20+ Books for Studying Ancient Egypt

August 22, 2017

When it comes to supplemental history resources for kids, Egypt hit the jackpot! For some ancient civilizations, it's slim pickings—you're just happy to find something on topic. Not so with ancient Egypt! Egypt has the opposite problem, which resources do you choose? Today I'm going to be focusing on some of my favorite children's books about Ancient Egypt. Next time, I'll explore some of the many Egypt themed activities you can do. 

This post is broken into sections, depending on which chapter of Snapshots of Ancient History the book would go with best. 

General Books

These are books that don't focus on any one period in Egyptian history, so they would be suitable to read along with any of the Ancient Egypt chapters in Snapshots of Ancient History, but work well as introductory material to accompany chapter 4. 


1. National Geographic Kids: Everything Ancient Egypt. This book covers many aspects of Egyptian history and has dozens of high quality photographs, so your kids can get a close look at what Egypt really looks like. 


2. Horrible Histories: The Awesome Egyptians. In another installment from the Horrible Histories series, The Awesome Egyptians isn't nearly so gruesome or heavy on the brain jokes as The Savage Stone Age. It's full of quite a lot of interesting tidbits of information and has sections that would compliment all the different Egyptian chapters in Snapshots of Ancient History

Pssst, Horrible Histories and many of the other books on this list have been through multiple editions. If you don't mind buying used, you can score an older edition for just a couple bucks. Thriftbooks.com is my favorite used book retailer. 


3. Ms. Frizzle's Adventures in Ancient Egypt. Like Magic School Bus? Apparently when she's not teaching science, Ms. Frizzle goes on time travelling vacations to the past. This book would serve as a great introduction to the study of Ancient Egypt as it offers a solid overview of daily life in Ancient Egypt, the Pharaoh, and the Egyptian belief in the afterlife. 

Pyramids, Mummies and Religion

Chapters 8 and 9 in Snapshots of Ancient History focus on Egyptian religious beliefs, mummies, and pyramids. This is the era of Egyptian history where children's resources abound! You'll either need to choose wisely what you want to focus on or your house is going to end up drowning in Egyptian books (but that's not a bad thing!). 



4. Ancient Egypt: Tales of Gods and Pharaohs. I really love the vivid drawings and semi-comic book layout of this book. It has a lot of visual interest to pique children's interest in the stories of Ancient Egypt. 


5. Tales from Ancient Egypt. This is a popular prose retelling of many Egyptian myths, both the foundational myths like the stories of Ra, Isis and Osiris, and more folklore-ish tales like The Treasure Thief and The Girl with the Red-Rose Slipper. This book might be a little dry for some younger students or those not particularly interested in Egyptians myths. 

6. Treasury of Egyptian Mythology: Classic Stories of Gods, Goddesses, Monsters & Mortals. This is a beautifully illustrated volume of Egyptian stories from National Geographic Kids. The pictures alone will get your child interested in Egyptian mythology. 



7. Anubis Speaks: A Guide to the Afterlife by the Egyptian God of the Dead. Do you have a kiddo that's a little Tim Burton in training? Because I do! He's into everything dark and creepy. He snuggles with a zombie at night and Halloween is a year-long celebration. So a detailed guide to the Egyptian afterlife is his idea of awesome. If your kiddo is anything like mine, this book is a great resource. (There's a Greek and Norse version of this book too, just in case you need even more underworld facts.)


8. Magic Tree House: Mummies in the Morning (#3). My kids really enjoy the Magic Tree House books. I must say after listening to around ten books in a row on a long car trip, I'm slightly less enthusiastic about them. They're great first chapter books for budding readers, but also work well as a read aloud. 


9. Mummies and Pyramids: A Nonfiction Companion to Magic Tree House #3 Mummies in the Morning. Whether or not you read Mummies in the Morning, this nonfiction companion book is an engaging resource for kids full of exciting facts about Ancient Egypt. 


10. The Great Pyramid. This book is an in-depth exploration of the construction of the Great Pyramid of Giza. It includes beautiful watercolors, photographs, and fictional sections to help pull children in. 


11. Where Are the Great Pyramids? I love the Who Was/Where Are/What Is series because they're cheap, engaging, and have a lower reading level. My kids aren't up to this reading level yet, but I like having things on my shelf they'll be able to read on their own soon. 


12. You Wouldn't Want to Be An Egyptian Mummy! and You Wouldn't Want to Be a Pyramid Builder! are both books from the popular You Wouldn't Want to Be series about Ancient Egypt. If your kiddo likes weird, gross facts, these are great books to read. 


13. Ancient Egypt: An Interactive History Adventure. I stumbled across this book at my library and my kids really enjoyed it. It was actually the first chose your own adventure book they'd ever read. In this book you get to make choices as an ordinary Egyptian. Are you going to help build a pyramid or explore life during Cleopatra's era? What will you do when your coworker encourages you to steal from the pharaoh? Most Egyptian books focus on the pharaoh and life for the richest people in Egypt. This book lets your kiddo identify with a more ordinary Egyptian. 


14. National Geographic Readers. I love the National Geographic early readers. They were my kids first exposure to nonfiction reading. For Ancient Egypt, they have a level 2 reader called Mummies, which covers several types of mummies (with real picture—squeamish beware!). They also have a level 1 reader called Pyramids. (The Pyramids book discusses the discovery of Tutankhamun, so it would also work to read it with chapter 14 in Snapshots of Ancient History.) To round out the selection of National Geographic leveled readers, there is a level 3 reader called Ancient Egypt, which covers Egypt in a broader fashion. 

Hatshepsut and Tutankhamun 

Chapter 13 in Snapshots of Ancient History is all about the Pharaoh Hatshepsut and the many wonders she built, while chapter 14 is about King Tut and the discovery of his tomb. The following books can help deepen and expand your study of these two important leaders. 


15. Hatshepsut: The First Female Pharaoh. If your kiddo is fascinated by the Pharaoh Hatshepsut, this biography provides even more details about the great female ruler. 

16. How the Sphinx Got to the Museum. This is a delightful picture book with a catchy rhythm all about how a sphinx of the Pharaoh Hatshepsut ended up in the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art thousands of years later. If you're lucky enough to live near the Met, this would be the perfect book to read before heading off to visit their impressive Egyptian collection. 


17. King Tut's Mummy: Lost and Found. This Level 4 readers let's early readers explore the wonders of King Tut on their own. 


18. Who Was King Tut? The popular Who Was series provides a deeper look at the famous pharaoh. 


19. You Wouldn't Want to be Tutankhamen and You Wouldn't Want to be Cursed by King Tut are two more books from the You Wouldn't Want to Be series providing weird, creepy facts.


20. The 5,000 Year Old Puzzle. This is a really engaging children's picture book based on historical documents that let kids imagine what it would be like to solve an ancient Egyptian mystery. 



Wow, that was a lot! The book options for studying ancient Egypt are seemingly endless. I hope this list gives you some good ideas of what to read without totally overwhelming you. Don't forget to hit up your local library when studying Egypt. They're sure to have lots of books to choose from. 


Check back soon for my next post about Ancient Egypt activities. 


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