Ancient history books

Ancient Rome Books for Kids, c. 400 BC – 400 AD

Find the best kids Ancient Rome books about exciting topics like Pompeii! Or read about the fabulous Roman architecture, aquaducts, and roads.

Much of the Roman era includes fairly serious topics, with Caesar, Cleopatra, and gladiators fighting to the death. To add a lighter twist to your classroom, add a few Asterix books, or for the older students, give them a book from the Detectives in Togas series!

If appropriate, some Ancient Rome books are designated as Rome in Britain before their descriptions.

Ancient Rome Books: c. 400 B.C. – 400 A.D.

The Adventures of Asterix Series by Rene Goscinny. E-UE+
Every kid loves Asterix! The comic book series is based on the Romans and the Gauls for lighthearted history fun, with a myriad of titles to choose from.

Augustus Caesar’s World by Genevieve Foster. 1947. UE-JH
Told in story format, this chronicles key figures during Caesar’s lifetime.

Ben-Hur (Oxford World’s Classics) by Lew Wallace. HS

Beyond the Desert Gate by Mary Ray. Bethlehem Books. JH-HS

Blood of the Martyrs: How the Slaves in Rome Found Victory in Christ (Christian Epics) by Naomi Mitchison. JH-HS

Brave Cloelia: Retold from the Account in the History of Early Rome by the Roman Historian Titus Livius by Jane Louise Curry, illus. Jeff Crosby. The J. Paul Getty Museum, 2004. E-UE
A picture book for an older child. The story originates from the ancient historian Livy’s History of Early Rome and is set in the pre-Roman era when the Estrucans were fighting the Romans for power.

The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare. Houghton Mifflin. UE-JH
Newbery Medal. Driven by intense hatred for the Romans, Daniel wants to overthrow them. Will Jesus’ teachings change his mind?

The Buried City of Pompeii (I Was There Series) by Shelley Tanaka, illus. Greg Ruhl. Hyperion/Madison Press, 1997. E-UE
Travel back to A.D. 79 in this fictional story of one person’s experiences on the day of Vesuvius’ eruption. Each page is illustrated with photos of ruins of Pompeii alongside drawings of what these places probably looked liked back then. Recommended.

The Charioteer’s Son by Stephanie Baudet, illus. Gillian Marklew. Anglia Young Books, 2004. E-UE
Rome in Britain. This action-adventure, short chapter book is set in Roman-occupied Britain in the 4th century, and weaves a great deal of history into its 7 chapters. The story-telling is great, and the Epilogue explains a little more about the setting and events. Recommended.

City: A Story of Roman Planning and Construction by David Macaulay. UE-HS
You can’t read this book without being amazed! Explains the building techniques behind Roman roads, aqueducts, apartments, etc. Fascinating information. Two-color, intricate illustrations.

Cleopatra by Robert Green. UE-JH+
Robert Green’s biographies are well-designed & comprehensive, with plenty of color & illustrations.

Cleopatra by Stanley & Vennema. E-JH+
Full-page, color illustrations and a wealth of information on each page, written more as a story than a factual biography.

Cleopatra VII: Daughter of the Nile, Egypt, 57 B.C. (The Royal Diaries) by Kristiana Gregory. Scholastic. E-UE

Detectives in Togas by Henry Winterfeld, illus. Charlotte Kleinert. (Sequel is Mystery of the Roman Ransom) E-JH
Have fun with history in these stories of seven boys who solve a mystery in ancient Rome!

The Eagle of the Ninth & The Silver Branch (Eagle of the Ninth) & The Lantern Bearers (Eagle of the Ninth) by Rosemary Sutcliff. JH+
Rome in Britain. The first of these 3 books of adventure is set about AD 120, and the last AD 800, giving the reader a thorough perspective of the crumbling, and final collapse, of the Roman Empire in Britain

Forbidden Gates: A Story of Stephen, the First Martyr (God’s Tough Guys.) by Denise J. Williamson, illus. Joe Boddy. UE-JH

Fountain of Life by Rebecca Martin. UE-JH
The story of a young boy’s quest to meet Jesus introduces the reader to the Jewish culture of the time.

Galen: My Life in Imperial Rome by Marissa Moss. Harcourt, 2002. UE-JH
A handwritten journal of a fictional slave entertainingly tells of Augustus, his daughter Julia, and his grandson Agrippa Postumus. Good resource for understanding Roman lifestyle (including chariot racing), the role of slavery in Rome, and a taste of the corruption creeping in (the married Julia had many boyfriends and was plotting to kill her husband). Adventure and suspense with a happy ending.

The Greenleaf Guide to Famous Men of Rome by Cynthia Shearer. UE-JH+

Hannibal (First Book) by Robert Green. UE-JH+
One of the greatest military commanders in history, Hannibal led Carthage in their fight against Rome. Robert Green’s biography of Hannibal is well-designed & comprehensive, with plenty of color & illustrations.

Herod the Great by Robert Green. UE-JH+
Robert Green’s biographies are well-designed & comprehensive, with plenty of color & illustrations.

The Ides of April (Roman Empire Sequence.) by Mary Ray. JH-HS

Julius Caesar (First Book) by Robert Green. Franklin Watts, 1996. UE-JH+
Well-designed biography reveals Caesar in depth, with plenty of color and illustrations.

Pompeii…Buried Alive! (Step into Reading, Step 4) by Edith Kunhardt Davis, illus. Michael Eagle. E
A captivating tale enhanced with color illustrations. Great for beginning readers.

The Robe by Lloyd C. Douglas. Mariner Books, 1942. JH-HS
Classic story centered on the Roman soldier who won Jesus’ robe at the crucifixion.

Rome Antics by David Macaulay. Houghton Mifflin, 1997. E-UE
Follow a pigeon as it flies through ancient ruins in modern Rome. Black & white drawings. Very little text, although more detailed explanations of particular sites are given briefly in the back.

Romulus and Remus (Ready to Read , Level 2) by Anne Rockwell. E
The myth of the founding of Rome for the beginning reader.

Runaway by Patricia St. John. UE-JH
Fictional story set during Christ’s ministry.

Simon of Cyrene: The Man Who Carried the Cross of Christ (Christian Epics) by Frans Venter. HS

StoryKeepers Collection, Volume 1. VIDEO/DVD. Focus on the Family, Zondervan, 1996. K-UE
Kids love these cartoon-style adventures set in Rome during Nero’s rule when it was dangerous to be a Christian. The main characters are part of the group that gathers to hear about Jesus of Nazareth, giving them the name of “Storykeepers.” Other volumes, as well as a Teacher’s Resource, are also available. Recommended.

Through Time: Pompeii: One Roman City, One House,…More Than 2,000 Years of Change by Richard Platt. Kingfisher, 2007. E-UETwice Freed by Patricia St. John. Moody Press. UE-JH
Fictionalized account of Onesimus and the biblical book of Philemon.

Vinegar Boy: A Young Boy’s Dramatic Encounter with Christ on the Cross by Alberta Hawse. Moody Press. UE+

You Wouldn’t Want to Be a Roman Gladiator!: Gory Things You’d Rather Not Know by John Malam, illus. David Antram. Franklin Watts, 2003. E-UE
A comical way to learn a lot! Entertaining with fun illustrations, yet still packed with information.

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