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Ancient Civilizations: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best children's books about ancient civilizations?

Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to ancient civilizations. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about ancient civilizations.

Our list includes picture books and chapter books. Picture books are generally great options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. Picture books are especially enjoyable for adults to read aloud with young kids. The chapter books on our list are generally best for elementary through early middle school age tween kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid.

When it comes to children’s stories about ancient civilizations, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like The Bronze Bow to popular sellers like The Odyssey.

We hope this list of kids books about ancient civilizations can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book! As you explore the list, please comment below to let us know what books you would add.

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My Weird School Fast Facts: Mummies, Myths, and Mysteries
Written by Dan Gutman & illustrated by Jim Paillot and Dan Gutman
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-10
Think fast with A.J. and Andrea from My Weird School! Did you know that ancient Egyptians treated infections by putting moldy bread on them? Did you know that ancient Roman workers would stomp around barefoot in big tubs filled with urine to clean their clothes? Learn more weird-but-true ancient history facts with A.J. and Andrea from Dan Gutman’s bestselling My Weird School series. This highly illustrated series of nonfiction books features hundreds of hysterical facts, plus lots of photos and illustrations. Whether you’re a kid who wants to learn more about ancient history or simply someone who wants to know what came out of the very first vending machine, this is the book for you! With more than 23 million books sold, the My Weird School series really gets kids reading!
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Helga Makes a Name for Herself
Written by Megan Maynor & illustrated by Eda Kaban
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7
**A hilarious and empowering picture book about a small but strong Viking girl who is determined to be a warrior and make a name for herself. ** Filled with humor and heart, this clever picture book about perseverance and following your dreams stars Helga, a small but mighty (and loud) Viking. Helga, along with her sidekick, Wolvie, wants to be a warrior just like her favorite hero, Ingrid the Axe. But she is a farmer’s daughter and the only battles she fights are pretend. So when Ingrid the Axe comes to town looking for new recruits, Helga jumps at the chance. She and Wolvie find the competition to be fierce. But Helga is fierce too, and single-minded in her desire to make a name for herself. After all she is a WARRIOOORRRR!
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T. Rex Time Machine: Dinos in De-Nile
Written & illustrated by Jared Chapman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5
Two T. Rexes are whisked away by their time machine to ancient Egypt, where King Tut mistakes them for Sobek, god of the Nile. They are treated to glorious feasts and magnificent tours. But when the aliens land—they're in the middle of constructing the pyramids—and expose the supposed gods as mere dinosaurs, everyone's mad. Will the dinosaurs escape? This laugh-out-loud romp through time and space is perfect for storytime, bedtime, read-alouds, and guaranteed giggles!
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Addison Cooke and the Ring of Destiny
Written by Jonathan W. Stokes
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
In the tradition of Indiana Jones and The Goonies, the next installment of this comedic adventure series sends young Addison and his friends on the run from fortune hunters linked to an ancient Cooke clan curse. Soon after the disappearance of his aunt Delia and uncle Nigel outside the tomb of notorious Mongolian leader Genghis Khan, amateur archeologist Addison Cooke, his sister Molly, and their best friends Raj and Eddie, embark on another globe-trotting adventure. When a mysterious package arrives on Addison's doorstep, criminals and fortune-hunters from around the world are suddenly hunting the Cooke family. Addison and team will travel to London, Paris, Istanbul, and beyond, on the run for their lives to unravel the mystery of the package, find out what really happened to Aunt Delia and Uncle Nigel, and come face-to-face with the terrifying Vrolock Malazar. But Addison and the team find there are dangerous secrets about his aunt and uncle's pasts and hidden truths about the Cooke clan that must be uncovered. Addison Cooke and the Ring of Destiny is full of nonstop laughs and heart-pounding action, perfect for fans of James Patterson's Treasure Hunters series, Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series, and Peter Lerangis's Seven Wonders series.
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Ra the Mighty: The Great Tomb Robbery
Written by A. B. Greenfield & illustrated by Sarah Horne
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10
A smug royal cat turned detective and his dung beetle sidekick are on the case when a precious tomb gets ransacked in the Valley of the Kings. Ra the Mighty adores his duties as Pharaoh's cat: naps by the pool and plenty of snacks. Being lazy is so much fun. But when a royal tomb gets robbed, Ra and his hardworking friend Khepri must team up to restore justice. The clues point to a young boy whom Ra admires. Will the Great Detective play favorites, or will he uncover the truth? Mystery awaits! More than thirty wacky illustrations with fun historical details bring these oddball characters to life, along with a glossary, pronunciation guide, and detailed author's note about ancient Egypt. Fans of Bad Kitty will love Ra's witty voice and arrogant antics. Pair with companion, Ra the Mighty: Cat Detective.
Julius Zebra: Entangled with the Egyptians! book
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Theodosia and the Last Pharaoh book
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Julius Zebra: Battle with the Britons! book
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Mystery of the Egyptian Scroll book
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  • Julius Zebra: Entangled with the Egyptians! - Julius Zebra is in ancient Egypt on his third madcap adventure. Will he and his friends make it out alive, or will they all end up entombed in a pyramid forever? After being shipwrecked on the shores of Egypt, Julius Zebra can’t believe his luck: he’s been mistaken for a Horse God and given the royal treatment. Preened and pampered, Julius and his friends are treated to a lavish party and ferried down the River Nile. But when hapless antelope Felix accidentally stumbles upon the Tomb of Cleopatra, he steals a gem for his rock collection, unknowingly bringing a pharaoh’s curse down upon the group. With the Egyptians beginning to realize that Julius is not quite what they thought he was, the zebra gladiator and his friends are soon fighting for their lives in a series of hilarious hijinks.

