Booklist: Children's Books
What did the Romans do for us? The answer is a lot!
The Romans history topic is a popular one with children, and we've put together a list of recommended children's books about the Romans for exploring all sorts of interesting themes, from gladiators and gods to eruptions and emperors.
Click each book cover to view on Amazon.
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Escape from Pompeii Christina Balit Escape from Pompeii tells the story of a young boy called Tranio who lives in Pompeii at the time of the famous eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79. This captivating picture book allows readers to follow the footsteps of Tranio and his friend Livia as they come to terms with the destruction of their city and find their own routes to freedom. There is also an accompanying KS2History Planning Pack available. Buy on Amazon The Thieves of Ostia Caroline Lawrence A gripping novel that provides plenty of background information about life in Ancient Roman times. The plot of The Thieves of Ostia centres around a young girl called Flavia who investigates the mystery of who is killing the dogs in the Roman port of Ostia. This is a popular choice for KS2 classrooms and is part of the well-loved Roman Mysteries series. Buy on Amazon The Orchard Book Of Roman Myths Geraldine McCaughrean & Emma Chichester Clark The Orchard Book Of Roman Myths contains a selection of fifteen stories from Roman mythology retold for younger readers. The text in this collection is accompanied by bright illustrations and is excellent for linking story-telling and literacy with your history topic. Buy on Amazon Meet the Ancient Romans James Davies This is a really engaging non-fiction text about the Romans. Each page has a short chunk of text accompanied by simple, bold illustrations or infographics. We like the way this book is presented in a way that appeals to reluctant or younger readers without compromising on factual content. Buy on Amazon So You Think You've Got It Bad: A Kid's Life in Ancient Rome Chae Strathie & Marisa Morea Published in collaboration with The British Museum, this children's information book offers a humorous and informative introduction to daily life in Ancient Rome and has a high appeal to readers in KS2. The book compares modern-day life for children to different aspects of daily life for the Ancient Romans, including clothes and hairstyles, education, family life, pets, food and hobbies. The information is presented through speech bubbles, diagrams and bright cartoon-style illustrations as well as accessible chunks of text. This is the kind of book that helps young readers to move beyond hard facts and begin to reflect on what life might have felt like for those living in ancient times. Buy on Amazon Romans on the Rampage Jeremy Strong A super-fun novel that tells of the crazy adventures of Perilus, a Roman boy who dreams of riding chariots in the Circus Maximus. Romans on the Rampage is a laugh-out-loud story offering a bit of light relief and is perfect to read aloud to lower KS2. Buy on Amazon Defenders: Dark Arena Tom Palmer In the ‘Defenders’ series, best-selling author Tom Palmer brings together his passions for football and history in haunting stories that are ‘super-readable’ due to their accessible layout including a dyslexia-friendly font and tinted paper. In this story, football-lover Seth is interested in the new stadium being built by a Premier League football club, but it soon becomes apparent that something untoward is happening and the lives of the workers there are in danger. As Seth encounters the shadows of slaves from Roman times, he is forced to confront their own fears as horrible injustices in the present day mirror atrocities from the past. This story brings a really interesting dimension for pupils learning about Roman Britain and the way the Romans treated their slaves. Check out our recent blog post about the Defenders series to find out more. Buy on Amazon A Roman Adventure (The Histronauts) Frances Durkin & Grace Cooke This is a really engaging book that is a fun hybrid between graphic novel, activity book and information text. The story, told in graphic novel form, follows a group of friends who travel back in time and explore Ancient Rome. At various different points in the story there are relevant puzzles, fact boxes, activities and project ideas. This book has a high visual appeal and is a great addition to your library of Roman topic books. Buy on Amazon The Roman Quests: Escape from Rome Caroline Lawrence The first of Caroline Lawrence’s four Roman Quests, Escape from Rome is a completely gripping adventure filled with danger, excitement and some really gritty themes to get stuck into. Taking his siblings with him, twelve-year-old Juba is forced to flee Emperor Domitian in Rome and set off on a journey to find his uncle in Britannia (the edge of the known world). Uncertain who to trust, Juba’s leadership skills are tested as he uncovers a sinister secret about his uncle’s lifestyle, requiring Juba to act like his hero Aeneas and make some difficult but important decisions. Steeped in interesting historical details and covering some challenging themes including slavery and immigration, this story is abundantly thrilling from the very first page and we highly recommend it for Upper Key Stage 2. Also featured on: Reading For Pleasure Blog Buy on Amazon Roman Things to Make and Do (Usborne Activities) Leonie Pratt A colourful and accessible book of fun classroom projects, with easy-to-follow instructions that can also be used as examples of instructional texts in their own right. Projects include Roman armour, mosaics, an emperor's wealth and many more. Roman Things to Make and Do is an essential resource for bringing this topic to life. Buy on Amazon Avoid Being a Roman Soldier (The Danger Zone) David Stewart Fiction and non-fiction merge in this funny and cartoon-style guide to life as a Roman Solider. This is a good text to use for guided reading and it contains many conventional features of non-fiction texts, including a full glossary, captions and an index. Avoid Being a Roman Soldier has a popular appeal throughout KS2. Buy on Amazon What the Romans Did For Us Alison Hawes Written especially for less confident readers, this is part of a series of non-fiction texts that help pupils to research topics and find out information for themselves. Jam-packed with facts and information about the Romans, What the Romans Did For Us is great for independent reading and is a real gem for the classroom non-fiction collection Empire's End: A Roman Story, tells the tale of a young North African girl who sets out on a danger-filled journey to Britain during Roman times. This is a gripping adventure that offers a new perspective into the myriad of Roman narratives shared in schools. When Camilla, a young North African girl, travels with her mother and father from Leptis Magna to Rome in 207 AD, she believes that she is going to the centre of the world. But just a few months later, the little family is dispatched to the very edge of it: Britannica. Tragedy strikes and, left alone with the Empress while her father travels north, Camilla has to navigate the tricky world of secrets and danger in this cold place that she must now call home. Also features on: January 2020 Books of the Month