My favorite way to teach about history is to read well-written picture books. Usually these books are in story form with beautiful illustrations, and they give a glimpse of what used to be. A snapshot of the moments gone by.
Peter Sis is an author/illustrator that I discovered when we were “traveling” around the world. His illustrations are full of detail and complexity – they add so much to the tales that he is telling. He brings his homeland of Czechoslovakia to life by sharing stories of his childhood. His books are not necessarily happy (after all as a child, he lived through an oppressive time of communism), but they are real.
I do have to be honest and say that I cannot wholeheartedly recommend every title that he has completed as we seem to have different world views. And even though he is writing for children, his titles do need to be previewed as some of his folklore is a bit intense. But even if you cannot quite appreciate some of his stories, you will always be delighted with his illustrations.
Note: the book covers were copied directly from Amazon with links provided, so that you can purchase the books if you so choose. The titles also might be available at your local library.
Here are the two Peter Sis books with a Czechoslovakia theme …
(This book contains three different Czech folktales)
(Based on the true story of how he grew up in Czechoslovakia)
Two other books of his that we enjoyed: The Starry Messenger (about Galileo) and Follow the Dream (about Columbus)