Forever Changed: La Florida, 1513–1821
A Bibliography For Young Readers

Europe and the Age of Discovery

(In [Donnus Nicolaus Germanus] Cosmographia, Claudius Ptolemaeus, Ulm, 1482; courtesy of the Rare Book Division of the Library of Congress)

This selection of books reviews the cultural contexts and global perspectives that gave rise to the Age of Discovery, 1450–1650, and the waterborne migrations that changed the course of history.

  1. Aronson, Marc, and John W. Glenn. The World Made New: Why the Age of Exploration Happened and How It Changed the World. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Children's Books, 2007.

    • Print; 64 pages; nonfiction; ages 9 and up
    • Awards, Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People

    This is a beautifully illustrated account of the Age of Exploration. The book contains timelines, maps, and artwork that help to detail the motivations for and consequences of the exploration and settlement of the Americas.

  2. Foster, Genevieve. The World of Columbus and Sons. New York: Scribner, 1965.

    • Print; 406 pages; nonfiction; ages 11 and up

    This large volume is divided into short, readable chapters. It explores the life and times of Christopher Columbus and his sons from 1451 to 1539 and uses other individuals and events to place the discovery of the New World into the greater context of world history.

  3. Fritz, Jean, Katherine Paterson, and Pat McKissack. The World in 1492. New York: H. Holt, 1992.

    • Print; 168 pages; nonfiction; ages 12 and up
    • Currently out of print but owned by many Florida libraries

    This book presents an overview of the world in 1492, including Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, Oceania, and the Americas in their own illustrated chapters. It does an excellent job of placing Europe within the context of world history.

  4. Konstam, Angus. Historical Atlas of Exploration: 1492–1600. New York: Checkmark Books, 2000.

    • Print; 191 pages; nonfiction; ages 9 and up
    • Currently out of print but owned by many Florida libraries

    This illustrated book includes reproductions of historical maps, timeline, glossary, and suggestions for further reading. It provides a brief overview of Florida's most well-known explorers such as Juan Ponce de León, Pánfilo de Narváez, Hernando de Soto, and Alvár Núñez Cabeza de Vaca.

  5. Matthews, Rupert, and James Stevenson. Explorer. New York: Knopf, 1991.

    • Print; 64 pages; nonfiction; ages 10 and up
    • Currently out of print but owned by many Florida libraries

    This general book about exploration is packed with illustrations of explorers through time. The two-page sections contain maps detailing where explorers traveled, photos of artifacts relating to the expeditions, and the types of ships and navigational tools used. This is a great book for children and visual learners.

  6. Ventura, Piero. 1492: The Year of the New World. New York: Putnam, 1992.

    • Print; 93 pages; fiction; ages 8 to 12
    • Currently out of print but owned by many Florida libraries
    • Available in Spanish through interstate ILL only

    This book does an excellent job of placing Columbus's 1492 voyage in historical context. Written in the present tense, it uses imaginary characters to explore what was going on in Europe and the Ottoman Empire. The reader is introduced to New World characters, including the Taínos of the Caribbean; the Mayans, Incans, Aztecs of Mexico; and other native tribes in North America. The book is beautifully illustrated by the author's artwork.

Christopher Columbus

On his 1492 voyage seeking a new trade route to the Far East, Christopher Columbus came upon islands and people that were unknown to Europeans. He claimed these lands for Spain. His journey opened the door to exchanges of people, ideas, plants, animals, and diseases between the Americas, Europe, and Africa that changed the world forever.

  1. Bauer, Marion D. Christopher Columbus. New York: Scholastic, 2010.

    • Print; 32 pages; nonfiction; ages 3 to 7

    Simple text and bold illustrations combine to make this book a great introductory nonfiction biography. It is ideal for beginning readers or reading aloud. The story is a brief account of Columbus's discovery of the Americas, with a central message of perseverance.

  2. Fritz, Jean. Where Do You Think You're Going, Christopher Columbus? New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1980.

    • Print; 80 pages; nonfiction; ages 7 to 12
    • Also available in large print and audiobook format

    This illustrated book is a biography of Christopher Columbus and is written in an engaging and personal style that young readers will enjoy.

  3. The Great Adventure of Christopher Columbus: A Pop-Up Book. New York: Putnam & Grosset Group, 1992.

    • Print; 12 pages; nonfiction; ages 4 to 10
    • Currently out of print but owned by many Florida libraries

    Author Jean Fritz provides an easy-to-read history of Columbus's discovery of the New World, although she omits some of the darker episodes, such as the exploitation of native peoples. The book is beautifully illustrated by artist Tomie DePaola. Because of its delicate pop-up construction, it is best suited for reading to a class, rather than circulating it.

