12 Books on Family History for Kids

Family history for kids gift guide

Family History for Kids
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Welcome back to Tenacious Genealogy! Today I have another gift guide to show you. This time it is geared toward younger family historians. In particular, kids in elementary, middle, and high school.

When I was initially working on this gift guide, I initially wanted to do it in 3 separate posts. Genealogy and family history books geared toward elementary school-aged kids, books geared toward middle school-aged kids, and then another geared toward high school-aged kids. Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of family history or genealogy themed books geared toward the 18 and younger crowd. Those that are for kids are usually geared for middle school-aged kids. This is something I’d love to remedy one day.

In the meantime, I’ve rounded up a dozen books that would be great gifts for the kid(s) in your family who are curious to know more about those who came before them.

12 Books on Family History for Kids

Memoir Your Way – While this book is marketed toward adults, it would make a great gift for any teenager you know who has shown a passion for writing, creating and/or family history. It gives readers a variety of ways to create their own memoirs or family histories, even if they aren’t ‘writers’ per se. If someone loves being in the kitchen, there are ideas for family cookbooks. Someone who loves to sew or do other handiwork, there are ideas for making family quilts. Young artists can read up on how to create graphic novels of their family history (which I would do in a heartbeat if I could draw worth anything…)

Age Recommendation: 14-18 years

Me and My Family Tree  – A great introductory book to families and family trees for young children. Geared toward preschool and elementary school-aged kids, this book looks at families and how everyone is related – through the eyes of a young girl. Younger children will probably need an adult to read it with them, but older kids (1st grade and older) will likely enjoy reading this on their own.

Age Recommendation: 5-8 years

Basic Genealogy For Kids – As one of four books in a series called ‘A Kids’ Guide to Genealogy’, this is an introductory book to doing actual genealogy research and creating family history for kids. It is perfect for the middle schooler who may have heard unusual family stories at home or from friends and wants to figure out if they are really true.

Age Recommendation: 9-12 years

Climbing Your Family Tree – An older book (published in 2001), but still a relevant way to help middle school-aged kids develop their skills and interest in genealogy and family history. Each chapter has summaries of the information detailed and ‘To-Do Lists’ that kids can use in researching their own family histories.

Age Recommendation: 10-13 years

The Kids’ Family Tree Book – A great book for kids in the later elementary school grades (3-6th grade). While still more colorful and focused on family stories, it is a step up from book like ‘Me and My Family Tree’ and ‘Fancy Nancy Family History Book’. It goes a little bit into doing actual research, but not beyond that of what an elementary school kid could do.

Age Recommendation: 7-11 years

My Family Tree and Me – Another great book along the lines of ‘Me and My Family Tree’, this time from a young boy’s perspective. Colorful and lively, this book details the main character’s family back to his great-great grandparents. It is great for preschoolers and elementary school kids alike.
Age recommendation: 4-7 years

The Kids’ Family Tree Book – Another family history and genealogy book geared toward older elementary school and younger middle school-aged kids, this is a more recent book that delves into family history research like ‘Climbing Your Family Tree’ and would be a great companion book to it. It suggests research ideas and creative projects for the up and coming family historian in the family.
Age recommendation: 8-12 years

Who Do You Think You Are? Be a Family Tree Detective – Does your kid love watching genealogy TV shows? (Genealogy Roadshow, Who Do You Think You Are?, Finding Your Roots, Family Tree?) Then they will love this companion book to the BBC version of Who Do You Think You Are? Geared toward older elementary school kids and preteens, it lists out basic information like how to start research, how to decipher old photographs and censuses, as well as what questions to ask.

Age Recommendation: 9-13 years

Roots for Kids – An introduction to genealogy for older elementary school and middle school-aged kids. Originally published in 1989 (hence the cover art), it has been updated a couple times in recent years to add information about online research. But the book is based on a 12-week course that the author designed for her 4th-grade class to introduce them to genealogy and family history. This would be a great book for a family wanting a more structured genealogy education for their kid(s) or for homeschoolers wanting to add a genealogy element to their history/social studies aspect.

Age recommendation: 8-12 years

Fancy Nancy: My Family History – For kids who are fans of the Fancy Nancy book series, this book is the story of Fancy Nancy having to write a report on one of her ancestors. However, she has to learn to stick to the truth and not embellish her ancestor’s story. Geared for kids just learning how to read, this is a fun book for little kids wanting to learn about their families.

Age Recommendation: 4-8 years

The Keeping Quilt – One of my favorite books from Patricia Polacco. This is the story of a homemade quilt that travels through six generations of a family, making its impact on each and every generation. A wonderful book for kids of any age and a great way to start the conversation about family history with the youngest members of the family.

Age Recommendation: 4-8 years

Felicity: An American Girl – Not exactly a ‘family history’ or ‘genealogy’ book per se, but the American Girl books were what got me hooked on history and then on family history. You could say these were the gateway drug that led me to become a genealogist. 🙂 I grew up reading about Felicity (and the foods she would have eaten), Kirsten, Addy, Kaya, Samantha, Molly, Josefina, and Kit. As I got older, I was introduced to the stories of Rebecca, Julie, Caroline, Cecile and Marie Grace. Reading these books lead me to have a deeper understanding of my own ancestors who lived during these times.

Age Recommendation: 8-12 years

Questions? Comments?

Questions or comments about these books? Or on Family History for kids in general? Have any favorite genealogy or family history related books for kids? Let me know down below! And if you like what you’ve been seeing here on Tenacious Genealogy – please subscribe to our email list. Not only will you stay up to date with the latest blog posts, but you’ll also get access to freebies such as ’10 Tips for Starting Your Genealogy’ and other fun ‘subscriber only’ items!

One thought on “12 Books on Family History for Kids

  1. Vanessa Cole says:

    This is a great list! And I totally agree, the American Girls books are great! We read them all as read alouds when my boys (yes, boys) were young. There were just enough boys in the stories that it was fine with my 3. They too, loved learning about different time periods, holiday celebrations, school, etc. through these books. Another series that they enjoyed me reading to them was the Little House books.

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