  • Theodosia and the Last Pharaoh - In this fourth book in the series, Theodosia sets off to Egypt to return the Emerald Tablet—embedded with the knowledge of some of the ancient world’s most guarded secrets. Accompanied by her cat, Isis (smuggled along in a basket), Theo plans to return the artifact, then explore the mysteries surrounding her own birth and oh, yes— help her mother dig up treasures on her archeological expedition. But nothing ever works out as planned, especially when a precious treasure appears suddenly, and then just as suddenly disappears . . . When the Serpents of Chaos get involved, Theo finds she’s digging up a lot more than she expected!

  • Julius Zebra: Battle with the Britons! - Think you know Julius Zebra? Think again! The handsome, fast-talking gladiatorial champion is sent on a zany new adventure — to Britannia! Before Julius Zebra can have his freedom, Emperor Hadrian sends him on one last mission. As the newly named People’s Champion, Julius must travel with his friends to a distant land to remind its people of the might of the Roman Empire. It’ll be just like a vacation! But when the motley menagerie of gladiators arrives in cold, wet Britannia, they don’t quite receive the welcome they were expecting. In fact, the Britons seem to hate the Romans. And the longer Julius and his friends stay in Britannia, the more they realize that they have a lot more in common with the Britons than they thought. After all, they’re all under Hadrian’s rule. But what can a ragtag group of fighting animals do about it?

  • Mystery of the Egyptian Scroll - You, who have dug deep and sifted hard for a story to read, have unearthed an ancient treasure: a mystery from the dusty ages, when a boy could be a hero and fight for the good of all . . . Zet and Kat are in charge, now that their father’s off fighting in Pharaoh’s army. But times are hard. Sales are dead at their family pottery stall. When Zet learns of a reward to capture a thief, he’s determined to win it. At first, the clues seem easy to track. Then he begins to fear things have gone too far. The chase leads them into forbidden temples whispering with the voices of ancient gods, into a web that threatens to crush their family forever. Praise for Scott Peters’ books: HISTORICAL NOVEL SOCIETY: Steve Donoghue says: “Peters is such a natural and gifted storyteller” MIDDLE GRADE FICTION FINDER: Laurie Cameron says: “I recommend this historical novel”

