Children's Books about Ancient History

Here's a list of children's picture books and chapter books for ancient history arranged on a timeline. This list of books covers the time period from the creation of the world through the fall of the Roman Empire.

Most of the dates for events in ancient history are subject to scholarly debate. I have attempted to provide approximate dates on this timeline that are widely accepted. Knowing the exact dates for ancient history is not nearly as important as having a general idea of when things happened, and the order in which they may have taken place.

Using a timeline when reading children's books about history can help you make connections between historical events. I find it interesting that around the time that Deborah was judge in Israel, Greek armies may have been invading Troy. Jonah was sitting in a whale not long before or after the ancient Greeks were competing in their first Olympic games. Confucius died in China the same year that Esther was crowned queen in Persia. Making connections between people and events helps bring history to life.


The Beginning - God Creates the Heavens and the Earth

In the Beginning, Adapted by Alison Greengard, Illustrated by Carol Racklin-Siegel

Children's Book and Other Resources for Teaching about Creation


The Great Flood

Noah's Ark, by Jerry Pinkney

Noah's Ark, by Jerry Pinkney


The Tower of Babel

The Tower of Babel, adapted by Alison Greengard, illustrated by Carol Racklin-Siegel

The Tower of Babel, adapted by Alison Greengard, illustrated by Carol Racklin-Siegel


c. 4500 B.C. - The Sumerians build ziggurats as temples to worship their gods.

You Wouldn't Want to be a Sumerian Slave, by Jacqueline Morley

You Wouldn't Want to be a Sumerian Slave: A Life of Hard Labor You'd Rather Avoid, by Jacqueline Morley, illustrated by David Antram


c. 3100 B.C. - King Narmer (also known as King Menes) unites Upper and Lower Egypt.

The Story of the World, Volume 1: Chapter 2


c. 3000 B.C. - Work begins on Stonehenge in England

Stonehenge, by Cynthia Kennedy Henzel

Stonehenge (Troubled Tresures: World Heritage Series), by Cynthia Kennedy Henzel

Children's Book and Resources for Teaching about Stonehenge


c.3000 - 1700 B.C. Indus Valley Civilization

Building History: Indus Valley City, by Gillian Clements

Building History: Indus Valley Civilization, by Gillian Clements


c. 3000 - 1400 B.C. - The Minoan Civilization flourishes on the island of Crete

A-Maze-Ing Minotaur, by Juliet Rix

A-MAZE-ING Minotaur, by Juliet Rix, illustrated by Juliet Snape

Resources for Teaching about Ancient Minoans


c. 2550 B.C. - The Great Pyramid of Giza is built under the direction of Pharaoh Khufu (also known as Cheops).

The Great Pyramid, by Elizabeth Mann

The Great Pyramid, by Elizabeth Mann


c. 2500 B.C. - The Great Sphinx is built in Egypt

Secrets of the Sphinx, by James Cross Giblin

Secrets of the Sphinx, by James Cross Giblin, illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline


c. 2090 B.C. - God calls Abram to leave Ur

Lech Lecha: The Journey of Abraham and Sarah, by Alison Greengard

Genesis 12

Lech Lecha: The Journey of Abraham and Sarah, adapted by Alison Greengard, illustrated by Carol Racklin-Siegel


c. 1850 B.C. -  Joseph is vizier of Egypt

Joseph, by Brian Wildsmith

Genesis 41

Joseph, by Brian Wildsmith


c. 1792 B.C. - Hammurabi becomes king in Babylon

Hammurabi: Babylonian Ruler, by Christine Mayfield

Hammurabi: Babylonian Ruler, by Christine Mayfield


c. 1550-1500 B.C. - Pharaoh's daughter finds a Hebrew baby floating in a basket in the Nile and adopts him. She names him Moses.

The Moses Basket, by Jenny Koralek

The Moses Basket, by Jenny Koralek, illustrated by Pauline Baynes

Children's book and resources for learning about Moses


c. 1479 B.C. - Hatshepsut becomes Pharaoh of Egypt

Hatshepsut, His Majesty, Herself, by Catherine M. Andronik

Hatshepsut, His Majesty, Herself by Catherine M. Andronik, illustrated by Joseph Daniel Fiedler

Mara, Daughter of the Nile, bu Eloise Jarvis McGraw

Mara, Daughter of the Nile, by Eloise Jarvis McGraw


c. 1446 B.C. - Moses leads the Hebrews out of Egypt

Exodus, by Brian Wildsmith

Exodus, by Brian Wildsmith


c. 1406 B.C. - Jericho falls. Israel begins conquering Canaan under the command of Joshua.

