Historical Fiction

V. Historical Fiction


I am the Mummy Heb-Nefert, by Eve Bunting, Illus. David Christiana.
Harcourt Brace, 1997. Ages 9-12. ISBN 0152004793.
 
The Magic Tree House series, by Mary Pope Osborne, Illus. Sal Murdocca.
Published by Random House. These are designated as reading level 2.2-3 (second- third grade), and are much beloved by preschool through younger elementary age children, either as a read-aloud or easy reader. There are pleasant black and white illustrations every few pages. The protagonists, Jack and Annie, travel through time and space with the help of a magic treehouse. Titles covering the ancient world are #3, Mummies in the Morning (1993; ISBN 0-590-62984-0); #13, Vacation Under the Volcano (1998; ISBN 0-679-99050), and #16, Hour of the Olympics (1998; ISBN 0679890629) The series has a web site, http://www.randomhouse.com/magictreehouse/.
 
A Place in the Sun, by Jill Rubalcaba.
Clarion Books, 1997. ISBN 0395826454. Ages 9-12. Set in Ancient Egypt.
 
The Prince and the Golden Axe: A Minoan Tale, by Deborah Nourse Lattimore.
Harper & Row, 1988. ISBN 0-06-023715-5. "Summary: A proud Minoan prince challenges the goddess Diktynna, who first offers him rewards for his courage but then threatens to destroy Thera, his homeland, when his boasting angers her." Minoan fresco-inspired illustrations.
 
The Roman Mysteries, by Caroline Lawrence.
Orion Children's Books, London.
My fifth-grade son read the first book of this series, The Thieves of Ostia, and enjoyed it greatly. The setting is the port of Rome in AD 79. Four kids work together to solve the mystery: Flavia Gemina, the daughter of a sea-captain; Jonathan, a Jewish boy who is secretly a Christian; Nubia, an African slave girl; and Lupus, a homeless boy who is mysteriously mute. Thieves of Ostia is scheduled to be published in the US in February 2002 (ISBN 0761326022); the first two books of the series are currently available in the UK, and the first five books should be available by the end of 2002. Each will be published in the US with a lag of about a year. 
Book two: The Secrets of Vesuvius
Flavia and her friends sail to spend August near Pompeii. As they help admiral Pliny solve a riddle, tremors shake the ground: Mount Vesuvius is about to erupt!
Book three: The Pirates of Pompeii
Children begin to go missing from a camp full of refugees from the eruption of Vesuvius. As Flavia and her friends investigate, the trail of danger leads them to Sorrento.
Book four: The Assassins of Rome
This mystery takes the four friends to Rome where they visit the Circus Maximus, the Palatine Hill and the Golden House of Nero, and face a deadly assassin. They also learn the terrible story of the destruction of Jerusalem ten years before.
Book five: The Dolphins of Laurentum
At the opulent marine villa of Pliny the Younger, Flavia and her friends dive for sunken treasure, swim with dolphins and learn the terrible truth of Lupus's past.
Book six: The Twelve Tasks of Flavia Gemina
When a Roman widow begins to show interest in Captain Geminus during the Saturnalia, his daughter Flavia and her friends have to find out if she is just after his money. And there is a lion on the loose!
The series has a web site with more information and activities: http://www.romanmysteries.com/.
 
The Winged Cat: A Tale of Ancient Egypt, by Deborah Nourse Lattimore.
Harper Trophy, 1995. ISBN 0064434249.
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