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Theodosia and the Staff of Osiris
Written by R. L. LaFevers & illustrated by Yoko Tanaka
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Theodosia Throckmorton is in a fix. Allowed to attend a reception given by one of the directors of her parents’ museum, she stumbles across Mr. Tetley of the British Museum—in most unusual circumstances! Since Theo has last seen him in a showdown in an ancient Egyptian tomb, his reappearance could mean only one thing: the Serpents of Chaos are back. Once again Theodosia will have to take on secret societies, evil curses, and dark magic too sinister to imagine, especially if it falls into the wrong hands. Blocked at every turn, Theodosia will have to rely on her own skill and cunning—along with a little help from the most unexpected places.
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The Bronze Bow
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12
He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. –From the Song of David (2 Samuel 22:35). The Bronze Bow, written by Elizabeth George Speare (author of The Witch of Blackbird Pond) won the Newbery Medal in 1962. This gripping, action-packed novel tells the story of eighteen-year-old Daniel bar Jamin—a fierce, hotheaded young man bent on revenging his father’s death by forcing the Romans from his land of Israel. Daniel’s palpable hatred for Romans wanes only when he starts to hear the gentle lessons of the traveling carpenter, Jesus of Nazareth. A fast-paced, suspenseful, vividly wrought tale of friendship, loyalty, the idea of home, community . . . and ultimately, as Jesus says to Daniel on page 224: “Can’t you see, Daniel, it is hate that is the enemy? Not men. Hate does not die with killing. It only springs up a hundredfold. The only thing stronger than hate is love.” A powerful, relevant read in turbulent times.
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Day of the Dragon King
Written by Mary Pope Osborne & illustrated by Sal Murdocca
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-9
Who would burn books? Jack and Annie find out when the Magic Tree House whisks them back to ancient China. There, a powerful emperor called the Dragon King has ordered that all books be burned. Will Jack and Annie be able to save at least one book? Or will they be captured by the emperor's soldiers?
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Cleopatra VII, Daughter of the Nile
Written & illustrated by Kristiana Gregory
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Written in a diary-style format, this work presents the experiences and feelings of the young queen-to-be while providing informative facts about her homelife, family and royal enviroment. 90,000 first printing.
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Mummies in the Morning
Written by Mary Pope Osborne & illustrated by Sal Murdocca
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-9
Jack and his younger sister take a trip in their tree house back to ancient Egypt, where they help a queen's mummy continue her voyage to the Next Life.
We're Sailing Down the Nile book
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Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos book
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Mummy Cat book
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Viking Ships At Sunrise book
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  • We're Sailing Down the Nile - Climb aboard the river boat! We re sailing down the Nile. We ll visit Abu Simbel in just a little while.

  • Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos - Theodosia Throckmorton has her hands full at the Museum of Legends and Antiquities in London. Her father may be head curator, but it is Theo—and only Theo—who is able to see all the black magic and ancient curses that still cling to the artifacts in the museum. When Theo’s mother returns from her latest archaeological dig bearing the Heart of Egypt—a legendary amulet belonging to an ancient tomb—Theo learns that it comes inscribed with a curse so black and vile that it threatens to crumble the British Empire from within and start a war too terrible to imagine. Intent on returning the malevolent artifact to its rightful place, Theo devises a daring plan to put things right. But even with the help of her younger brother, a wily street urchin, and the secret society known as the Brotherhood of the Chosen Keepers, it won’t be easy . . . she quickly finds herself pursued down dark alleys, across an ocean, through the bustling crowds of Cairo, and straight into the heart of an ancient mystery. Theo will have to call upon everything she’s ever learned in order to prevent the rising chaos from destroying her country—and herself!

  • Mummy Cat - “Mummy Cat prowls his pyramid home, longing for his beloved owner. As he roams the tomb, lavish murals above his head display scenes of the cat with his young Egyptian queen. Hidden hieroglyphs deepen the tale and are explained in an informative author’snote”—

  • Viking Ships At Sunrise - “Beware of Vikings!” warns Morgan. Then Jack and Annie are whisked back to ancient Ireland. They land on a cliff on a misty island. How will they find the story they are looking for? It will take a Viking invasion, the help of a jolly monk, and a lot of courage for Jack and Annie to succeed in Viking Ships at Sunrise.

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Pharaoh's Boat
Written & illustrated by David L. Weitzman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 7-10
Presents the story of a boat of ancient Egypt that was build in the shadow of the Great Pyramid of Giza by the shipbuilders of their time to serve the pharaoh, Cheops, on his journey through the underworld.
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The Shipwrecked Sailor
Written & illustrated by Tamara Bower
picture book
Recommend Ages: 7-10
A tale, based on a story found in ancient papyrus scrolls, about a shipwrecked sailor who finds fortune when he is befriended by a serpent that is the Prince of the magical island of Punt.
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The Odyssey
Written by Homer & illustrated by Manuela Adreani
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-18
**Strikingly beautiful illustrations and simplified text bring Homer’s epic tale to life for a new generation of readers.**   After winning the Trojan War, the great hero Odysseus embarks on a journey back home to Ithaca. But the gods force him to face trial after trial, from a one-eyed Cyclops to the enchanting songs of the Sirens, delaying his return for years. Meanwhile, his wife, Penelope, and son, Telemachus, try to prevent Penelope’s power-hungry suitors from taking over Ithaca.

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