Story of Civilization Book List and Pictures

Have any of you used the new Story of Civilization curriculum from Tan? This year, our family will be delving into Ancient History. In past years, I was quite satisfied with using the popular Story of the World, vol. 1 for teaching Ancient History. This year, because I really like the audio CDs, we’ll be using the Catholic version, Story of Civilization.

Yes, I ordered the whole kit and kaboodle – activity book, test book, teacher’s guide, time line, CD’s, and text book. Everything except for the DVDs. When the books came in the mail, everything looked great… except for one thing: when I looked at the teacher’s guide, there was no book list of recommended reading for each chapter! Picture books and novels are really what makes history come alive. So….

Of course, I had to come up with a list of my own. And here it is for your family to enjoy. Since I’ll be using this curriculum for a 2nd/3rd grader, a 5th grader, and maybe a kindergartener, I included picture books and chapter books.

Book List for Story of Civilization I: Ancient History

Then, because I am a geek,  I made a collection of pictures for my kids to use with their narrations. Afterall, a picture is worth a thousand words. And kids today are so visual. Here are 36 six pages of public domain pictures to correspond with each chapter in the book.

Story of Civilization Vol. 1 Pictures

Just what am I going to do with these pictures? After my kids listen to the CD and answer the questions orally, Feisty (5th grade) will write his own summary and add the picture to it. Sparky (2nd grade) will narrate what he heard. I will write down the narration and he will copy it out. Then he will cut and paste a picture onto his copy. By the end of the year, both boys will have a very nice Ancient history notebook which they can flip through and enjoy. And the pictures will help them remember what they have learned.

Happy reading!

By the way, doing Ancient History with a 6th – 8th grader? Check out these Ancient History lesson plans for middle schoolers .

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28 thoughts on “Story of Civilization Book List and Pictures

  1. You are amazing!!!! Thank you so much Mary!! We are continuing Ancient World, we are on chapter 18. This is soooo helpful to me. THANK YOU!!!!

    Love, Michelle

    On Tuesday, September 12, 2017, Mercy for Marthas wrote:

    > Mary Cooney posted: “Have any of you used the new Story of > Civilization curriculum from Tan? This year, our family will be delving > into Ancient History. In past years, I was quite satisfied with using the > popular Story of the World, vol. 1 for teaching Ancient History. This y” >


  2. Mary, Thank you so much for the book list and the amazing pictures! I’m continuing this program with my kids and now we’ll have great supplements to complete the program. Many blessings on your homeschool this year.


  3. Hi Mary,

    We are just starting The Story of Civilization this year, but using The Medieval World. Just curious, have you put together any resources for this that you’d be willing to share?



    1. Hi Heather! Sue (the other mom on this blog) and I are working on something for The Medieval World for our boys this summer – it will have a book list, pictures, map work geared towards middle schoolers and more. We hope to have it ready by September. You can follow the blog or check back in September to see what we have posted. Have a great summer!


  4. Your site is a treasure. Thank you for all the hard work you put into making all of these resources!!! They are keeping me sane this school season. Blessings!


  5. We are planning to use this text next year, and I was so hoping someone else had made a book list for it!! Thank you, thank you, and I plan to use your image list too!!!


    1. Yay! I’m so glad you find these useful. We will be using this text a second time around next year, which means Sue and I may be adding to the resource. Check back in the fall…


  6. Hello….do you happen to have a book list for Volume 3? I am overwhelmed with the amount of time periods that are covered. Thanks!


    1. Hi Lucy! I don’t have a book list for Vol. 3, and I’m not sure when I’ll get around to making one. We just finished Vol. 2 (and have a list for that), but we are now moving on to American History. “For the Love of Literature” by Maureen Wittmann is an excellent source of historical books by time period. Hope this helps!


  7. Hi, I was wondering if each child needed their own copy of the activity book or is it something that one copy is all you need for a family? Thanks


    1. Hi Ann,
      On the inside of the activity book, it says “No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher, except that brief selections may be quoted or copied for non-profit use without permission.” So, it’s probably ok to photocopy some selections but just for use within the family.

      I think the activity book is really geared for the younger grades.. the map work is really basic and there are lots of coloring pages. So, if you have a younger student using the program along side an older one, you might just use the map work and coloring pages for the younger one, and the cross word puzzles and any other harder activities for the older one. Then have the older student use the Test book, and I highly recommend IEW’s Ancient History Based Writing lessons for any student in 5th grade or higher.

      Hope that helps! –Mary


    2. I found it helpful for each of my littles to have their own coloring page. The word searches and crosswords could be done in teams though.


  8. This is amazing! I recently came across this blog and keep coming back for more! Will you be doing Vol 3 this year?


    1. Thank you! I’m glad you find the blog helpful! We will not be doing Vol. 3 this year.. but maybe in the future!


  9. Hi, do your children read every book on your list? If not, which are the essential ones? Also, in addition to the library, how do you get your books in a budget-friendly way?

    If you have to do it all over again, would you still use Story of the World or would you pick Story of Civilization from the outset? I will homeschool my 2nd and 4th graders, and I’m not sure which to pick.

    Thank you.


    1. Hi Agatha,
      My kids do not read every book on the list. Some of my kids have read a lot more of the books than others… it really depend on the child. Some kids are voracious readers and will read just about anything you put infront of them, especially in the absence of T.V./ screen time. Sometimes the younger kids will just look at the books for the pictures, and that is fine. In more recent years, I have given my kids a list of books to read each summer, and that list will contain many of the historical novels from the upcoming school year. The goal is to give them a real sense of the times and people…. to experience history by living vicariously through the characters in the novels.

      I recommend getting as many of the picture books as you can from the library and just strewing them around the house. For the chapter books, I think the any of the ones published by Bethlehem Books are fantastic, and since your kids are younger, reading them aloud would be the best option.

      Besides the library, I usually get good prices on historical novels at our local homeschool conference… or I buy them used.

      I recommend Story of Civilization for two reasons. First, if you’re Catholic, you’ll want a Catholic perspective on history, especially when it comes to the Middle Ages and beyond. Second, SOW is 42 chapters long… We don’t homeschool for 42 weeks. Back in the day when there was only SOW and no SOC, I had to pick out the chapters we weren’t going to cover, and that broke some of the continuity.

      For your 2nd grader, I recommend just reading the picture books with her and letting her narrate back. Here’s an example:

      Click to access gr-1-2-middle-ages-in-literature.pdf

      Hope this helps!


      1. Hi Agatha
        No, you will definitely need the text book. The Teacher’s guide has some questions for your kids to answer orally, sample narrations for each chapter, instructions for map work, and arts and crafts/enrichment activities.


  10. Hi Mary,

    Any chance you happen to have the timeline pictures for the story of civilization book 2. We just finished the ancient and have your timeline pictures on our wall. My plan is to continue our timeline this coming school year but I’m having trouble finding them for book two.


  11. This is such a wonderful resource! We are doing this curriculum this upcoming school year and I am so excited to bulk out the lessons with picture books to go along. Thank you for offering these resources for free.


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