What a joy it is to compile living book lists for children and adults alike! Homeschool has allowed us to dig into topics that my kids have had an interest in or has let me intentionally put out books about certain time periods or parts/countries around the world! Here is our list of Living Books for Roman History — we own many of these, but they are also available at your local library and many are still being published by independent publishers.
My children often love to read, study, and teach themselves! And what a rich childhood to be able to take an interest in a topic, and be able to learn more about it. Certainly, we have times when we are studying these parts of the world or times in history together, but there are always other times when their experiences will bring them to other topics. Let’s cultivate that and encourage their interest in learning!
Here is our Living Books List for History of Rome
ROMAN HISTORY (27 BC TO AD 467)
City: A Story of Roman Planning and Construction by David Macaulay: A story of how the Romans planned a city in the middle of the country! Architectural details on how buildings were constructed. Ages 7 – adult.
Pompeii…Buried Alive by Edith Kunhardt: The story of the explosion of Mt. Vesuvius as well as the recent discovery of the buried city and what is there today. Large print. Ages 5 – 9 yrs.
Augustus Caesar’s World by Genevieve Foster: Foster has an incredible way of weaving a story through historical events in her living books. She delights her audience in learning stories of Julius Caesar, Cleopatra, and Marc Antony, as well as historian Livy and how Virgil came to write the Aeneid. Foster takes readers all over the world to learn what was happening at this same time in China, Persia, India as well. Ages 10-18
The Children’s Plutarch: Tales of the Romans by F. J. Gould: Collection of stories of ancient Romans adapted from Plutarch’s Lives, and the characters of the historical figures chosen. Excellent as an introduction to the biographies of Plutarch. Includes three black and white illustrations as well. Ages 8 – 10
Romans is a wonderful reference book that takes a reader through maps, pictures, and diagrams to explore life in Roman times.
Caesar’s Gallic War by Olivia Coolidge: This powerful living text records the Gallic War from 58 to 51 B.C., and is narrated by a fictitious soldier in Caesar’s army. This is based on the important historical record left by the Romans, Julius Caesar’s Commentaries on the Gallic War.
Galen and the Gateway to Medicine by Jeanne Bendick: Readers meet Galen, medical researcher born in 129 A.D., whose work and writings would be revered by Christian and Muslim worlds alike. for the next 1300 years. The foundation of Galen’s work, a respect for the unity of the human person in body and spirit is center to his work. Excellent writing makes this historical account readable with lively text and illustrations. Ages 7 – 14.
The Forgotten Daughter by Caroline Dale Snedeker: A 1934 Newbery Honor book, this is the story of a slave whose father is a Roman citizen. A wonderful comparison of Greek and Roman culture, this is a heartwarming tale of loss and forgiveness.
Our Little Roman Cousin of Long Ago by Julia Darrow Cowles: The story of Marcus as he grows in the Roman Republic. The reader discovers much about life and customs in ancient Rome. Lessons in school, the Senate, farming, and the Romany army are all subjects. Ages 8-10
Our Little Carthaginian Cousin of Long Ago by Clara Vostrovsky Winlow: Through the story of Hanno, a boy of Carthage, we gain insight into the Carthaginians, a nation of sea-farers and traders, who accumulated wealth and power as Rome’s arch enemy. Ages 8-10
Beyond the Desert Gate by Mary Ray: This sequel to The Ides of April tells of the volatile and dangerous times in Palestine during AD 70. The book brings to life the time period of the Jews revolting against Roman authority while the Greek cities get caught in the middle.
Twice Freed by Patricia St. John: Story of a Roman slave, Onesimus, who longs for freedom as well as being in love with Eirene, his master’s daughter. He wants nothing to do with Jesus Christ, who His master, Philemon, follows. This book will captivate children and themes of forgiveness and perseverance make it a great read-aloud. Ages 7 – 11.
The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth Speare: A Newbery Award winner, set in Galilee in the time of Jesus, this is the dramatic story of a young Jewish rebel boy who is gradually won over by the gentle teachings of Jesus. Beautifully written and captivating, this story of redemption will strengthen your faith as well as your knowledge of the Roman oppression on Israel. Ages 10 and up.
The Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers is the best account I’ve read personally about Biblical Roman times. Watch out, because this trilogy cannot be put down until you are through. While fictional, it encounters Paul and John, however it should be read with caution as many realities are expounded upon: the depravity of sex, the horrors of pagan worship, temple prostitution, disease, gladiators, slavery, mysticism and much more; this is all written upon in a loving, non-explicit way by Rivers amazing prose, but it is realistic. The story of Hadassah, a Hebrew slave, will not be forgotten in your heart, as she encounters cruelty and injustice — along the way, Scripture is referenced throughout. After reading this, I finally feel as if I know some of what persecuted Christians faced in the early years of the church. Unbelievable. You will be changed after finishing this well-written series; I cannot recommend it more highly.
Which books did I miss? Any favorite books I should add for Roman History?