More Ancient Egypt! Earlier this year we looked at some books for all ages with this Egyptian Book Flight. Happily, 2010 has seen an explosion of literature for children and adolescents that explore this fascinating culture, and there are (at least) three wonderful new additions for extending Ancient Egypt adventures. They all have settings that encompass museum work, and show what a key resource museums can be to enrich our view of ancient worlds. (For more links to worldwide museums and information on understanding hieroglyphics , check out Egyptian Resources.)
Theodosius and the Eyes of Horus by R. L. LaFevers
Theodosia is one of our favorite teen sleuths. She lives with her parents and little brother in Edwardian England nearby the museum her parents oversee. The Museum of Legends and Antiquities is a magical place for her Egyptologist parents–but even more so for Theodosia, who appears to have specials powers to sense the ancient Egyptian curses. In this third installment, we learn more about The Serpents of Chaos, and also meet an intriguing new character–Awi Bubu–who knows a great deal about Theodosia and why she may have these special powers. Another top-notch mystery, suspenseful and fast-paced. Added bonus: filled with Ancient Egyptian lore.
Hieroglyphics form A to Z by Peter Der Manuelian
This wonderful resource is published by the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and written and illustrated by one of its curators. His brilliant pictures combine hand drawings and computer-generated graphics to create stunning representations of the hieroglyphics of Ancient Egypt. It’s clear and interesting and invites the reader to play with using the alphabet to write messages and even stories.
How the Sphinx Got to the Museum by Jessie Hartland
How did a seven-ton Sphinx get from ancient Egypt to the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art? In this intriguing picture book, we backtrack the steps from viewing this amazing artifact in its current home to its creation in Ancient Egypt, ordered by by the female Pharoah Hatshepsut. We meet not only the Egyptian sculptors, but get a taste of the political intrigue of the time. For example, Hatshepsut’s step-brother ordered the Sphinx to be destroyed along with all of his sister’s reign’s artwork. Then, we learn of the ways that the sculptures of the past can be restored, moved, retouched along their journey to modern viewing. Along with the lively illustrations, the “cumulative tale” format much like The House that Jack Built make this a book for young toddlers through adult readers.
Looking for another great adult read? If you haven’t read Stacy Schiff’s new biography Cleopatra: A Life, you are in for a big treat. The last ruler of the Ptolemaic dynasty, Cleopatra was much more than the temptress that history and popular culture alike have conspired to have her remembered as. The story is fascinating, the writing is clear and top notch, and anyone who has ever been fascinated with Egyptian, Greek or Roman history will be sucked into this non-fiction read.