As we plan a future trip to Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia, I have been collecting books and information on Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown to help make the trip more interesting for my kids, myself and my husband. We have really enjoyed the large number of books for kids about Williamsburg and the historic area.
Following are our top choices of the books we read about Williamsburg and the nearby areas. These top choices are those that I found ideal for my younger two children, age 10 and 7 years, with color illustrations, and those that we could sit and read together, or that my 10 year old could read independently. Additional books for older children and adults are included in another section below.
Felicity Boxed Set (American Girl)
Felicity is a spunky girl living in Colonial Williamsburg and struggling with all the expectations of a proper young lady of the time period. This six book series is a great way to learn about the colonial period in American history. Each book also includes a “Peek into the Past” section at the end with more historical information and color illustrations about the time period.
Felicity – An American Girl Adventure DVD (with Felicity’s Tour of Williamsburg)
Based on the Felicity American Girl books, this movie covers several of the books in the series and stars Shailene Woodley (from the movie Divergent) starring as Felicity. In addition, the extras include Felicity’s Tour of Williamsburg which is a fun, ten minute introduction to Colonial Williamsburg.
The Colonial Caper Mystery at Williamsburg
Grant and Christina visit Colonial Williamsburg with their grandparents and just as happens in all their travels, they are quickly involved in solving a mystery as they explore the historic town and many of its historic locations. This book includes several extras: Match the sign with the Shop game (p.43), Built-In Book Club – Talk About It and Bring It To Life! (discussion questions & activities p.128), Glossary, Williamsburg Trivia (p.134), Williamsburg Scavenger Hunt (p.136), and Pop Quiz. (The book mentions a printable sign matching game at CaroleMarshMysteries.com but I was unable to find it at that site. Please let me know in the comments if you find it online.)
The Mystery at Jamestown
Yet another mystery for Grant and Christina to solve! Helping solve the mystery of the missing “skeletal remains” is an adventure that includes visits to Jamestown, Williamsburg and Yorktown.
Mary Geddy’s Day: A Colonial Girl in Williamsburg
A story told through color photographs of a girl in colonial Williamsburg just before the American Revolution.
A Horse’s Tale: A Colonial Williamsburg Adventure
Lovely watercolors of familiar Williamsburg buildings and scenes illustrate this story told in rhyme about a runaway horse and all the friends who try to make him happy. Includes a listing of the Colonial locations and a glossary of colonial terms used in the story.
A Colonial Town: Williamsburg (Historic Communities)
A thorough overview of Colonial Williamsburg filled with full color photographs and some colored drawings of the historic town. Includes a brief introduction to Jamestown, color map of the historic area, pages on the most significant public buildings (Governor’s Palace Bruton Parish Church, College of William and Mary, the Gaol, Capitol, Magazine), shops and the meaning of their signs, and the windmill and how it works. (32 pages)
Hogsheads to Blockheads: The Kids Guide to Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area
This book is published by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and has a lot of background information and history about the various sites in Williamsburg. While it has single color illustrations at least every other page, there is a lot of text, so it is best for older readers comfortable with chapter books, or to be read with a parent.
A Picture Book of Patrick Henry
This series of biographies by David Adler have great color illustrations and a really good balance of information about the person’s personal and public life. Patrick Henry is an important person to learn about before visiting Colonial Williamsburg because he was the first governor of Virginia in the Capitol in Williamsburg. He was also a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses earlier in his life, which met in Williamsburg. In addition Henry is an interesting person because he failed at several professions (store clerk and owner, and farmer) before becoming a very successful lawyer and statesman. He is best known for saying, “Give me liberty or give me death”.
A Picture Book of Thomas Jefferson
This is another good biography of an important Colonial Williamsburg person. Jefferson attended the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, he served in the Virginia House of Burgesses and two terms as Virginia governor, both in Williamsburg.
A Picture Book of George Washington
As with the other biographies by David Adler, this is an easy to read introduction to the life of the first American president with great, colorful illustrations. George Washington was a native of Virginia and frequently visited Williamsburg since it was the colonial capitol of Virginia, so he is often mentioned in tours of the Williamsburg sites.
Web Resources for Families
Colonial Williamsburg Kids Zone
Online games and activities related to visiting Colonial Williamsburg
25 Reasons to Bring Your Kids to Williamsburg
Lots of great tips for family visits to Williamsburg.
Tips for Visiting Colonial Williamsburg with Kids
Another good blog post with tips for family trips to Williamsburg.
There are many books about Colonial Williamsburg. These are some others that you may enjoy.
If You Lived In Williamsburg in Colonial Days
The cover gives the impression of a picture book, but while it includes color illustrations on about every other page, there is a large amount of text on each page which might be overwhelming to younger readers. Lots of interesting information about Colonial Williamsburg though. See the table of contents listing in the product photos on Amazon.
The Hauntings of Williamsburg, Yorktown, and Jamestown
I was hoping this book would interest my 13 year old daughter in reading about Williamsburg (she studied colonial America in fifth grade and stubbornly refused to read anything more as it was too much like homework). After reading three of the short stories, she felt they included too much history. However I really enjoyed the history and ghost stories, and found them a great combination of information and entertainment.
Williamsburg Before and After: The Rebirth of Virginia’s Colonial Capital
Very interesting, filled with drawings and paintings, and photos from Williamsburg’s past and present. Details on the restoration of the buildings in Colonial Williamsburg. Especially interesting about the Capitol and Governor’s Palace which were reconstructed, and how Rockefeller and others organized the restoration of Williamsburg. Note that at 198 pages, each with much text, this is not a children’s book.
D is for Drums: A Colonial Williamsburg ABC
Pretty illustrations that “reflect the unique details that form this window into the past” that is Williamsburg. I especially liked the illustrated map of the streets of Williamsburg inside the front cover and the illustrations of the many familiar buildings of Williamsburgs’ historic area. Includes a glossary of the many terms used for each letter from Colonial days.
Archaeology for Young Explorers: Uncovering History at Colonial Williamsburg
This book seems to be more of an overview of archaeology for kids with brief examples from Williamsburg. Some color photos, but basically a chapter book format, so recommended for older readers.
The Gardens of Colonial Williamsburg
Filled with beautiful full-color photos of the gardens of Colonial Williamsburg.
Revolutionary City (Chester Comix Choice Comix)
I haven’t read this yet, but a graphic novel about Williamsburg’s role in the American Revolution sounds intriguing and it has a good review.
1776: A New Look at Revolutionary Williamsburg
A National Geographic photo book like the Jamestown version below.
1607: A New Look at Jamestown
This National Geographic book has great, full color photographs of Jamestown and a lot of information. Because of the amount of information, it’s recommended for grades 4-7 and up.
You Wouldn’t Want to Be an American Colonist!
Limited information about Jamestown, but a lot of info about the first colonies in America, including the settlement of Jamestown in the entertaining format of this popular series. Includes some of the laws of Jamestown and a recipe for the colonial dish, Pottage, in the back.