, by Don Brown


By the Dawn’s Early Light: The Story of the Star-Spangled Banner, by Steven Kroll

September 13, 1814 – Inspired by the sight of a lone U.S. flag still flying over Fort McHenry after it was bombarded by the British during the War of 1812,  Francis Scott Key pens a poem which later becomes America’s national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

By the Dawn’s Early Light: The Story of the Star-Spangled Banner, by Steven Kroll, illustrated by Dan Andreasen


The Amazing Impossible Erie Canal, by Cheryl Harness

October 26, 1825 – The Erie Canal opens

The Amazing Impossible Erie Canal, by Cheryl Harness


Six Dots: A Story of Young Louis Braille, by Jen Bryant

1829 – Louis Braille publishes his first book explaining the system of reading and writing that we know today as braille

Six Dots: A Story of Young Louis Braille, by Jen Bryant, illustrated by Boris Kulikov


Voices of the Alamo, by Sherry Garland

March 6, 1836 – The Battle of the Alamo -Mexican troops led by Santa Anna kill the Texan defenders of the Alamo following a 13-day siege during the Texas Revolution

Voices of the Alamo, by Sherry Garland, illustrated by Ronald Himler


A Picture Book of Sam Houston, by David A Adler and Michael S. Adler

April 21, 1836: Sam Houston leads the Texas Army to a victory over Santa Anna in the Battle of San Jacinto

A Picture Book of Sam Houston, by David A Adler and Michael S. Adler, illustrated by Matt Collins


Queen Victoria, by Dorothy Turner

 June 20,  1837 - Victoria becomes Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland

Queen Victoria, by Dorothy Turner

Queen Victoria's Bathing Machine, by Gloria Whelan, illustrated by Nancy Carpenter


Life on the Trail of Tears, by Laura Fischer

1838 –  The Trail of Tears –  The Cherokee nation is forced to give up its lands east of the Mississippi River and to migrate to an area in present-day Oklahoma

Life on the Trail of Tears, by Laura Fischer


Quick, Annie, Give Me a Catchy Line!: A Story of Samuel F. B. Morse, by Robert Quackenbush

May 24, 1844 - Samuel F.B. Morse sends the first telegraphic message from Washington, D.C. to Baltimore, Maryland: "What hath God wrought?"

Quick, Annie, Give Me a Catchy LIne!: A Story of Samuel F. B. Morse, by Robert Quackenbush


The Disaster of the Irish Potato Famine: Irish Immigrants Arrive in America (1845-1850), by Sean O’Donoghue

1845-1850 – The Irish Potato Famine

The Disaster of the Irish Potato Famine: Irish Immigrants Arrive in America (1845-1850), by Sean O’Donoghue


Elizabeth Leads the Way: Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the Right to Vote, by Tanya Lee Stone

July 19, 1848 - Elizabeth Cady Stanton gives her first public speech at the Seneca Fall Convention in Seneca Falls, New York, calling for women's rights to equal education, equal treatment under the law, and the right to vote

Elizabeth Leads the Way: Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the Right to Vote, by Tanya Lee Stone, illustrated by Rebecca Gibbon


Gold! Gold from the American River!, by Don Brown

January 24, 1848 - The Gold Rush begins when gold is found by James W. Marshall at Sutter's Mill in Coloma, California

Gold! Gold from the American River!, by Don Brown


Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom, by Carole Boston Weatherford

1849 - Harriet Tubman escapes slavery.   She  becomes the most famous "conductor" on the Undergroud Railroad, returning many times to rescue hundreds from slavery.

Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom, by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Kadir Nelson


My Name is Truth: The Life of Sojouner Truth, by Ann Turner

May 29, 1851 - Sojourner Truth gives her "Ain't I a Woman" speech at the Women's Convention in Akron, Ohio

My Name is Truth: The Life of Sojouner Truth, by Ann Turner, illustrated by James Ransome


Train to Somewhere, by Eve Bunting

1854 to 1929 - Orphan Trains - More than 100,000 children are sent on "orphan trains" from Eastern cities to new homes in rural America

Train to Somewhere, by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Ronald Himler


John Brown, One Man Against Slavery, by Gwen Everett

October 16, 1859 - John Brown's raid on Harpers Ferry - Abolitionist John Brown and a small group of followers attempt to take over a United States arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia with the goal of arming slaves for a revolt

John Brown, One Man Against Slavery, by Gwen Everett, illustrated by Jacob Lawrence


They’re Off!: The Story of the Pony Express, by Cheryl Harness

April 3, 1860 – The Pony Express makes it first run

They’re Off!: The Story of the Pony Express, by Cheryl Harness


Abraham Lincoln, by Ingri d’Aulaire and Edgar Parin d’Aulaire

March 4, 1861 – Abraham Lincoln is inaugurated as the 16th President of the United States

Abraham Lincoln, by Ingri d’Aulaire and Edgar Parin d’Aulaire


Fort Sumter: The Civil War Begins, by Sabrina Crewe and Michael V. Uschan

April 12, 1861 – Confederate troops attack Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina. This marks the beginning  of the Civil War.

