Claritas Cycle 2 Reading List

This coming school year will be our seventh as a homeschool family!  We’ll be using Claritas Classical Academy’s Cycle 2 memory work as the backbone for most of our studies.  As usual, I’ve put a reading list together to correspond with our history memory work.  Also, I’ve included a list of books to compliment our astronomy and Earth science studies this year (at the bottom).  The titles are mostly from what was already in our personal library, so there is certainly room to add.  I’ve also added a few titles that don’t necessarily compliment history or science, but are book I’d like to read to my children at some point throughout the year.

Generally, I’ve meant these books to be read aloud, so they will work for a wide range of students.  For reference, my children currently range in age from 12 to 5, so there is a lot of wiggle room with these titles.  We read aloud together about 3-4 times a week, and everyone participates regardless of whether we’re reading a picture or chapter book.  I keep quiet activities available (playdoh, legos, coloring, stickers, etc.) for the children who want something extra to do during that time.

Some of the weeks are quite heavy (especially the ones on Chinese history), but I do not intend to read all of the books listed.  I generally choose which titles to read a few weeks prior, so I have time to order the ones that need to be purchased.  This list gives me a great starting point so I’m not searching at the last minute to find corresponding material.

I typically buy all of the books from Amazon, but I try to get used copies and pay as little as possible for them.  As you can imagine, we’ve amassed quite a library over the years!  And the fun part is that we’ll be using many of them over again this year after studying most of these subjects a few years ago.  I firmly believe in having a large variety of books available in my home, and I think of it as an investment.  I know this isn’t for everyone, but it’s something I personally feel strongly about.

All Weeks
Canterbury Tales
Dante’s Divine Comedy: As Told For Young People
Li Po and Tu Fu: Poems Selected and Translated
The Three Musketeers
A Walk in Wolf Wood
The Little Prince
The Shakespeare Stealer
Twenty-One Balloons
Heroes of the Middle Ages

Week 1
The Orchard Book of Roman Myths
Rome Antics
Ancient Rome

Week 2
A Smart Kid’s Guide to British History: Celts
The Celts
Raiders of the North
A Viking Town
Beowulf the Warrior
Favorite Medieval Tales
Celtic Memories

Week 3
The Culture of the Byzantine Empire
Justinian I
Who in the World was the Acrobatic Empress?

Week 4
Indian Tales
The Wisdom of the Crows and Other Buddhist Tales

Week 5
The Usborne Encyclopedia of World Religions
The Wise Fool
The Enchanted Storks: A Tale of Baghdad
Forty Fortunes: A Tale of Iran
The Arabs in the Golden Age

Week 6
Ancient China
Chinese Myths and Fantasies
The Girl Who Became Emperor
Japan (Make it Work!)
Cool Melons Turn to Frogs
The Crane Wife

Week 7
Australia: Rookie-Read-About Geography
1000 Years Ago on the Planet Earth
Dingoes at Dinnertime
Maui and the Sun: A Maori Tale

Week 8
Famous Men of the Middle Ages (chapter on Clovis)
Life and Times of Charlemagne
Favorite Medieval Tales
The Duke and the Peasant: Life in the Middle Ages

Week 9
Spain (Festivals of the World)
The Beautiful Butterfly: A Folktale from Spain

Week 10
Famous Men of the Middle Ages (chapter on Charlemagne)
Getting to Know France and French
Son of Charlemagne
Who Were the Vikings?
Viking Ships at Sunrise
Viking Raiders
Voyages With the Vikings (Imagination Station)
D’Aulaires’ Book of Norse Myths

Week 11
Cathedral: The Story of Its Construction
Good Masters!  Sweet Ladies!  Voices From a Medieval Village
A Medieval Feast
The Making of a Knight
A Year in a Castle
Barefoot Book of Knights
You Wouldn’t Want to be a Samurai
Heart of a Samurai

Week 12
You Wouldn’t Want to be a Crusader
The Squirrel and the Scroll
The Minstrel in the Tower
Knight’s Castle
King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table

Week 13
The Magna Carta: Cornerstone of the Constitution
Robin Hood and the Golden Arrow
The Apple and the Arrow
Heroines: Great Women Through the Ages (chapter on Eleanor of Aquitaine)
Castle Diary: The Journal of Tobias Burgess

Week 14
My First Look at Israel
Raisel’s Riddle
The Barefoot Book of Jewish Tales

Week 15
Who Was Genghis Khan?
Ancient China (Journey Into Civilization)
Ancient China Treasure Chest
The Great Wall of China
The Emperor Who Built the Great Wall of China
Ten Kings and the Worlds They Ruled (chapter on Kublai Khan)
The Legend of MuLan: a Heroine of China
The Hunter
The Paper Dragon
A Single Pebble: A Story of the Silk Road
Stories From the Silk Road
We’re Riding on a Caravan: An Adventure on the Silk Road
The Picture History of Great Explorers
Who Was Marco Polo?

