Updated: Sep 28, 2021
People, in general, will admit they enjoy learning something new, but long hours spent in class, dry facts from textbooks, and paranoia from making sure to memorize all the right points that'll be on a test or quiz can sort of sap the fun out of learning.
It becomes a necessity rather than something you actually enjoy doing.
But, what if I told you that History and English could actually be fun... yes, FUN.
If you're looking to get inspired for a paper you need to write, some help understanding something in class, or just to have a good time, here's a list of the top ten YouTube Channels that retell history, literature, and more in an entertaining way.
(Any channels that may contain swearing or mature content will be marked with an (M) if you're looking for clean content only. Most channels listed are intended for viewers 14+).
10. School of Life
The School of Life deals with well, a lot of the aspects of life itself, including the importance of literature.
The School of Life covers topics like psychotherapy, art, political theory, sociology, and more. It dives into why we humans think as we do and what influences us. As a result, this channel gives uniques insights into authors of classic literature and all the fascinating life events that made them want to write what they wrote. If you're looking to peel back the veil and get a new appreciation for the author behind a classic, here's a link to their literature series playlist.
9. Crash Course
You most likely know about this one already, as your teachers might have assigned you a video or two over the pandemic from them. But, you can't deny that John and Hank Green, Emilie Graslie, Clint Smith, and the many other hosts of Crash Course can make learning a wild ride.
This channel traverses through psychology, philosophy, geography, physics, history, and so much more, but if you're having trouble understanding a book assigned for class, they have a wonderful literature series that covers classics from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet to Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God. Here's a link to a playlist of all the seasons of their literature series.
This channel contains a bevy of information on anything you could wish, from math to science to history and more. However, if you're really looking for something to read or a reason to read, this channel's recommended book videos are sure to pique your interest.
This channel has a series called, "Why should you read..." that brings literature to life through animated quick vids that explain the basic premise of the book in question and what events led the author to write their masterpiece. The engaging visuals paired with interesting stories make a compelling argument for why some classics are timeless must-reads. If you wish to see a playlist of this series, here is a link.
7. The Armchair Historian
This channel covers historic battles, wars, unique perspectives on strategies, and the people behind them.
Have you ever wondered what the Cuban Missile Crisis might've looked like from the Cubans perspective? Maybe you're curious about the evolution of different soldier uniforms? Or, which squads seemed better outfitted for war at the time?
Griffin Johnsen covers all of these questions and more in his animated retelling of history through different lenses. If you've ever asked what life might've been like in an occupied country or what steps led to certain countries' downfall in war, here is a link to his channel so you can witness the action for yourself.
6. Horrible Histories
This channel proves that fact can be stranger (and sometimes funnier) than fiction.
Sponsored by the BBC, Horrible Histories sings songs and performs comedic sketches that poke playful jabs at history that are all surprisingly accurate. There are sketches like "Stupid Deaths," which covers strange ways that historical figures met their demise. Or, you could watch "Historical Wife Swap," which covers the differences between classes and locations through the ages. You're sure to come away with some surprising knowledge about the crazy and wacky hi-jinx of history. Here's a link to their channel.
5. Karolina Żebrowska (M)
The history of fashion, Poland, and feminism through the ages, Karolina Żebrowski, brings modern humor to the days of yore.
Affectionately dubbed 'Meme Mom' by her fans, while occasionally donning Victorian-era garb just for fun, she also has made insightful videos into the history of fashion, feminism, and Poland, her home country. If you want something informational, she has videos such as, "100 Years of Beauty - Poland," but if you're looking for fun, there's plenty to be had by watching her videos like, "POV: you've met a pick me girl, but it's 1778". If you've got a passion for fashion, this channel might just lead to your newest inspiration. Here's a link to her channel.
4. Tasting History with Max Miller
Have you got a sweet tooth? Obsessed with watching cooking shows? This might be the channel for you.
Max Miller is the host of Tasting History, a series in which he not only prepares and provides delicious recipes from the past but also dives into how they came into being. Ever wonder about the history of ice cream or chocolate? How about what 500-year-old pizza used to look like? He covers all of this and more on his lovely channel.
Another great feature of his channel is that it's as interactive as you want it to be. If you're stuck learning from home, you can still use it as an opportunity to try making one of his delicious recipes in your kitchen and grab a taste of history for yourself. Here is a link.
3. Extra Credits
History, mythology, gaming, or science fiction, this channel has multiple specialties to keep you hooked.
Extra Credits is a channel that has a lot to offer. They have animated videos about history, myths and legends, sci-fi classics, or when you need to take a break from studying, they've got some interesting videos about the world of gaming and game design. You can check out their channel through this link.
2. OverSimplified (M)
OverSimplified is exactly what you think it is. With Henry VIII playing Wonderwall on the recorder and Napoleon hosting a Dr. Phil/Maury session for Spanish royalty, it doesn't get much goofier than this.
While this channel takes pride in its fast-paced humor, it also details some surprisingly accurate events in history. Such as a man going out to grab beans while the Battle of Gettysburg was going on around him and Henry VIII agreeing to go to war for 100 wheels of parmesan cheese. Here's a link to the channel.
1. Overly Sarcastic Productions (M)
If you're looking for history, literature, and mischief, Overly Sarcastic Productions is the channel for you.
Hosts Blue and Red ( and sometimes guest Cyan) reveal the mysteries behind histories, mythologies, and more. They cover everything from the history of the Roman Empire, to legends of an over-powered Monkey King, to summaries of Shakespeare's classics, all with a heaping amount of sarcasm. If you want a good story with a heavy dose of humor, their videos might be right up your alley. Here's a link to their channel.