Living Book Resource List for Ancient History

Once upon a time I thought that the only way to learn history was through a dry and dusty textbook. And, because I loved history, I put up with dry and dusty textbooks during my high school, college, and early teaching years. But when I discovered Charlotte Mason and living books as a young homeschooling mom, I realized that reading about history could be exciting, dramatic, and interesting.

Living books for ancient history

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Since my days of discovery, we’ve used a history-centered curriculum for most of our homeschooling years. We follow a cycle through history so that we cover a different time period each year. And the other parts of our curriculum- Bible, literature, science, art, music- are all centered around the historical time period that we’re studying.

We’ve primarily used My Father’s World to do this. I’ve also used TruthQuest. With each of these, we’ve learned about the time period by reading real, interesting, exciting, living books. This fits me perfectly because I love to read aloud. And, it fits the kids well because history is more fun this way than in reading a textbook and answering a few comprehension questions each day.

I’m down to only two children who are doing their core schoolwork with me. Ashlyne and Rachel are both middle schoolers this year. I’m holding on tight to these last couple of years of reading aloud and working together. We’re back to the beginning of the history cycle with ancient history this year, and I’ve been on the lookout for great living books to use in reading about ancient history.

One caveat about ancient history: When you’re studying ancient history, it really matters what your worldview and beliefs about creation and the beginning of the world are. I like to choose books that agree with a young earth, creationist view of the beginning and that focus on Biblical history. But, I don’t choose only those books. My children are older, and from the time they were in upper elementary school, I’ve read books from different viewpoints. This has given us good opportunity for discussions about different worldviews.

If you’re studying ancient history and want some great books that will make history alive and interesting, here’s a resource list. These books would be good for elementary and middle school students. Sometimes I’ve noted the worldview of a book if it matters in the context of the book.

Living books list for ancient history

Creation and Early Cultures

Dinosaurs of Eden: Did Adam and Noah Live With Dinosaurs? by Ken Ham (creation-based)

Guide to Dinosaurs from the Institute for Creation Research (creation-based)

Life in the Great Ice Age by Michael and Beverly Oard (creation-based)

The Sumerians by Jane Shuter

DK Eyewitness Books: Mesopotamia by Philip Steele

Ancient Egypt

Pyramid by David Macaulay

Mummies Made in Egypt by Aliki

Tirzah by Travis Lucille

The Great Pyramid: The Story of the Farmers, the God-King and the Most Astounding Structure Ever Built by Elizabeth Mann

Kubla Kahn: The Emperor of Everything by Kathleen Krull

Ancient Greece

The Children’s Homer: The Adventure of Odysseus and the Tale of Troy by Padraic Colum

Ancient Greece by Sandra Newman

The Trojan Horse: How the Greeks Won the War by Emily Little

If I Were a Kid in Ancient Greece: Children of the Ancient World

DK Eyewitness Books: Ancient Greeks by Anne Pearson

You Wouldn’t Want to Be a Slave in Ancient Greece by Fiona MacDonald

D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths by Ingri d’Aulaire

Ancient Rome

Roman Diary: The Journey of Iliona, a Young Slave by Richard Platt

City: A Story of Roman Planning and Construction by David Macaulay

Augustus Caesar’s World by Genevieve Foster

Life in Ancient Rome by John Green and William Kaufman (Dover Coloring Book)

DK Eyewitness Books: Ancient Rome by Simon James

Ancient Rome: An Interactive History Adventure by Rachael Hanel

General Books About Ancient Cultures and World History Study

Archaeology for Kids: Uncovering the Mysteries of the Past, 25 Activities

Usborne Time Traveler

Usborne Internet- Linked Ancient World by Fiona Chandler

The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child: Volume 1: Ancient Times: From the Earliest Nomads to the Last Roman Emperor by Susan Wise Bauer

Ready to get excited reading about ancient history?

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