Posts Tagged ‘ancient history’

Booklist: Living Books on Ancient Rome

Living Books about Ancient Rome

Angeletti, Roberta. Vulcan the Etruscan. The Etruscans preceded the Romans. Elementary.

Asimov, Isaac. The Roman Empire. From the famous scientist and science fiction writer. Teens.

Balit, Christina. Escape from Pompeii. Elementary.

Banks, Lynne Reid. Tiger, Tiger. From the author of The Indian in the Cupboard. Middle years.

Church, Alfred. Aeneid for Boys and Girls. A good retelling of the classic Roman story. I find it to be a poor man’s Odyssey but that’s for the Romans and Greeks to duke out, I suppose. Elementary+.

Connolly, Peter. Connolly has some books with lovely illustrations including Greece and Rome at War, The Roman Army, The Roman Fort and Pompeii.

DiPrimio, Pete. How’d They do That: Ancient Rome. Not the most living. Elementary-middle.

Douglas, Lloyd. The Robe, Really a negative recommendation — I assigned this one  to myself, and honestly couldn’t get through it all. The writing is okay, though not stellar. At times it was engaging. But it is set at the very end and just after Christ’s time and says a lot about Him and His disciples and I found that it plays with the biblical story too much. Teens.

Foster, Genevieve. Augustus Caesar’s World. Foster’s books make wonderful spines that can be used for a variety of ages. Elementary +.

Gerrard, Roy. The Roman Twins. Elementary.

Hamilton, Edith. The Roman Way. Good older book on the culture and influence of Rome. Teens.

Harris, Jacqueline. Science in Ancient Rome. Elementary.

Hillyer, V.M. Child’s History of Art . This book could be on most of my booklists. We read the sections on Rome from all three books within a book: painting, sculpture and architecture. This is elementary level but one can still get quite a bit out of it at later ages.

Lawrence, Caroline. Roman Mysteries (series). Middle years.

Macaulay, David. City and Rome Antics. All his books are lovely. Elementary+.

McCaughrean, Geraldine. Roman Myths. Her books are lovely. Elementary +.

Mills, Dorothy. The Book of the Ancient Romans. Another spine type book. Middle years, but could be used for a range of ages.

Moss, Marissa. Galen: My life in Imperial Rome. Elementary.

Sinkiwicz, Henryk. Quo Vadis. Historical fiction set in the time of Christ. Teens.

Snedden, Robert. Technology in the Time of Ancient Rome. Elementary.

Snedeker, Caroline. White Isle, Forgotten Daughter and Triumph for Flavius. White Isle is about Romans in Britain. Middle years.

Speare, Elizabeth George. Bronze Bow. Middle years.

Tappan, Eva Marie. Story of Rome. I much prefer Tappan’s volumes on Greece and Rome to Guerber’s for style and the treatment of myth and false gods. These are probably written at a middle school level but can be used as a spine for a wide variety of ages.

Usher, Kerry. Heroes Gods and Emperors from Roman Mythology. Rome largely borrowed the mythology of Greece so it is harder to find books on Roman religion (but see this post for some books on Greek mythology). This is one. Middle years.

Wallace, Lew. Ben Hur, You really should watch the movie too. Teens.

Winterfield, Henry. Detectives in Togas and Mystery of the Roman Ransom. Middle years.

Booklist: Living Books on Ancient Greece

Living Books about Ancient Greece

See also my post on myths and tales

Asimov, Isaac. The Greeks: A Great Adventure. From the famous science and science fiction writer. Teens.

Church, Alfred.  The Iliad and Odyssey of Homer. There are so many versions of these classic sagas. While it is worth reading the full stories with older children, there are also many good versions for younger ones. Elementary-middle.

Colum, Padraic. Children’s Homer ,  The Adventures of Odysseus and The Tale of Troy, and The Golden Fleece. Wonderful retellings of these classic stories. Can be read aloud to elementary and used for a wide variety of ages.

Connolly, Peter. Ancient City and Greece and Rome at War and others. Lovely illustrations in these books.

Cottrell, Leonard. The Mystery of Minoan Civilization. Read about the Greeks’ predecessors. Middle years (?). 

Hamilton, Edith. The Greek Way and Echo of Greece. Good older books on the culture and influence of Greece. Teens.

Hillyer, V.M. Child’s History of Art . This book could be on most of my booklists. We read the sections on Greece from all three books within a book: painting, sculpture and architecture. This is elementary level but one can still get quite a bit out of it at later ages.

Homer’s the Odyssey, trans. by Robert Fagles. I really enjoyed reading this with my high schoolers and was surprised how accessible it was. If you want a study guide for it, try the one by Leland Ryken. Teens.

Macrone, Michael. By Jove! Brush Up Your Mythology. Maybe not the most living but I liked this book. It has short chapters which discuss words we sue in English which come from Greek myths. Middle-teens.

Mills, Dorothy. The Book of the Ancient Greeks. Another spine type book. Middle years, but could be used for a range of ages.

Osborne, Mary Pope. Tales from the Odyssey (series). From the author of The Magic Treehouse Series. Elementary-middle.

