If you’re looking to read books for ancient history studies with your kids this year, this booklist is for you. It’s a short list of delightful picture book read-alouds for the whole family.

Why only picture books?

Well… because picture books are worthwhile for everyone. Your high schooler is likely to enjoy these books every bit as much as your first grader. And I bet you’ll learn a thing or two, as you’re reading along. ;)

If you happen to be short on time (am I the only one raising my hand here?), committing to reading aloud from a picture book is a whole lot easier than sitting down to read a novel or even a chapter book.

You’ll notice in the descriptions below that I’ve noted the general geographic location (or origin) of the story. I hope that helps you choose your read-alouds based on where you are in your studies.

Whether you’re learning about ancient Mesopotamia, Greece, Rome, or Egypt… we’ve collected our favorite picture books for you right here.

Click the play button below:

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Picture books for ancient history

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Listener Guide

Use the time stamps below to skip to any part of the podcast:

  • 1:36 Get the printable
  • 3:03 A short, delightful list
  • 5:12 Fables from Demi
  • 7:01 Ancient Greece
  • 10:00 Ancient Egypt
  • 13:14 Ancient Rome and Mesopotamia
  • 14:42 Tomie dePaola Bible stories and more
  • 15:34 Less is more
  • 16:29 Let the kids speak

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Quotes to remember:

Picture books can be especially informative, helpful, and beautiful. They reach us in a different place. They add an element of beauty. And really, the text in a picture book is only half of what you get. The illustrations lend the other half.”

“Let this be a way that you can dip into an enjoyable, historical read-aloud with your child, and connect with them.”

“We tried to choose what will have a really wide appeal in your home, a good chance for delight and connection, offer a good opportunity for conversations in your family, and appeal to a broad range of ages. I think all of the books on this list will do all of those things.”

(Download the transcript above for more quotes and pull-outs.)

Books from this episode:

(All links are Amazon affiliate links.)

The Empty Pot

The Empty Pot

$9.99

The story of a Chinese Emperor's challenge and a schoolboy's honesty. A delightful fable with Demi's classic illustrations.

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One Grain of Rice

One Grain of Rice

INDIA- a fable about a selfish raja who kept nearly all the people's rice for himself, and the clever girl who outwits him

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What’s Your Angle, Pythagoras?

What’s Your Angle, Pythagoras?

GREECE- a math adventure featuring a child Pythagorus, set in ancient Greece

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Pythagoras and the Ratios: A Math Adventure

Pythagoras and the Ratios: A Math Adventure

GREECE-a math adventure featuring a child Pythagorus, set in ancient Greece

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The Egyptian Cinderella

The Egyptian Cinderella

$7.99

EGYPT- an Egyptian spin on the classic Cinderella tale, initially recorded in the first century by a Roman historian and retold in picture book form by Shirley Climo

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Of Numbers and Stars

Of Numbers and Stars

$16.95

EGYPT- presents the life of Hypatia, who lived in fifth century Alexandria and became a respected scholar in mathematics and philosophy

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Gilgamesh the King (The Gilgamesh Trilogy)

Gilgamesh the King (The Gilgamesh Trilogy)

$8.95

MESOPOTAMIA- The story of Gilgamesh is said to be one of the oldest stories every recorded. This is the first picture book in a trilogy, retelling the epic of Gilgamesh for children.

 

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Mary: The Mother of Jesus

Mary: The Mother of Jesus

$16.95

BIBLE- a picture book biography about the Mother of Jesus, illustrated by Tomie dePaola (highly recommended)

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Pyramid

Pyramid

$9.95

EGYPT- David Macaulay's compelling and detailed account of how a Pyramid was made (highly recommended)

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City: A Story of Roman Planning and Construction

City: A Story of Roman Planning and Construction

$10.99

ROME- a visual feast and informative account of how a Roman City was built

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The Miracles of Jesus

The Miracles of Jesus

$7.99

BIBLE- the miracles of Jesus, illustrated by Tomie dePaola (highly recommended)

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Tomie dePaola’s Book of Bible Stories

Tomie dePaola’s Book of Bible Stories

$27.99

BIBLE- a collection of Bible stories lovingly illustrated by Tomie dePaola (highly recommended)

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D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths

D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths

$19.99

GREECE- a favorite collection of Greek Myths, retold and illustrated by the talented D'Aulaires

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Aesop’s Fables

Aesop’s Fables

GREECE- a collection of fables first told by the Greek slave & philosopher, Aesop, combined with lush, rich illustrations by Jerry Pinkney

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Mummies Made in Egypt (Reading Rainbow Books)

Mummies Made in Egypt (Reading Rainbow Books)

$7.99

EGYPT- a nonfiction look at the process of mummification; this one gets a little gruesome-- don't say I didn't' warn you!

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Picture books for ancient history

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