Living books for ancient history: Egypt

Living books for ancient history: Egypt

The Annals of the World

by James Ussher

Ussher’s Annals of the World is a historical encyclopedia covering history from creation through to the first century A.D. You’ll find both famous accounts and little known events in the lives of the pharaohs, Caesars, kings, conquerors, thieves, pirates and murderers. It’s a very readable chronological narrative that provides an excellent background to your ancient history studies.


History Pockets: Ancient Egypt Grade 4-6+

We love History Pockets! These books are an enjoyable and very convenient way to keep all your hands-on project bits and pieces in one place. Templates and information provided. Check out the Ancient Civilisations History Pocket for younger children, Grades 1-3.

Have your pocket at the ready while you are reading some of the living books listed below.


The Cat of Bubastes: A Tale of Ancient Egypt

by GA Henty

GA Henty has a real knack for spinning a good tale and making history come alive for his readers. Weaving historical facts into the lives of fictional characters, together with action, valour, plot twists and turns, the story of important events and details of civilisations stays with you. 

From the synopsis: Chebron, the young son of an Egyptian high priest, and Amuba, a young slave in the boy’s household, are close friends; but their lives are greatly altered when Chebron accidentally kills a cat, an animal held sacred by the ancient Egyptians. Forced to flee for their lives, 


 Mummies Made in Egypt

by Aliki

This is an excellent book for children describing the methods used in ancient Egyptian mummification, and aids in demystifying the process. Colourful illustrations, as well as black and white diagrams amid simple yet interesting text, makes this book one that will keep your kids engaged for ages. This is a must-have book if you have younger children. Aimed at 6-8-year-olds, but older children will appreciate it, too.


Shadow Hawk

by Andre Norton

Set during the time of the Hyksos invasion of Egypt this is the story of Egypt regaining control. Battles and intrigue make for a thrilling story, besides all the historical information you will soak up along the way. It is difficult to believe that the powerful nation that Egypt was could be overrun, and it would be no easy task. It is highly likely the Hyksos invaded a vulnerable Egypt, most probably after its downfall post the plagues of Exodus which decimated the land. 

We really enjoyed this book, and think you will too.


by David Macaulay

David Macaulay is an award-winning illustrator and has written several books for children about great buildings from history. Fantastic, detailed drawings fill this book with explanations on construction techniques, tools and more. Boys or children who are engrossed by detail will love Macaulay’s books, but they are not so full of jargon to be boring. They are aimed at children, and he does a fine job of keeping their attention.

Find out how the pyramids were made, how much manpower was used and gain a realistic view of how these amazing constructions came to be.

The Golden Goblet

by Eloise McGraw

This is a fast-paced and riveting historical fiction story set in ancient Thebes. Ranofer’s dream is to be a goldsmith but he is instead apprenticed to his evil half-brother to be a stonecutter. Finding a golden goblet in his half-brother’s house, Ranofer is faced with a dilemma. Find out how the story unfolds and learn about the lives of people who lived in this ancient culture. A great book! 


Seeker of Knowledge

by James Rumford

This is the story of how amateur scholar Jean-Francois Champollion cracked the code of Egyptian hieroglyphs. Beautifully illustrated with engaging text, this is a must-read to get the background of our key to reading the Egyptians’ stories of themselves. 

The Riddle of the Rosetta Stone

by James Cross Giblin

The Rosetta Stone stele is an important link between three ancient civilisations and its translation was a major step forward in unravelling part of their histories. This book describes how the Rosetta Stone was deciphered.

It’s an ALA Notable Children’s Book and includes excerpts from the translated text of the Rosetta Stone. Suitable for children aged 9-12.

Tut’s Mummy Lost… and Found

This is the story of Howard Carter’s search for discovering Tutankhamen’s tomb. It covers Tutankhamen’s death, tombs, archaeology and ancient Egyptian culture.

A good book to read alongside Mummies Made in Egypt.

Aimed at lower primary aged children.



by Diane Stanley

Diane Stanley’s books are beautifully illustrated and engaging history picture books for children. Get them all – you won’t be disappointed. This is a good biography of Cleopatra for children. Read it when you are studying ancient Rome. 

Other biographies by Stanley include Shakespeare, Joan of Arc, Leonardo Davinci, to name a few.

The Sign Above the Door

Set during the time of the plagues of Egypt and the exodus of the Hebrews, this book is written from a Christian viewpoint. It’s an interesting story of how the plagues may have played out in the lives of the Egyptians and Hebrews during a tumultuous time in Egypt’s history, and a momentous event in the history of the Hebrews. You’ll find romance, evil plotting and intrigue.


Cleopatra & Ancient Egypt for Kids: Her Life and World, with 21 Activities

I wish this book had have been around when my kids were young! A biographical writer Simonetta Carr’s books are fabulous often with beautiful illustrations and good amounts of text. I haven’t seen inside this one, but it’s on my to-buy list.



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