  4. (From Regimiento de navegación, Pedro de Medina, Seville, 1563)

    MacDonald, Fiona. You Wouldn't Want to Sail with Christopher Columbus!: Uncharted Waters You'd Rather Not Cross. New York: Franklin Watts, 2004.

    • Print; 32 pages; fiction; ages 7 and up
    • Currently out of print but owned by many Florida libraries

    This well-illustrated book puts the reader in the role of a ten-year-old boy setting out to sea on Columbus's first voyage. It is full of humor about the trials of an early ocean voyage, but still educational and engaging. Each section begins with a question and encourages active reading. It also contains a glossary and index.

  5. Pelta, Kathy. Discovering Christopher Columbus: How History Is Invented. Minneapolis: Lerner Publications, 1991.

    • Print; 112 pages; nonfiction; ages 12 and up

    The strength of this book lies not in its summary of Columbus's life and four voyages, but in the author's review of Columbus's legacy as reflected in the historical record. By describing how historians, authors, and others have used primary and secondary sources to interpret, explain, or question all aspects of the explorer's life, the author provides an excellent model of how history is reconstructed.

  6. Reid, Struan. Christopher Columbus. Chicago: Heinemann Library, 2002.

    • Print; 48 pages; nonfiction; ages 8 to 12

    This book places the life of Christopher Columbus in a historical and technological framework. Well illustrated, this volume includes many insets with information about the different cultures and important people of the time. A glossary, timeline, maps of Columbus's expeditions, and suggestions for further reading are included.

  7. Roop, Peter. I, Columbus: My Journal, 1492–3. Edited by Connie Roop. New York: Walker & Company, 1990.

    • Print; 57 pages; nonfiction; ages 10 and up
    • Currently out of print but owned by many Florida libraries

    Based on Columbus's journal from his first voyage, this children's version is very accessible. The firsthand account offers insight into Columbus's personality and motivation, the hardships of the voyage, and the discovery of new peoples, plants, and animals. Peter Hanson's colored, cross-hatch drawings were created specifically to go with the journal.

  8. Stein, R. Conrad. Christopher Columbus. Chicago: Childrens Press, 1992.

    • Print; 30 pages; nonfiction; ages 8 to 12
    • Currently out of print but owned by many Florida libraries

    This book offers a well-balanced account of Christopher Columbus's voyages to the New World. It is illustrated with works of art inspired by the explorer's discoveries, including a 1493 woodcut that is the earliest depiction of Columbus's landing in America. Quotes from his journals are woven throughout the text.

  9. Stilton, Geronimo. The Discovery of America. New York: Papercutz, 2009.

    • Print; 55 pages; fiction; ages 4 to 9
    • This is a graphic (i.e., illustrated) novel
    • Also available in Italian

    This brightly colored graphic novel about Christopher Columbus has anthropomorphic characters including mice, cats, and foxes. Several rascally cat pirates take a time machine back to Columbus's voyage, and the main character mouse, Geronimo Stilton, and his friends must follow them to make sure they do not change the timeline of history. The novel, which is very attractive to small children, is full of cartoon humor and lots of cheese references.

  10. Strong, Stacie. The Voyage of Columbus in His Own Words. Chicago: Sears, Roebuck, and Company, 1991.

    • Print; 14 pages; nonfiction; ages 6 to 10
    • Currently out of print but owned by many Florida libraries

    This colorful book is filled with large pop-up pictures that have interactive parts. The text gives a history of Columbus's first voyage and includes entries from the explorer's own journal.

  11. (Print of an engraving by J.-A.-J. DeBry of Christopher Columbus Courtesy of the Florida Memory Project)

    Wade, Mary D. Christopher Columbus: Famous Explorer. Mankato, Minn.: Capstone Press, 2007.

    • Print; 32 pages; fiction; ages 8 to 12
    • This is a graphic novel.

    This is a well-illustrated book written in the graphic style, which draws even the most reluctant reader into the story. Beginning with Columbus's early life in Genoa, the novel reviews his four New World voyages and discusses his influence on other explorers. The book includes an index, glossary, and suggestions for further reading.

  12. West, David, Jackie Gaff, and Ross Watten. Christopher Columbus: The Life of a Master Navigator and Explorer. New York: Rosen Central, 2005.

    • Print; 48 pages; fiction; ages 8 to 14
    • This is a graphic novel.

    The dark and dramatic illustrations in this action-packed graphic novel about the life and adventures of Christopher Columbus will draw in even reluctant readers. The story highlights Columbus's struggles for King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella's support and his interaction with Native Americans. The book includes an index, glossary, further reading, and Internet sites.