Seven sensational books about the Romans, chosen by Thiago de Moraes

Published on: 30 August 2021 Author: Thiago de Moraes

What have the Romans ever done for us? Well, as it turns out, quite a lot - and author Thiago de Moraes has picked out his favourite children's books all about this fascinating period in history. Here are seven books to take you to the seven hills of Rome...

Illustration from A Gladiator Stole My Lunchbox by Thiago de MoraesIllustration from A Gladiator Stole My Lunchbox by Thiago de Moraes

My latest book, A Gladiator Stole My Lunchbox, is a tale about a boy who gets sent back in time to ancient Rome. As well as civilisation, philosophy and excellent plumbing, he finds himself in the middle of endless bickering, hapless murder plots and befriending a very lost penguin. Here are some of my favourite books on all things Roman.

Asterix the Legionary by René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo

The whole series of books about this diminutive Gaul and his indomitable friends is absolutely brilliant. In this story Asterix and his friend Obelix get themselves drafted into the Roman army and travel all the way to a war in Africa, treating the whole thing as a big holiday and making everyone around them go crazy in the process.

Julius Zebra: Rumble with the Romans by Gary Northfield

Another super fun Roman story, this one has a zebra as its hero. Julius and an incredible cast of animals are thrown into the depths of the Colosseum and have to fight as gladiators, with hilarious consequences. It’s a great way to lose yourself in the world of the ancient Romans and learn how a zebra would handle (or perhaps hoof-le?) a sharp sword.

Read our review 

Illustration from Julius Zebra: Rumble With The RomansIllustration from Julius Zebra: Rumble With The Romans

Horrible Histories: The Rotten Romans by Terry Deary and Martin Brown

There’s plenty to choose in ancient Rome when it comes to horrible stuff, from capricious emperors to awful wars. This book has all of that, but its most fascinating bits are about the lives and habits of Roman citizens. Want to know why someone might have needed a special room for being sick in? Here’s your read.

Empire’s End by Leila Rasheed

The Roman Empire was a great mixture of people from all over the world, from Africa and Asia all the way to Northern Europe. This awesome story is amazing at re-creating that world and its inhabitants, as we follow a young girl called Camilla from her home in North Africa all the way to the freezing cold British isles.

Read our review 

Illustration from Empire's End: A Roman StoryIllustration from Empire's End: A Roman Story

Meg and the Romans by Jan Pieńkowski

Lots of books about the past are written for older audiences, but this is a brilliantly fun adventure that would delight younger readers. Meg (the witch, we all know Meg,) and her cat Mog help a stranded Roman get to London, learning lots about the Roman world along the way.

The Capricorn Bracelet by Rosemary Sutcliff

This captivating collection of short stories follows the members of a family over generations, when Britain as part of the Roman Empire. It goes over almost three hundred years, from the Roman arrival in Britain through the building of Hadrian’s wall and all the way to the time the Romans departed the islands.

I Was There… Boudica’s Army by Hilary McKay

This fascinating illustrated tale follows Kassy, a young British girl trying to look for her pony after it’s stolen and taken to war. As she follows the army of queen Boudica we get to have a good look at what life in Britain was like during the time of the Roman invasion.

A Gladiator Stole My Lunchbox by Thiago de Moraes is published by Scholastic UK.

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