Mesopotamia/Israel & Ancient Egypt


Adara- Beatrice Gormley

Adara has always longed to do the things that well-brought-up girls of her time are not supposed to do. She wants to learn to read and write and she wants the freedom to travel . One day she awakens to a blast of trumpets as the Israelites and Arameans battle just outside the safety of her village walls. Curious, Adara sneaks out to see the battle. Little does she know that this will be her last day of freedom for a very long time. Sold into slavery, Adara becomes a servant to General Namaan and his family and begins a remarkable journey of self-discovery, healing, and redemption — a journey that, in the end, faces her with the hardest decision of her life . . .

Tirzah- Lucille Travis

Twelve-year-old Tirzah and her family are slaves in Egypt. Pharaoh forces them to make mud bricks without straw, so Tirzah cuts grass for her father and older brother to use.  If only Moses could persuade Pharaoh to let them go. Surely Yahweh, the Lord God, will hear their prayers to leave Egypt for a better life somewhere else, they hope.

Ancient Egypt

Picture Books

Secrets of the Mummies DK reader – Harriet Griffey

A DK reader for the 8-10 yr old, contains chapters on mummification and another on Carter’s discovery of Tutankhamen’s tomb. Not all of the chapters are related to Egyptian mummies. The children found these chapters fascinating.

We’re Sailing Down the Nile: A Journey Through Egypt – Laurie Krebs
I originally purchased this more as a modern Egyptian geography book than history, however the two really overlap. Very simple rhyming text with vivid pictures. “Climb aboard the river boat! We’re sailing down the Nile. We’ll be at the Oasis in just a little while.” Traveling down the Nile on a modern boat a group of children see statues, temples, tombs and pyramids. The author has written many other picture books set around the world.

Egyptian Diary:The Journal of Nakht – Richard Platt

We LOVED this one, I was so thrilled to discover that Richard Platt has written other books beside Castle Diary: The Journal of Tobias Burgess. He has written many books in this journal/picture style set in different time periods:):) Egyptian Diary was ‘written’ by an Egyptian boy, Nakht who was learning to be a scribe, set in the reign of Hatshepsut we learn much about everyday life in a scribe’s family. In the Egyptian hierachy the scribes came below the nobles, who were below the King.

Seeker of Knowledge- James Rumford

Another ‘meaty’ picture books that will even interest the older children. Seeker of Knowledge has stunning watercolurs that enhance the story of Jean-Francois Champollion, this picture book follows his life from boyhood to manhood when he ‘cracks the code’ of the Rosetta Stone. Another winner.

Tutankhamen’s Gift – Robert Sabuda

Tutankhamen’s Gift contains stunning artwork and a rather ‘meaty’ text. I feel a picture book to definitely have on your shelf. Tutankhamen admires the magnificent monuments built to honour the gods during his father Amenhotep III’s reign. When his brother Amenhotep IV assumes the throne he destroys all the temples built to honour any gods other than the god of the sun. When he dies mysteriously Tutankhamen becomes pharaoh at the age of 10 and restores the temples and rules with kindness.

The Scarab’s Secret – Nick Would

A lovely picture book of the story of the god ‘Khepri’ and how he saved the life of a king whose subjects had plotted to kill him. ‘Khepri’ the scarab beetle is hereafter honoured as a god. The text is simple enough to keep the interest of my three year old (the older dc enjoyed it too).

Chapter Books

Pharoah- Jackie French

I suggest this with reservations as there are a couple of ‘topics’ addressed. Please parents read first. Otherwise book is excellent.

The Cat of Bubastes – GA Henty

Like all of GA Henty’s novels the Cat of Bubastes does a wonderful job of bringing the time period, Egypt of 1250BC alive, the religion, geography, the methods of irrigation, warfare and burial rites are skillfully interwoven into this thrilling adventure story. The story follows prince Amuba and a priests’s son Chebron. When Chebron accidentally kills a cat destined to be the sacred cat of the temple, a riot ensues and the boys flee to Amuba’s homeland of Rebu.

Golden Goblet- Eloise Jarvis McGraw

The Golden Goblet is an exciting adventure, the story of Ranofer who wanted to be a goldsmith and was prevented by his brother Gebu. Ranofer finds a golden goblet in his brother’s room and knows that it has been stolen from one of the tombs in the City of the Dead. With his two friends Ranofer sets out to prove his brother’s guilt. My three older children LOVED this book and were clamouring for more of McGraw’s books.

Mara, Daughter of the Nile – Eloise Jarvis McGraw

We did have another McGraw book, Mara Daughter of the Nile. Possibly more enjoyable for girls. Mara, a slave girl is a double spy for two arch enemies who each support a contender for the Egyptian throne. Mara then falls in love with one of these men, when her duplicity is discovered her life is in danger and the fate of Egypt is at stake.

Shadow Hawk- Andre Norton

Shadow Hawk covers the beginning of Egypt’s fight for freedom against the hated Hyksos invaders around 1590BC. Another beautiful book republished by Bethlehem Books. Loved by our daughter.


Ancient Egyptians and their Neighbors by Marian Broida

Riddle of the Rosetta Stone – James Giblin

Riddle of the Rosetta Stone was a little something different for the children, it was not a novel but a biography of Champollion the decipherer of the Rosetta Stone. Giblin’s book outlines the unraveling of the ‘mystery of hieroglyphics’.

Life in Ancient Egypt Coloring Book – John Green

A Dover colouring book, they really are excellent resources, great detail and informative. Not a basic colouring book at all

Pyramid – David Macaulay

Surprisingly we actually hadn’t read any of David Macaulay’s books before. We couldn’t believe how informative and yet interesting Pyramid was. The pictures really enhanced the text. We are now Macaulay fans.

The Great Pyramid – Elizabeth Mann

We were new to Elizabeth Mann,apparently she has written ten books of the Wonder’s of the World such as The Great Wall. Her text was informative and yet written simply enough for the younger children to understand as well as interest the older. Her illustrations were eye-catching.

Old Testament Days An Activity Guide – Nancy Saunders

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