Below is a list of books that I have been recommended, or have found through my research about Ancient Egypt.
The books I have compiled are all fictional works, and have been chosen to supply teachers, parents and educators with resources to support literacy in topic work, or as books to stretch your child if they have a particular interest in a theme or topic.
I will indicate if I have read the book. In these cases I will point out any areas that may be unsuitable for certain age groups, or need monitoring by an adult.
If I don’t specifically mention that I have read the book, it means I haven’t read it.
As such, if you think the book might be of interest I would urge you to read it through first, before reading/teaching from it, as I have no way of knowing if the books contain what some parents/adults might consider unacceptable material. All the books I recommend are published for children, but when dealing with older children’s fiction there may be content that is not suitable for younger children. It is your responsibility to check this if you are considering buying the book for a child or teaching the book to children.
If you have book recommendations on this subject, please send in a comment.
If you have read one of the books I am recommending please put your thoughts/reviews in the comments section.
Not all the books I recommend are currently in print. I will indicate where this is the case. Books go in and out of print all the time, which is why I am including every recommendation.
The Scribes of Alexandria by Caroline Lawrence – Part of a series called The Roman Mysteries in which a girl detective, Flavia Gemina, makes her way through the Roman Empire solving mysteries. This book contains riddles and puzzles for the reader as well as the detectives, and is set in the Egyptian city of Alexandria while it was under the control of the Roman Empire. This is the fifteenth book in the Roman Mysteries series. The stories are suitable for children of about 7 years and upwards. The books are quite long if you are planning guided reading work and may not fit into your topic time table. It is possible to use sections of the book effectively in this case. The book would be a good classroom resource for confident and enthusiastic readers who want to know more about the topic.
Flat Stanley – The Great Egyptian Grave Robbery by Jeff Brown (Flat Stanley’s World Wide Adventures, number 2) – Part of a series featuring the perennially popular children’s character Flat Stanley. In this book Stanley travels to Egypt to meet an archaeologist and find out the secrets of the great pyramids. This would be perfect for guided reading sessions as it is relatively short, so can be read as a class within the limits of a term. There is also an accompanying website with lots of resources and activities, which you can access by clicking on this link. There is an educational app too, but which is geared towards American readers, so if you are using it in a UK classroom you will need to explore how useful it will be to you. The Flat Stanley series is suitable to be read to pre schoolers and would probably work in classrooms up to about year Four (8-9 years). There are a huge number of Flat Stanley books, many of which are focussed on particular countries or periods in history.
The Time Travelling Cat and the Egyptian Goddess by Julia Jarman – This is the first of a series by Julia Jarman featuring Ka, the time travelling cat. In this book we learn how a boy called Topher gets his cat, which he names Ka, and how one day, when he is playing a computer game based in Ancient Egypt, Ka helps him, and how this leads him to discover Ka’s secret life. Its relatively short length at just over 100 pages, makes it a great book for using in school to support a project on the Ancient Egyptians. It is suitable for 7 years and upwards.
Ancient Egypt (Ms. Frizzle’s Adventures) by Joanna Cole – This is part of a series of books that were launched in co-ordination with an American television series called ‘The Magic School Bus’. It is specifically designed to introduce children from about the age of 7-13 to ideas and facts about life in Ancient Egypt. In the UK it is only available from second hand sellers as it is not published here. It may be available from the U.S. version of Amazon.
Tales of Ancient Egypt by Roger Lancelyn Green – Starting with the Egyptian version of the Creation myth, Lancelyn Green travels through Egyptian mythology, ending up with tales of magic, and the earliest fairy stories. The stories are short, and thus perfect for reading in class. This would be an excellent resource for teachers. It says this is suitable for 9 years and older, but it may be that with guidance from a teacher, or being read out by an adult in class or at home, these work for children as young as six. This is part of the Penguin Classics range, and has been in publication for a very long time. The language in the stories may be rather old fashioned and if you are giving this to a child to read alone it would be good to check this first.
The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan – This is the first in the series The Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan, creator of Percy Jackson and The Lightning Thief. Here Riordan moves from Greek mythology to the myths of ancient Egypt in this story of Carter and Sadie Kane, who are thrown headlong into a supernatural mystery as they battle to save their archaeologist father from Set, the evil god of chaos. These books are suitable for confident readers aged about eight and upwards. The books are too long for guided reading sessions, but would be great to have as supplementary reading for enthusiastic students in class. Riordan’s work can be quite violent, so if you are buying these books for younger readers, you will need to vet them first.
Ancient Egypt – Tales of Gods and Pharoahs by Marcia Williams – Marcia Williams is well known for her detailed, comic strip books retelling classic stories from literature and mythology. Her style is very accessible and children really warm to her simple and effective style of telling what are complex stories. This book, because of the comic strip style, would not be suitable for reading aloud to a class, or an individual child, but would be wonderful as an introduction to the mythology for more reluctant readers, or as a classroom resource. It is suitable for ages six and up.
