Nonfiction Monday: Ancient Egypt

Leo's second grade class has been studying ancient civilizations this spring, beginning with Imperial China in February.  They recently wrapped up (pun!) a unit on Ancient Egypt.  Here's a small selection of the Egypt books we read at home:


Mummies, Pyramids, and Pharoahs: A Book About Ancient Egypt by Gail Gibbons (Little, Brown Young Readers, 2004).  A Gibbons book is always a great place to start.  Leo read this one to Milly; it was her favorite.

The following three books are each part of a series that includes titles about other ancient civilizations, medieval Europe, and/or peoples of the Americas.

  • Ms. Frizzle's Adventures: Ancient Egypt by Joanna Cole; illustrated by Bruce Degen (Scholastic, 2001).  Ms. Frizzle is an old friend of ours; here she shifts her focus from science to social studies.  There are two other titles in this series (Imperial China and Medieval Castle); we hope there will be more.
  • How to Be an Egyptian Princess by Jacqueline Morley (National Geographic Children's Books, 2006).  The books in this series address the reader in the second person and conclude with an "interview" to determine his (or her, in this case) qualifications for the job.
  • The Egyptian News by Scott Steedman (Candlewick).  The History News books are very clever; Leo loves them all.  [Aside: I wonder how long the newspaper format will be recognizable to kids?  At least we still take a print copy of the Washington Post and read it over breakfast.

Finally, we highly recommend The 5,000-Year-Old Puzzle: Solving a Mystery of Ancient Egypt by Claudia Logan; illustrated by Melissa Sweet (Melanie Kroupa, 2002).  Fiction and nonfiction intersect in both text (a fictional family joins an archeological expedition to Giza, 1924) and illustrations.  I love Melissa Sweet's work; here she combines "acrylic and watercolor as well as collage including stamps, postcards, and archival documents and newspapers" (from back flap).  This book was produced with the cooperation of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, whose collection of Egyptian art includes artifacts from the same expedition to Giza.  Maybe we'll visit this summer (the MFA, not Giza!).


[N.b., I'm not an Egyptophile.  And Leo, while interested in all the ancient civilizations (he now wants to be a history professor), definitely prefers the Greeks and Romans.  Thankfully, because I think I've read enough about Egypt for awhile.]