If you’re looking for a book for younger ages, I would recommend Medieval Castles edited by Catherine Bradley and illustrated by Rob Shone. This book is a good intro into the topic of castles for elementary ages and up. It introduces readers to specific terminology of castle architecture such as keep, bailey, dais, portcullis, just to new a few. It also has some really nice cross section diagrams of what the inside of a keep or gatehouse or tower looked like. The book is broken down into several chapters, most of them only a couple pages long with illustrations. Topics covered include:
- castle defenses
- inside the keep
- growing up in a castle
- building the famous castle of Chateau Gaillard
- castle sieges
I was impressed with the amount of information Medieval Castles included given the length and audience of this book. It has some higher level vocabulary and even obscure details such as why castle towers were constructed to spiral up and to the right instead of the other direction. It gave defenders the advantage fighting against attackers coming up the stairwell, since most everyone was right-handed. I appreciate small packets of detail like that, especially from this book.
What’s challenging about this book is actually finding a copy of it. You may have to go to your local library to pick it up. I did a search on Amazon and Google for it, but hard a hard time tracking it down through an internet search. If you search for “medieval castles Catherine Bradley Rob Shone,” on Amazon, you’ll likely see a bunch of legos and on Google you will likely see links to local libraries.
If you do happen to stumble upon it at a local library and have children interested in the medieval period, I would recommend checking it out. The book is only around 30 pages long but informative. It was published in 1989.
I couldn’t even find an image of this book, so I had to take this one with my phone.