Geronimo Stilton; The Curse of the Cheese Pyramid by Geronimo Stilton – This is the second book in the mystery/adventure series about Geronimo Stilton, a mouse journalist living in New Mouse City. In this book Geronimo is off to Egypt to find out about the seven wonders of the New Mouse World. These books are short and full of illustrations. They are humorous and a great way to get a reluctant child into reading. They are fun to read, but not particularly relevant to the topic in more than a tangential way. This book would be good to have in class as supplementary reading for children who are enthusiastic to explore more on their own. They are suitable for children between the ages of about six and twelve.
Shadow Hawk by Andre Norton – This book is currently out of print. Andre Norton was most well known for her science fiction work but did write other works, of which this is one. This book is a historical adventure story set in Ancient Egypt which weaves a fictional story around real happenings. It deals with a young Egyptian nobleman who has lost his position in the court of the Pharaoh, and who hopes to regain his power in a military plot against enemies of Egypt. It looks to be suitable for ten year olds and up.
Casting the Gods Adrift by Geraldine McCaughrean – This is an adventure story by the critically acclaimed writer Geraldine McCaughrean. It concerns two boys in the reign of the Pharaoh Akhenaten, whose father is commanded by the Pharaoh to bring him lots of animals. The boys are delighted at their father’s rise in the world until they realise that such an innocent request has more to it than meets the eye. This book is suitable for sevens and up, and at about 90 pages is the perfect length for guided reading sessions.
Miu and the Pharaoh by Sally Wallace-Jones – Miu is a palace garden cat who finds himself meeting the Pharaoh. The story tells about life in ancient Egypt through the eyes of one of its most revered creatures, the cat. It is also interesting because it looks at the daily life of a Pharaoh. This book is aimed at 8-12 year olds. At 48 pages long it is perfect for inclusion in lesson/term time as a teaching aid.
The Cat of Bubastes by G. A. Henty – This book is currently out of print, although there are second hand versions available. This was written in 1899, so would probably be too old fashioned for use in schools, as the language and pace tend to be an issue with older, ‘classic’ novels. The story concerns a young prince who becomes a slave when the Egyptians conquer his kingdom. He then becomes an outcast when his master accidentally kills a cat.
I Crocodile by Frederick Marcellino – This is a beautifully illustrated picture book which tells the story of an Egyptian crocodile who is absentmindedly sunning itself on the banks of the Nile when it is captured by Napoleon and taken to France. Whimsical and strange it is not really about ancient Egypt at all, but would make a fantastic pre school and early years introduction to the topic.
The Scarab’s Secret by Nick Would – Khepri is a scarab beetle. One day he meets Pharaoh and a friendship develops. Khepri finds out a devastating and dangerous secret about the pyramids. He needs to warn Pharaoh to save his life, but will Pharaoh listen? This is a beautifully illustrated original story about life in Ancient Egypt. Amazon reviews suggest it is suitable for primary children year four and five to use in class and that it could be simplified by teachers wishing to use it in lower year groups.
Pepi and the Secret Names by Jill Paton Walsh – This is the story of Prince Dhutmose who has commanded a pyramid be built for him. It is to be decorated by Pepi’s father, but how can Pepi’s father get all the information that he needs on the walls? This tale about heiroglyphics also comes with puzzles for children to solve. This book is a good classroom resource for children aged six to ten.
The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder -This is an American story set in the late 1960’s about a group of six disparate children who come together to find out about Egyptian mythology. They find a patch of waste land near an antiques shop where they create their own ‘Egypt’. There are elements of mystery in the book that give it some excitement. It is also great for giving children ideas for projects and games about Egypt they could play themselves. At over 200 pages it is probably too long for guided reading, but teachers may be able to use chapters or sections in their teaching. Suitable for ages 8 and up.
The Gold in the Grave by Terry Deary – This is one of a series called Egyptian Tales by Terry Deary, author of Horrible Histories. These are fictional stories with factual elements that are tied into the Horrible Histories series. In this story, villagers set out to foil grave robbers intent on stealing the treasures of Tutankhamen’s tomb. The stories in this series are short, at around sixty to seventy pages each. They are perfect for reading in classroom settings and are suitable for children aged six and up.
There’s a Pharaoh in Our Bath by Jeremy Strong – A funny book about a boy who is always caring for sick and injured animals, who finds an injured man covered in stinky bandages. Taking him home to look after him he finds that the man is actually a several thousand year old Pharaoh called Sennapod, who is on the run from grave robbers. This is a silly, but entertaining book by the popular children’s author of The Hundred Mile an Hour Dog and There’s a Viking in My Bed. Suitable for six year olds and up it would make a great guided reader for classrooms (128 pages) or perfect supplementary reading for children who are excited by the topic and want more material than is available in class. There is also a sequel called: ‘Let’s Do the Pharaoh’.
The Egyptian Cinderella by Shirley Climo – This is exactly what it says in the title. Rhodopis is a slave girl far away from her home and family. The only thing that makes her happy are a pair of beautiful slippers her master has bought her. One day one of her slippers is stolen by an eagle. She is heartbroken. The eagle meanwhile, drops the slipper in the lap of the Pharaoh, and he vows to find the woman it fits and make her queen of all Egypt. This is a beautifully illustrated picture book, suitable for children of all ages and would make an excellent introduction to the topic of Egypt for early years children. It can be used all the way through primary school, either as part of the topic of ancient Egypt or as part of a topic on fairy and folk tales.