When I was 8.5, I barely even understood that there was a country outside of my province, let alone a world outside of my country.
I had a vague notion that there was this other time, loooong long ago, waaaay in the past, outside of anything I could possibly imagine, when my parents were young and the Beatles were really popular.
Kids at that age just physiologically don't have the brain development to REALLY understand the scope of history. To them, 10 years ago vs 100 years ago vs 1000 years ago is all just "before I was around", the relativity, the relationship of one era to another is close to meaningless. (This is something that has been researched and studied, in fact -- it's nothing to do with what kids have or haven't been taught, it's entirely to do with brain development).
Don't get me wrong, I think it's valuable to expose kids to historical stuff, but unless they're really interested (and some kids are), then it's just setting yourself up for frustration if you expect any kind of real analysis or comprehension of how the past affect present-day realities. That sort of thing, honest, is at LEAST high school level and more often college level -- just because of the brain maturity required to make and understand those connections.
At this age, the focus should be on making it interesting, whether or not it's in any kind of systematic way, so that at least they're not turned off ever doing history because they're convinced it's dull and boring.
So things like historical fiction are good. Doesn't just have to be books, it can be movies too. There are some neat comic books that cover history and mythologies as well. But kids that age will be more interested in the STORIES than in the cultural relevance, dates, etc.
Hands-on stuff -- something like History Pockets appeals to a lot of kids. Gets some of the basic, a foundation, without getting bogged down in details.
At this age, history/social studies is more about fostering the gradual awakening of the realization of the world outside themselves. Their world starts as 'just me' as an infant, then quickly to 'me and mom', then 'me and my family', then 'me and my neighbourhood', etc. Their circle of understanding only gradually expands, and throw the concept of TIME in there and hooo baby it's a challenging thing to grasp!