Robinson, Charles Alexander. First Book of Ancient Crete and Mycenae. An older book but good if you can find it. Middle years.

Strauss, Barry. The Battle of Salamis. For the battle loving boy. Middle-teens.

Sutcliffe, Rosemary. The Wandering of Odysseus and Black Ships Before Troy. Elementary-middle.

Tappan, Eva Marie. Story of the Greek People. I much prefer Tappan’s volumes on Greece and Rome to Guerber’s for style and the treatment of myth and false gods. These are probably written at a middle school level but can be used as a spine for a wide variety of ages. She also has a volume called Greece and Rome from her World’s Story series which has primary source documents.

 

Living Books on the Ancient Near East

Dear Reader,

We did a mini-term between Thanksgiving and Christmas on Mesopotamia and Canaan. As a once and future Hebrew scholar, it kills me to give the short shrift to the Ancient Near East but there is only so much one can fit into a school year. You can find all my booklists here.

Living Books on the Ancient Near East

In our time all together, we concentrated on art and myths. I used Hillyer’s book for the art. Though it can be understood by elementary level, I think it still provides a good introduction for older children as well. Note that Hillyer has a few volumes, on painting, sculpture and architecture. I have the three in one volume, A Child’s History of Art, and we covered all the areas.

The Ancient Near East includes a number of cultures. While they all have similarities, there is also some variation. We tried to include both Mesopotamian and Canaanite myths. I used Padraic Colum’s Myths of the World which I got on Kindle. It is nice because it gives some introduction to what we find in each of the cultures as well. For Mesopotamia, we also got a few of the storybooks by Zeman by tell the epic of Gilgamesh. There are three I believe that they each tell part of the story so you want to read them in order. Though these are picture books, they do a great job. For Canaan, I used Coogan’s Stories from Ancient Canaan. These are tales from Ugarit, a Canaanite town which was destroyed by fire. The destruction meant that the clay tablets on which the stories were written were baked hard and survived. It is interesting to see the similarities and differences here with one of Israel’s close neighbors. What we have is somewhat fragmentary. Coogan gives good introductions to each. I recommend prereading so you can give context and read selections. I blogged on these myths when we studied them previously. You can see one of those posts here.

We also talked about writing together using the book Sign, Symbol, Script. This is one I had leftover from my grad school days. It is actually a catalog from an exhibition but gives lots of info on the history of writing and the alphabet, a topic I couldn’t pass by. I have no idea how easy this is to find. We didn’t use Ancient Israelites and Their Neighbors. I find it a bit cumbersome. It has lots of extras like recipes if you are into that sort of thing.

I’m not thrilled with the historical fiction in this period. I don’t find it very well-written. My high school daughter read Adara by Gormley. My middle schooler read  Hittite Warrior by Williamson. The latter in particular seemed to through in every biblical motif it could (not in a good way). My senior read Silverberg’s Gilgamesh the King. I chose this book partly because he has been studying science fiction for his literature this year and Silverberg is a sci-fi writer. I thought the book would stray farther from the myth but it actually seemed to do better than I expected.

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My 8th grader read Science in Ancient Mesopotamia. I am not thrilled with this series but it is decent and provides info that one might not get elsewhere. He also read a book I loved for him — Ancient and Medieval Siege Weapons by Nosov. I only had him read the portions relevant to what we are studying. It seemed to be a very readable book. My 7th grader read Ancient Egyptian, Assyrian and Persian Costumes and Decorations by Houston. There are a lot of pictures in this book. She chose to do drawings of the costumes for most narrations and seemed to really get into it.

Lastly, we get to the actual history books.

My7th grader read The Ancient Near Eastern World by Podany. I’m not sure it’s 100% living but it seemed well-written. She liked that it included a lot of different things, like history and myths and how people lived. My 12th grader read A Short History of the Near East by Hitti. He seems to have really enjoyed it and says that it did a good job of being both broad and specific if that makes sense. My 11th grader read Fairservis’ Mesopotamia. She says it was pretty good. Since Fairservis only covers Mesopotamia, I also had her read The Phoenicians by Pamela Odijk. My 8th grader read the relevant portions of Dorothy Mills’ Book of the Ancient World. I am not thrilled with the book though I see it recommended a lot. It seems overly brief and simple (though her book on Greece is longer and I am planning to use that one). I was supposed to read Maspero’s Life in Ancient Egypt and Assyria but life got away from me and I never started it 😦

And some bonus resources if you need more:

McCaughrean, Geraldine. Gilgamesh the Hero. Picture book. Her books are always lovely, illustrated ones.

Moore, Balit. Ishtar and Tammuz. Picture book.

Glubok, Shirley. Digging in Assyria. Archaeology.

Morley, Jacqueline, Temple at Jerusalem. Maybe not living but lays out what the Temple was like.

Robinson, Charles. First book of Ancient Mesopotamia and Persia. An older, hard to find book.

Mohr, Louise Maud. Babylonia and Assyria. Another old, hard-to-find book.

Next up: Ancient Greece

Nebby