Week 16
Daily Life in Ancient and Modern Moscow
Eyewitness: Russia
The Littlest Matryoshka
Russian Magic Tales From Pushkin to Platonov

Week 17
Daily Life in Ancient and Modern Istanbul
The Ottoman Empire: Cultures of the Past
The Legend of the Persian Carpet

Week 18
Medieval Medicine and the Plague
The Door in the Wall
If You Were a Kid in a Medieval Castle
Who Was Joan of Arc?
Don’t Know Much About the Kings and Queens of England
Great Events That Changed the World (account of Hundred Years War)
Tom Thumb

Week 19
The Picture History of Great Explorers (chapter on Henry the Navigator)
Ten Queens: Portraits of Women of Power (chapter on Isabella of Spain)

Week 20
The Royal Kingdoms of Ghana, Mali, and Songhay
Sundiata: Lion King of Mali
Mansa Musa: Leader of Mali
From Babylon to Timbuktu
African Tales
Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions
Anansi the Spider: A Tale From the Ashanti

Week 21
Abkar and Birbal
The Foolish Men of Agra
Indian Tales

Week 22
The Picture History of Great Explorers (chapters on Magellan, Vespucci, and Columbus)
Who Was Ferdinand Magellan?
Pedro’s Journal
Follow the Dream
The Discovery of the Americas
Who Really Discovered America?
Who In the World Was the Forgotten Explorer?
Brendan the Navigator: A History Mystery About the Discovery of America
To the Edge of the World

Week 23
Awesome Ancient Ancestors
Mayas, Incas, and Aztecs
The Ancient Maya
The Chocolate Tree: A Mayan Folktale
Inca Town
Machu Picchu: The Story of the Amazing Incas and Their City in the Clouds
Musicians of the Sun
The Aztec Empire

Week 24
The Picture History of Great Explorers (chapter on Hernando Cortes)
Hernando Cortes
Hernando Cortes, Conqueror of Mexico
Fun Learning Facts About Conquistadors

Week 25
Martin Luther: A Man Who Changed the World
Who In the World Was the Secret Printer?
Courage and Conviction
Medieval Cathedral
Medieval Monastery
Saint Francis
Saint Thomas Aquinas: The Story of the Dumb Ox
Monks and Mystics
The Reformation

Week 26
King Henry VIII
Doomed Queen Anne
The Renaissance
I, Galileo
Leonardo and the Flying Boy
Bard of Avon
Macbeth for Kids
Hamlet for Kids
Kids During the Renaissance
Galileo, Michelangelo, and Da Vinci
Crazy Inventions Made During the Renaissance
Ptolemy vs. Copernicus (from Jim Weiss’ Galileo and the Stargazers)
Copernicus: Founder of Modern Astronomy

Week 27
Who Was Queen Elizabeth?
The Wild Queen: The Days and Nights of Mary, Queen of Scots
John Cabot
The Picture History of Great Explorers (chapters on John Cabot, Jacques Cartier, and Sir Walter Raleigh)
Maps and Mapping
Sir Walter Raleigh: Famous Explorers
Cartier in Search of the Northwest Passage
The Kids Book of Canadian History
M is for Maple

Week 28
See Inside a Galleon
Sir Francis Drake: Famous Explorers
The Queen’s Progress


Big Book of Earth and Sky
Usborne Book of Astronomy and Space
Living in Space
The Solar System
Glow In The Dark Constellations
A Child’s Introduction to the Night Sky
God Made Outer Space
Planet Earth
Meet the Planets
The Sun
Midnight on the Moon
Mission to Mars
The Moon Book
What Makes Day and Night
An Illustrated Timeline of Space Exploration
Space Exploration
The International Space Station
The Cloud Book
Magic School Bus on the Ocean Floor
Ocean Tides and Tsunamis
What Is a Biome?
What Are Earth’s Biomes?
What’s For Dinner?
Secrets of the Garden
Food Chain Frenzy
Hey Diddle, Diddle: A Food Chain Tale
The Magic School Bus Gets Eaten
The Magic School Bus Blows Its Top
Rocks and Minerals
Rocks and Soil
Geology for Kids: A Biblical Approach to Earth Science and Earth History
Planet Earth Inside Out
Under Water, Under Earth
Jaw-Dropping Geography: Fun Learning Facts About Tetchy Tectonic Plates
The Magic School Bus Inside the Earth
The Magic School Bus Gets Wet All Over
Did a Dinosaur Drink That Water?
One Well: The Story of Water on Earth
The Nitrogen Cycle
The Carbon Cycle
Carbon, Oxygen, and Nitrogen Cycles
Maps and Globes

  • July 26, 2017 - 10:56 am

    Lindsey Murphy - Wow! This list is FANTASTIC and so incredibly helpful! Thank you for putting it together! We followed The Well Trained Mind last year, but felt lacking in the memory work area. I found Claritas Publishing and bought Cycle 2 materials. They had your blog linked, and I’m so glad I came to check it out. I’ll be coming back to your site regularly this school year to see how others are using the Claritas materials. Thank you again!ReplyCancel

    • July 26, 2017 - 11:42 am

      Nicole Renée - Hi Lindsey! I’m so glad this list will be helpful to you! We’ve really enjoyed Claritas so far. This coming school year will be our third using the memory work!ReplyCancel

  • July 26, 2017 - 11:11 am

    Lindsey Murphy - One more question: In The Well-Trained Mind, Bauer suggests Dante for literature/history in year 2(cycle 2?). What week would you put Dante’s works into the mix? Thanks again!ReplyCancel

    • July 26, 2017 - 11:49 am

      Nicole Renée - Thank you for asking this question, Lindsey! Because of you, I’m going to add a simpler translation of The Divine Comedy into our reading list 🙂 I’d think it would incorporate well into the weeks that are focused on the Middle Ages, perhaps weeks 8-13, or simply sprinkled throughout the whole school year, given the general Middle Ages studies.ReplyCancel

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