If you are looking for a book that will introduce Kansas history to younger readers, consider this one.

Four Centuries in Kansas

Four Centuries in Kansas by Bliss Isely and W. M. Richards was originally a textbook, but it was written in an animated style that makes it an interesting read. The narrative covers state history from the Indians to World War I. Obviously that leaves a gap in the record, and the later chapters were written without the advantage of hindsight; nevertheless the book is a worthwhile starting point.

The 1936 edition is divided into 12 units:

  1. “How Kansas Served as a Home for Indians.”
  2. “Early White Men in Kansas.”
  3. “How Kansas Came To Be a Part of the United States.”
  4. “How Kansas Has Served as a Highway.”
  5. “How Kansas Was Affected by the Dispute Over Slavery.”
  6. “How Kansas Acquired Her Present Form of Government.”
  7. “Kansas and the End of Slavery.”
  8. “Development of Transportation.”
  9. “Man and Nature.”
  10. “How Education Has Developed in Kansas.”
  11. “The Kansas Spirit.”
  12. “Contributions of Kansas People.”

Each unit is accompanied by activities, discussion questions, and references for those who want to dig in a little deeper.

Although not the most up-to-date history book on Kansas, Four Centuries in Kansas is nevertheless a useful introduction to the early history of the state, and offers some interesting commentary on Kansas after the Civil War. Consider it a jumping-off point for further research.