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Great History Books-Ancient World

World History Reading List
The Ancient World

Books on China, Israel, & Other Cultures,  c. 1000 - 4 BC

Several of the reading selections from this ancient era are from varied cultures. This is followed by a list of Ancient China, with books on the Great Wall & the Emporer who was buried with his personal terracotta army.

Israel & Judea hold their own exciting historical accounts, and the story of the Maccabees and Hanukkah is an amazing example.

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VARIED CULTURES ,  c. 1000 – 4 B.C.

Hannibal (First Book) by Robert Green. UE-JH+
One of the greatest military commanders in history, Hannibal led Carthage in their battles against Rome. This book is also listed in our section on Roman history. Robert Green's biographies are well–designed & comprehensive, with plenty of color & illustrations.

One Grain of Rice: A Mathematical Folktale by Demi. K-E
A folktale about a girl in India who gets food for her hungry village by outsmarting the greedy and selfish raja. History & math fun!

CHINA,  c. 1000 – 4 B.C.

Emperor's Silent Army: Terracotta Warriors of Ancient China by Jane O'Connor. Viking, 2002. UE+
Lots of photos and illustrations accompany the amazing story of the underground army that was buried c. 221 B.C. by one of China's earliest emporers and uncovered in 1974.

The Fourth Question: A Chinese Tale by Rosalind C. Wang, illus Ju-Hong Chen. Holiday House, 1991. E-UE
Fun story that also teaches kindness and respect for others, while portraying Chinese culture.

The Great Wall (Wonders of the World Book) by Elizabeth Mann, illus. Alan Witschonke. Mikaya Press, 1997. UE+
Surrounded with Chinese history, starting with the Mongol's persistent attacks, the text explains why the Wall was built (c. 221 B.C.) on to why it was stopped.

The Great Wall Of China by Leonard Everettt Fisher. E-UE
Short paragraphs and full-page, black-and-white illustrations make this a good read for the younger student. Chinese characters on the side of each page are translated in the back.

The Incredible Story of China's Buried Warriors (Frozen in Time) by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent. Benchmark Books, 2000. UE
This book is a little more "scholarly" than most listed on A Book In Time, but the subject is so fascinating that it must be included. Lots of words, but worth reading all of them, and good illustrations to go along.

The Journey of Meng: A Chinese Legend by Doreen Rappaport, illus. Yang Ming-Yi. Dial Books, 1991. *UE
An ancient Chinese tale; advanced picture book. *The story line is a little morbid and spooky-her husband dies building the wall, and she jumps into the ocean rather than marry the cruel emperor who was responsible for his death. It does, however, give insight into the forced labor and death accompanying the Wall's construction.

Lady of Ch'iao Kuo: Warrior of the South, Southern China, A.D. 531 (The Royal Diaries) by Laurence Yep. Scholastic, 2001. E-UE
This book is set in 531 AD, but is listed here as a source for Chinese history. Fictionalized diary of a real Chinese princess.

A Letter to the King by Leong Va, translated by James Anderson. HarperCollins, 1987. E-UE
Short child's picture book opens the door to ancient Chinese culture! Good story with plenty of historical details.

ISRAEL & JUDEA,  c. 1000 – 4 B.C.

The Book of Jonah by Peter Spier. K-E
Peter Spier's illustrations are in a class all their own. Fun!

Festival of Lights : The Story of Hanukkah by Maida Silverman, illus. Carolyn S. Ewing. K-E

God King: A Story in the Days of King Hezekiah by Joanne Williamson. Bethlehem Books, 2002. UE-HS
The Egyptian Prince Taharka (Kushite dynasty) fled to Judah after an attempt on his life c. 700 BC, where he encounters King Hezekiah. This story includes insight into Eyptian culture, especially concerning their superstitions and their gods.

Maccabees: The Story of Hanukkah (Animated Hero Classics). VIDEO. Schlessinger Media, 1995. E-UE
The history of Hanukkah is told with a cartoon-style story that kids will love.

Persia's Brightest Star: The Diary of Queen Esther's Attendant (Promised Land Diaries) by Anne Adams, illus. Dennis Edwards. Baker Books, 2003. E-UE

Queen Esther: The Morning Star by Mordicai Gerstein. Simon & Schuster, 2000. E-UE
Although some of the Biblical story has been embellished for added flair, the book is enchanting and colorfully illustrated.

Back to the main Ancient History Reading List

Suggested Reading Levels

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