Joshua: Chapter 6


c. 1391 - 1354 B.C. - Amenhotep III is pharoah of Egypt

The Golden Goblet, by Eloise Jarvis McGraw

The Golden Goblet, by Eloise Jarvis McGraw


c. 1332 B.C. - Tutankhamen becomes pharaoh of Egypt

Tutankhamen's Gift, by Robert Sabuda

Tutankhamen's Gift, written and illustrated by Robert Sabuda
Tutankhammun (Usborne Young Reader), by Gill Harvey


c. 1200 B.C. - Deborah is judge in Israel

Hittite Warrior, by Joanne Williamson

Hittite Warrior, by Joanne Williamson


c. 1200 - 1184 B.C. - The Legend of the Trojan Horse: The Trojan War ends as the city of Troy falls to invading Greek armies

The Trojan Horse, by Warwick Hutton

The Trojan Horse. retold and illustrated by Warwick Hutton


c. 1025 B.C. - David kills Goliath

David and Goliath, by Leonard Everett Fisher

David and Goliath, adapted from the Bible and illustrated by Leonard Everett Fisher

Children's book and resources for learning about David


Late 700s B.C. - Jonah is sent by God to prophesy the destruction of Ninevah

Book of Jonah, by Peter Spier

The Book of Jonah, by Peter Spier


776 B.C. - The first Olympics are held in Olympia, Greece

The First Olympics of Ancient Greece, by Lisa M. Bolt Simons

The First Olympics of Ancient Greece, by Lisa M. Bolt Simons


753 B.C. - Rome founded by Romulus and Remus

Romulus and Remus, by Anne Rockwell

Romulus and Remus, by Anne Rockwell


701 B.C. - During the reign of King Hezekiah of Judah, Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, launches a major attack against Judah, but fails to take Jerusalem. Before the battle, Isaiah sends word to Hezekiah that the Lord has heard his prayers and will defend the city. The Angel of the Lord kills 185,000 Assyrians in their camp, and Sennarcherib withdraws to Ninevah, where he is killed by his sons.

God King: A Story in the Days of King Hezekiah, by Joanne Williamson

2 Kings chapters 18-19

God King: A Story in the Days of King Hezekiah, by Joanne Williamson


586 B.C. - King Nebuchadnezzar II captures Jerusalem. He destroys Solomon's Temple, and sends most of the people to Babylon to serve as slaves.

The Babylonians: Life in Ancient Babylon, by Martha E. H. Rustad, illustrated by Samuel Hiti

II Kings 25: 1-21

The Babylonians: Life in Ancient Babylon, by Martha E. H. Rustad, illustrated by Samuel Hiti


c. 563 B.C. - Siddhartha Gautama is born. He later becomes known as The Buddha.

Siddhartha Gautama: The Buddha, by Lisa Zamosky

Siddhartha Gautama: The Buddha, by Lisa Zamosky


551 B.C. - Confucius is born. He lives until 479 B.C. (the same year that Esther is crowned queen in Persia).

Confusius, by Demi

Confucius: Great Teacher of China, by Demi

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550 B.C. - Cyrus the Great overthrows the Median emperor and establishes the Persian Empire

Exploring the Persian Empire, by Peggy Caravantes

Exploring the Persian Empire, by Peggy Caravantes

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539 B.C. - Cyrus the Great conquers Babylon. He decrees that Jewish exiles may return to Jerusalem and rebuild their Temple.


515 B.C. - The Second Temple is built in Jerusalem.

The Temple at Jerusalem: From Solomon to Herod and Beyond

Ezra 6

The Temple at Jerusalem: From Solomon to Herod and Beyond, by Jacqueline Morley and John James


490 B.C. - The Battle of Marathon - The Greeks defeat the invading forces of Persian King Darius in Marathon, Greece.

The First Marathon: The Legend of Pheidippides, by Susan Renolds

The First Marathon: The Legend of Pheidippides by Susan Renolds, illustrated by Daniel Minter


480 B.C. - Battle of Thermopylae - After being held back for three days, the Persian army, led by Xerxes I, defeats King Leonidas' army of 300 Spartans and about 1700 other Greek soldiers at the mountain pass at Thermopylae, Greece

300 Heroes: The Battle of Thermopylae, by Terri Dougherty

300 Heroes: The Battle of Thermopylae, by Terri Dougherty


c. 479 B.C. - Esther becomes queen in Persia

Esther: The Brave Queen, by Carine Mackenzie

Esther: The Brave Queen, by Carine Mackenzie, illustrated by Duncan McLaren


437 B.C. - Construction begins on the Parthenon

Parthenon, by Lynn Curlee

Parthenon, bu Lynn Curlee


331 B.C. - Alexander the Great founds the city of Alexandria in Egypt

Alexander the Great, by Andrew Langley

Alexander the Great, by Andrew Langley


c. 300 B.C. - Euclid, a Greek mathematician. writes Euclid's Elements, the first great book on geometry.

Euclid: The Man Who Invented Geometry by Shoo Rayner

Euclid: The Man Who Invented Geometry, by Shoo Rayner


c. 240 B.C. -  Eratosthenes calculates the earth's circumference

The Librarian Who Measured the Earth, by Kathryn Lasky

The Librarian Who Measured the Earth, by Kathryn Lasky, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes


221 B.C. – Qin Shi Huang becomes the first emperor of a unified China. He orders a number of existing walls along the northern border of China be joined into a single wall to  protect China against attacks from the north.

