This year we’ve been studying World Cultures and History in our homeschool. I wrote the curriculum, which is mostly a ton of library books, a bunch of hands on activities, and thoughtful open ended discussions.
I have checked out nearly 900 library books since September, so I have been able to read and narrow down my favorite books from each country and culture. We had a lot of fun studying Italy. We went to our favorite Italian restaurant, we built the Trevi Fountain out of LEGOs, and we did several art projects and listened to classical composers. These were the top 10 picture books we read about Italy.
1. Madeline and the Cats of Rome
Written by the grandson of the original author of the Madeline series, Madeline and the Cats of Rome follows the charming little French girl and the other 11 girls in her home plus Miss Clavel as they take a spring trip to Rome.
2. Pizza for the Queen
This is a really cute picture book based on a true story, about the origins of the Margherita pizza: when a pizza maker wanted to impress the Queen of Italy. This was a fun read and made us hungry!
3. There’s a Dolphin in the Grand Canal
This book takes place in Venice, and follows the young Venetian boy Luca as he tries to convince his family and friends that the dolphin he claims to see in the Grand Canal is not just a imaginary story.
4. Gabriella’s Song
Gabriella hears a beautiful melody in everything, including her everyday tasks, and it inspires a classical composer to write a new masterpiece when he hears the rhythm.
5. Vivaldi and the Invisible Orchestra
Cute historical fiction about a young orphan girl who transcribes Antonio Vivaldi’s music into sheet music, and how she inspires him. Based on true characters.
6. Strega Nona’s Gift
Fun and whimsical series about Strega Nona, the Italian grandmother who has magical powers.
7. The Famous Nini: A Mostly True Story of How a Plain White Cat Became a Star
A fun little book about a stray cat that becomes a celebrity.
8. Blockhead-The Life of Fibonacci
Probably one of the best books we have read this entire year. Informative, interesting, entertaining, and engaging. My 8 year old was inspired to write the Fibonacci sequence out as high as she could. The story of the mathematician who found number patterns in nature.
9. Italy ABCs
An ABC book that explains Italian words and famous locations.
10. You Wouldn’t Want to Live in Pompeii
We have LOVED the You Wouldn’t Want To… Series. It is written almost in comic book style and gives a lot of information while still being a lot of fun. The series includes other events, such as The Great Wall of China, the Hindenburg, and the Travels of Marco Polo.