Prehistory in fiction 

This is not a normal blog post. In fact it’s not a blog post at all but is instead a request. I am working on a large project gathering fiction and poetry titles for young people set in specific historical periods. As you can imagine I already have a long list, but I can’t do it all without the wonderful input of the hive mind – that’s where you come in. 

This is the first of ten posts designed to gather your input in the comments field. This thread is for children’s and YA fiction and poetry set in prehistory. Please add your favourite titles below (and feel free to chat with each other) I won’t be able to reply to everyone, but massive thanks in advance for all your help.

Remember – children’s and YA fiction and poetry set in prehistory (from any country) but as historical as it can possibly be. 


20 thoughts on “Prehistory in fiction 

  1. oh, and my sons (now teenagers) have remembered

    Stoneage, Bone age by Mick Manning —much loved by them, along with Littlenose.

    Cave Baby by Julia Donaldson

    Warrior Scarlet

    Asterix !!!!

  2. Chronicles of Ancient Darkness by Michelle Paver.

    Littlenose by John Grant

  3. adathecadre says:

    Just remembered that the first “Chapter book” I ever read was set in the Paeliolithic. I should think it is very dated now- “The Cave Twins” by Lucy Fitch Perkins. I was also very fond of the two prehistoric stories in Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories, The First Letter and How the Alphabet was Made. I think my mother read them aloud to me. I am not suggesting those are necessarily useful for today’s young people but are interesting if you want to know how the prehistoric period was treated in early 20th century children’s literature. The relationship between Taffy and her father Tegumai has a particular poignancy because they were written for his “Best Beloved” his daughter, Josephine, who died of pneumonia at the age of six.

  4. Susan Green says:

    Ug by Raymond Briggs. A graphic novel set in the Stone Age

  5. Penny Swan says:

    ‘The Inheritors’ by William Golding. About Neaderthals meeting Homo Sapiens ‘The New People’. I remember it as gripping. There’s an interesting article about it, by his daughter

  6. Caroline Roche says:

    Clan of the Cave Bear series by Jean Auel is suitable for older readers and is written by a French archaeologist

  7. adathecadre says:

    The Distant Lurs, Harry Behn 1963
    Warrior Scarlet, Rosemary Sutcliffe,
    Does Stig of the Dump count?
    Jean M Auel Clan of the Cave Bear, the Valley of the Horses, the Mammoth Hunters, Plains of Passage, Shelters of rock may contain too much (slightly improbable ) sex to be for young people but lots of lovely detail about basket weaving, soap making, butchering aurochs and references to actual remains from Les Eyzies to Russia. Also relationships between Neanderthal & Cro Magnon peoples.
    And a poem Tollund Man Seamus Heaney, it is about the excavation of a prehistoric person rather than pre historic life.

  8. janevsw says:

    I wondered about The Stronghold too but technically it’s just inside history – maybe 1st century BC – as the slave traders are Romans.

  9. Kate says:

    Naomi Mitchison ‘Early in Orcadia’, and Kathleen Fidler ‘The Boy With the Bronze Axe’

  10. janevsw says:

    Rosemary Sutcliff, Warrior scarlet.
    Henry Treece, The dream time (both illustrated by Charles Keeping)
    Rosemary Sutcliff, The chieftain’s (or chief’s?) daughter, set at Skara Brae iirc.

  11. Alex says:

    “The Kin” by Peter Dickinson comes to mind – young adult, set in Africa in prehistory. “The Kin” is the omnibus edition that contains four books from different perspectives: Suth’s Story, Noli’s Story, Po’s Story, and Mana’s Story.

    • Dawn Finch says:

      Fab. I had The Kin but will add the extra detail that I hadn’t considered.

    • Penny Swan says:

      i had ‘the Kin’ in my school Library, and it never budged – personally, I really like it…

      • Alex says:

        I really liked it too! What level of education is your school? The omnibus edition might be intimidating for younger kids – it’s a whole lot of pages. I wonder if it would have moved better as four individual books. I think I first read it when I was around 16 and it took a long time to get through.

  12. Zoe says:

    OOOH. Can’t wait to see what others suggest. Here’s my starter list
    The Stronghold by Mollie Hunter
    The Boy with the Bronze Axe by Kathleen Fidler
    The First Drawing by Mordicai Gerstein
    Maroo of the Winter caves by Ann Turnball
    Michelle Paver’s two series – Chronicles of Ancient darkness and Gods and Warrior
    and I’ll have to go and look on my shelves for the one I enjoyed about homo sapiens and neanderthal people mixing… back in a minute.

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