Qin She Huangdi, by Peggy Pancella

Qin Shi Huangdi, by Peggy Pancella

The Great Wall of China, by Leonard Everett Fisher

The Great Wall of China, by Leonard Everett Fisher


218 B.C. - Hannibal leads his  Carthaginian army, along with 37 elephants, over the Alps and into Italy during the Second Punic War between Rome and Carthage.

Hannibal and His 37 Elephants, by Marilyn Hirsh

Hannibal and His 37 Elephants, by Marilyn Hirsh
Hannibal, by Robert Green


165 B.C. - The Maccabees rededicate the Temple of Jerusalem to the Lord after it was defiled by the Greeks.

The Story of Hanukkah, by David A. Adler

The Story of Hanukkah, by David A. Adler


130 B.C. - The Silk Road, a network of trade routes in China, is officially opened.

We're Riding on a Caravan: An Adventure on the Silk Road, by Laurie Krebs and Helen Cann

We're Riding on a Caravan: An Adventure on the Silk Road, by Laurie Krebs and Helen Cann

The Silk Route: 7000 Miles of History by John S. Major

The Silk Route: 7000 Miles of History, by John S. Major, illustrated by Stephen Fieser


73 B.C. - Spartacus, a gladiator from Thrace, Greece,  leads a slave revolt to fight for freedom

The Roman Gladiators, by Louis Park and Timothy Love

The Roman Gladiators, by Louise Park and Timothy Love


51 B.C. - Cleopatra becomes co-regent of Egypt with her 10-year-old brother Ptolemy XIII

Cleopatra, by Diane Stanley and Peter Vennema

Cleopatra, by Diane Stanley and Peter Vennema, illustrated by Diane Stanley


January 10, 49 B.C. - Julius Caesar crosses the Rubicon River with a legion of his soldiers, which starts a civil war within Rome

March 15, 44 B.C. - Julius Caesar is killed at the Senate in Rome

Julius Caesar, by Rachel Firth

Julius Caesar, by Rachel Firth, illustrated by Stephen Parkhouse


31 B.C. -Marc Antony and Cleopatra are defeated by Octavian (later known as Augustus Caesar) at the Battle of Actium

Cleopatra's Coin, by Gerry Bailey and Karen Foster

Cleopatra's Coin, by Gerry Bailey and Karen Foster


27 B.C. - Augustus Caesar founds the Roman Empire and becomes its first emperor

Augustus Caesar, by Tammy Gagne

Augustus Caesar, by Tammy Gagne


c. 6 B.C. -  Jesus is born in Bethlehem

The Big Picture Book about Jesus, edited by D. C. Cook

The Big Picture Book about Jesus,  edited by D. C. Cook


c. 60 A.D. - Boudica, queen of the Celtic Iceni tribe in Britain, leads a revolt against the occupying forces of the Roman Empire

Boudica, by Richard Brassey

Boudica (Brilliant Brits) by Richard Brassey

Beric the Briton, by G. A. Henty

Beric the Briton by G. A. Henty

Vocabulary words for Beric the Briton


70 A.D. - Construction begins on the Roman Colosseum under the direction of Emperor Vespasian

The Roman Colosseum, by Elizabeth Mann

The Roman Colosseum, by Elizabeth Mann


70 A.D. - The Siege of Jerusalem: Emperor Titus captures Jerusalem, destroying the city and the Second Temple.

The Wailing Wall, by Leonard Everett Fisher

The Wailing Wall, by Leonard Everett Fisher


August 24, 79 A.D. - Mount Vesuvius erupts, destroying Pompeii

Pompeii: Lost and Found, by Mary Pope Osborne

Pompeii Lost and Found, by Mary Pope Osborne


117 - 138 A.D. - Hadrian is Emperor of the Roman Empire. He builds a wall, now known as Hadrian's Wall, to defend the northern limit of Britannia.

Eagle of the Ninth, by Rosemary Sutcliff

The Eagle of the Ninth, by Rosemary Sutcliff (Chapter Book)


c. 178 A.D. - Irenaeus becomes bishop of Lyons in Southern Gaul. He writes a series of five books now known as Against Heresies to confront heresies that were becoming prevalent in the church.

Irenaeus of Lyon, by Simonetta Carr, with illustrations by Matt Abraxas

Irenaeus of Lyon (Christian Biographies for Young Readers) , by Simonetta Carr, with illustrations by Matt Abraxas


386 A.D. - Augustine of Hippo becomes a Christian. He begins writing The City of God in 410 A.D..

Augustine of Hippo, by Simonetta Carr

Augustine of Hippo (Christian Biographies for Young Readers), by Simonetta Carr, with illustrations by Wesley Lowe


c. 430 - Saint Patrick travels to Ireland to spread the Gospel to the Irish Celtic people

Saint Patrick, by Ann Tompert

Saint Patrick, by Ann Tompert


476 - The Roman Empire comes to an end as Germanic leader Odoacer deposes  Romulus Augustulus, the last Roman emperor

Barbarians, by Steven Kroll

Barbarians, by Steven Kroll, illustrated by Robert Byrd


 

Children's Books for Ancient History