Many of us have heard of the fearsome Mongols, but few of us realize just how impactful their vast empire was on the world. Our latest issue, Issue 21 | Across the Steppes, explores Mongolia’s rich history and breath-taking landscape. During our research, we found many helpful resources covering the country's well-known and lesser-known history. We’re sharing some of these below to encourage our readers to keep learning.
Researchers and Aspiring Academics
Want to dive into the details? Here are our top picks as you begin your research journey.
The Secret History of the Mongols, translated by Christopher P. Atwood: This work is a must-read for anyone interested in the Mongol Empire. The historical text is thought to have been written in the thirteenth century and provides a fascinating glimpse into the lives of the Mongol rulers. In fact, it’s considered the most important Mongolian account of the empire’s founder, Genghis (or Chinggis) Khan.
The Mongols by Timothy May: If you’re looking for a comprehensive, academic study of the Mongols, this is a fantastic resource. The author covers topics such as the Mongol military, government, and policies to help readers understand how the Mongols established the largest contiguous empire in history.
An illustration of Mongols besieging a city in the thirteenth century. Image credit: Wikicommons.
The Secret History of the Mongols Queens by Jack Weatherford: Did you enjoy our story about Khutulun? You can learn more about Genghis Khan’s fearless great-grand daughter in Jack Weatherford’s book. This text uncovers women’s powerful influence in the Mongol Empire—from warrior queens to wrestling princesses. Check out Weatherford’s article for another great (and free) resource and dive deeper into the story of Khutulun.
A History of Land Use in Mongolia: The Thirteenth Century to the Present by Elizabeth Endicott: In Issue 21, we explored the Mongolian herders’ traditional way of life. This text offers a history of these herders and ways they’ve used the land for centuries. Endicott's book is paired with over 50 photographs that make it accessible to both a general and academic readership.
Parents and Educators
Teachers, you can use these free online tools to bring the history of Mongolia to life!
The National Museum of Mongolia with Google Arts & Culture: Travel to the National Museum of Mongolia with this online exhibit. Adults and kids can explore artifacts from Mongolia’s ancient history to present day. This expansive exhibit is filled with images, videos, and music to help immerse viewers in the country’ rich history.
Mongols in World History: This extensive web resource provides information on a range of different topics—from Mongol conquests to daily life on the steppes. It’s hosted by Asia for Educators at Columbia University and is a great reference point for parents and educators looking to create a curriculum for their kids. You can find plenty of images, class materials, primary sources, and maps to help students learn.
The Silk Road: This interactive webpage provides tools for young historians to travel the famous Silk Road. View maps of the ancient road network and compare places by language, religion, and cities. Kids can also investigate art and music that spread along the trade routes. And there is gameplay too! Try out the Silk Road Trading Game to explore key economic concepts such as currency, supply, and demand.
Marco Polo's caravan on the Silk Road, 1380. Image credit: Wikicommons.
Mongolia and its history take center stage in these illustrated children's books.
The Khan’s Daughter: A Mongolian Folktale by Laurence Yep, illustrated by Jean and Mous-Sien Tseng: The award-winning author Laurence Yep dives into the world of Mongolian folktales with this illustrated book. The story follows a poor shepherd named Mongke who hopes to marry the Khan’s daughter. But to win her hand, Mongke must pass three tests. This lively tale will appeal to young historians interested in fashion. The elaborate dress of the Khan's court is on full display in its stunning, watercolor illustrations.
The Moose of Ewenki by Gerelchimeg Blackcrane, illustrated by Jiu Er: This picture book is set in the mountains of Inner Mongolia—the home of the Indigenous Ewenki people. Gree Shek, an Ewenki elder, is followed by a moose calf named Xiao Han who simply won’t leave him alone. The two become close friends, but as Xia Han grows older, it becomes clear that he must return to the forest. This long, illustrated book is a story of friendship and beautifully captures the Ewenki way of life.
Who Was Genghis Khan? by Nico Medina: This best-selling series offers a great introduction to many historical figures, and they’ve made one book all about the infamous Mongol ruler. Kids ages 8-12 will learn about the great Khan’s life, legend, and legacy. There are some rather gruesome details, so we recommend parents review before sharing with sensitive readers.
Story of a Mongolian Tent House by Jambyn Dashdondog and Anne Pellowski, illustrated by Beatriz Vidal: This picture book is based on the original writings of the beloved, Mongolian author Dashdondog Jamba. It provides young readers a glimpse into life on the steppes as they learn about the ger and Mongolia’s unique landscape through colorful illustrations.
If you're looking for a kids magazine all about Mongolia, we hope you'll check out Issue 21 | Across the Steppes. Stay tuned as we continue to share research tips and resources for future issues!