Fort Sumter: The Civil War Begins, by Sabrina Crewe and Michael V. Uschan


A Picture Book of Robert E. Lee, by David A. Adler

April 22, 1861 – Robert E. Lee is appointed commander of the army of Virginia

A Picture Book of Robert E. Lee, by David A. Adler, illustrated by John and Alexandra Wallace


Stonewall Jackson, by Don McLeese

July, 1861 – Thomas Jackson, a Confederate general,  earns the nickname “Stonewall” at the First Battle of Bull Run 

Stonewall Jackson, by Don McLeese


The Emancipation Proclamation, by Dennis Brindell Fradin

January 1, 1863 – President Lincoln issues the Emancipation Proclamation.  This eventually leads to the end of slavery in the United States.

The Emancipation Proclamation, by Dennis Brindell Fradin


Voices of Gettysburg, by Sherry Garland

July 1 to  July 3, 1863 - The Battle of Gettysburg

Voices of Gettysburg, by Sherry Garland, illustrated by Judith Hierstein


The Gettysburg Address, by Abraham Lincoln, illustrated by Michael McCurdy

November 19, 1863 – President Abraham Lincoln delivers The Gettysburg Address at the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

The Gettysburg Address, by Abraham Lincoln, illustrated by Michael McCurdy


Louis Pasteur, by Nick Hunter

1864 - Louis Pasteur discovers that heating beer and wine kills most of the bacteria that causes spoilage

Louis Pasteur, by Nick Hunter


The Story of the Surrender at Appomattox Court House, by Zachary Kent

April 9, 1865 – General Robert E. Lee surrenders his troops to General  Ulysses S. Grant, ending the Civil War

The Story of the Surrender at Appomattox Court House, by Zachary Kent


Abraham Lincoln Comes Home, by Robert Burleigh

April 14, 1865 - President Abraham Lincoln is shot and killed by John Wilkes Booth at a play at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C.. On April 21st, his body was boarded onto a train and transported to Springfield, Illinois, where he had lived before becoming president.

Abraham Lincoln Comes Home, by Robert Burleigh, illustrated by Wendel Minor


Gregor Mendel: The Friar Who Grew Peas, by Cheryl Bardoe

1866 – Gregor Mendel, a friar from the Abbey of St. Thomas in what is now the Czech Republic, publishes his discoveries about plant hybridization in a scientific journal.

Gregor Mendel: The Friar Who Grew Peas, by Cheryl Bardoe, illustrated by Jos. A. Smith


The Transcontinental Railroad, by John Perritano

May 10, 1869 - The Transcontinental Railroad is completed

The Transcontinental Railroad, by John Perritano

Ten Mile Day: And the Building of the Transcontinental Railroad, by Mary Ann Fraser


The Great Chicago Fire, by Janet McHugh

1871 – The Great Chicago Fire

The Great Chicago Fire, by Janet McHugh


Listen Up!: Alexander Graham Bell’s Talking Machine, by Monica Kulling

March 7, 1876 – Alexander Graham Bell patents the telephone

Listen Up!: Alexander Graham Bell’s Talking Machine, by Monica Kulling, illustrated by Richard Walz


A Picture Book of Sitting Bull, by David A. Adler

June 25, 1876 – Battle of Little Bighorn (Custer’s Last Stand) – Native American forces led by Chiefs Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull defeat the U.S. Army troops of Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer in battle near Little Bighorn River in southern Montana

A Picture Book of Sitting Bull, by David A. Adler, illustrated by Samuel Byrd


Young Thomas Edison, by Michael Dooling

1879 – Thomas  Edison develops the first practical incandescent lightbulb

Young Thomas Edison, by Michael Dooling


Clara and Davie: The True Story of Young Clara Barton, Founder of the American Red Cross, by Patricia Polacco

May 21, 1881 – Clara Barton founds the American Red Cross

Clara and Davie: The True Story of Young Clara Barton, Founder of the American Red Cross, by Patricia Polacco


Brooklyn Bridge, by Lynn Curlee

May 24, 1883 –  The Brooklyn Bridge, linking Brooklyn with Manhattan, opens to traffic

Brooklyn Bridge, by Lynn Curlee


The Statue of Liberty, by Mary Firestone

October 28, 1886 - The Statue of Liberty, a gift from the people of France, is dedicated by President Grover Cleveland in New York Harbor

The Statue of Liberty, by Mary Firestone, illustrated by Matthew Skeens


Helen's Big World: The Life of Helen Keller, by Doreen Rappaport

March 3, 1887 - Anne Sullivan begins teaching Helen Keller

Helen's Big World: The Life of Helen Keller, by Doreen Rappaport, illustrated by Matt Tavares


Mr. Ferris and His Wheel, by Kathryn Gibbs Davis

June 21, 1893 – The first Ferris wheel, invented by George Washington Gale Ferris Jr.,  opens to the public at the Chicago World’s Fair. 

Mr. Ferris and His Wheel, written by Kathryn Gibbs Davis, illustrated by Gilbert Ford


Alfred Nobel: The Man Behind the Peace Prize, by Kathy Jo Wargin

1895: Alfred Nobel signs last will and testament that gives his fortune for the  establishment of Nobel Prizes.

Alfred Nobel: The Man Behind the Peace Prize, by Kathy Jo Wargin, illustrated by Zachary Pullen


A Man for All Seasons: The Life of George Washington Carver, by Stephen Krensky

1896 – George Washington Carver begins teaching about methods of crop rotation at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama.

A Man for All Seasons: The Life of George Washington Carver, by Stephen Krensky

 

 

 

Chronological list of picture books for early modern history

 

 

 

 

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