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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is getting on my last nerve. We are about to start our unit on ancient Egypt, and the spine book we are using is The Golden Goblet, along with SOTW. I'd like to find another fictional chapter book for DD to read on her own. She loves to read and thinks this is a great idea. She's 10 and a very advanced reader, but does *not* like super upsetting themes--no death of parents, no serious violence, no super scary ghosts. She tends to read books below her ability level because of that.

Well, so far I've pre-read Mara, Daughter of the Nile and The Royal Diaries--Cleopatra. They are both very bloody and violent, and there is no way DD is going to like them. As it is, The Golden Goblet is somewhat vicious (lots of beatings for the main character). She can deal with that one because we are going to read it aloud and can discuss it, but she hates violent books, and so do I. Everyone raved about the Cleopatra book for this age group--at one point, her sister is beheaded BY HER FATHER and the head is brought in front of her on a platter dripping blood! Ugh. I also looked at The Egypt Game, but it appears that one is pretty scary.

Any suggestions for historical fiction based in ancient Egypt that *isn't* incredibly violent? I've done a few Google searches and haven't come up with much.
 

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Um, I think that "Time Cat" by Lloyd Alexander goes to ancient Egypt (the main character is from the modern era and time travels with his cat) and is not violent, but it may not be as historical as you're looking for.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by rebeccalizzie
This is getting on my last nerve. .....Any suggestions for historical fiction based in ancient Egypt that *isn't* incredibly violent? I've done a few Google searches and haven't come up with much.
Personally I think that novels about ancient Egypt include cruelty and violence because life in ancient times was cruel and violent. Anything without those bits wouldn't exactly be historically accurate; orphaned children were beaten by their uncles and abused by their masters in slave-like work situations, darkness was complete at night and people believed in spirits.

My kids are not particularly sensitive and we have loved all of the novels you've mentioned. The violence in them didn't seem at all gratuitous to me -- just part of the historical fabric. If I recall correctly, "The Egypt Game" is quite tame (no real violence, though some spooky bits), though it's not exactly historical fiction, being set in a contemporary city. I can't really think of anything that would fit your bill.

I think that if you're going to try to teach children about real world history, you're going to face this dilemma over and over when looking for decent literature. I'm not sure there are any easy answers other than sticking with non-fiction and picture books intended for younger children.

Miranda
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by moominmamma
Personally I think that novels about ancient Egypt include cruelty and violence because life in ancient times was cruel and violent. Anything without those bits wouldn't exactly be historically accurate; orphaned children were beaten by their uncles and abused by their masters in slave-like work situations, darkness was complete at night and people believed in spirits.

My kids are not particularly sensitive and we have loved all of the novels you've mentioned. The violence in them didn't seem at all gratuitous to me -- just part of the historical fabric. If I recall correctly, "The Egypt Game" is quite tame (no real violence, though some spooky bits), though it's not exactly historical fiction, being set in a contemporary city. I can't really think of anything that would fit your bill.

I think that if you're going to try to teach children about real world history, you're going to face this dilemma over and over when looking for decent literature. I'm not sure there are any easy answers other than sticking with non-fiction and picture books intended for younger children.

Miranda
I do realize that, and I'm not trying to sanitize history. I'm trying to find supplemental materials that will be fun for DD to read--novels, not real history. We discuss the reality of the times without such vivid word images, generally.

My DD is very sensitive, she hates those kind of books, and I feel it is important to respect her wishes. If I give her a book for fun reading knowing it's going to upset her, she's not going to trust me to recommend books for her again. This is all coming from her, not me, she's told me what she doesn't want to read. I personally didn't enjoy reading about the blood running off the platter holding Cleopatra's sister's head, and her father looking at his daughter's severed head with satisfaction. I can make a face and go on, but DD will likely have nightmares from something like that. It's just her personality, and I definitely understand that many or most kids her age aren't like that, but she is and I'm not going to make her read anything upsetting until she is ready.

Thanks...I know you are right about the times being fairly violent, I'd just like her to get a feel for the era without a whole lot of brutality.
 

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Am I forgetting something about The Egypt Game? I don't remember any actual violence or other significantly disturbing parts. (I am a renowned plot complications wimp and was completely obsessed with Ancient Egypt when I was 11yo -- and I loved The Egypt Game.)
 

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Maybe she's just to young for that aspect. If you are doing WTM, it goes in three year cycles. When she is thirteen, you'll revist Egypt and the ancients. She might then enjoy the recommended novels. No point in continuing if it's going to upset her. There's plenty of time. I mean, what's the point at this point? Just get all the great art/pyramid/etc books from the library for now.
 

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Interesting thread. I am writting my own history curriculum and was wondering about books for ancient Egypt. Thats good to know about Mara, Daughter of the Nile and the The Golden Goblet. The Golden Goblet was on my short list...but maybe not now. I'm actualy after books to read aloud to a six/7 year old. Some one told me there kids really enjoyed the Magic School bus on ancient Egypt, but maybe she is too old to read that?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by UUMom
Maybe she's just to young for that aspect. If you are doing WTM, it goes in three year cycles. When she is thirteen, you'll revist Egypt and the ancients. She might then enjoy the recommended novels. No point in continuing if it's going to upset her. There's plenty of time. I mean, what's the point at this point? Just get all the great art/pyramid/etc books from the library for now.
True, and good point. Maybe I'll just have her read whatever she wants for fun reading. not that I wouldn't anyway, but I won't worry about extra historical fiction. I am adding SOTW, which is probably too young for her, but I like it and it will be a quick and easy read. I'm mostly doing WTM, I have a history and lit based curriculum but I'm only using it *really* loosely.

Joandsarah, if you can get a copy of The Golden Goblet to pre-read, it may be fine for your kid(s). It's actually fine for mine as a read aloud because we can discuss the upsetting stuff as it occurs--the main upsetting thing is that the main character lives with his brother or uncle or something (can't remember) and is beaten and not fed enough off and on throughout the book. It's books I get DD to read on her own that I have to be more careful with.

I'm going to have to see if I can get The Egypt Game from the library--I only read Amazon reviews on it so I may be totally off base.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by rebeccalizzie
I'm going to have to see if I can get The Egypt Game from the library--I only read Amazon reviews on it so I may be totally off base.
Dang woman, why didn't you mention this book sooner! I could have brought it over with the rest of the books today.
I will read it tonight for you and let you know what I think, now that I know better what you are looking to avoid.

I agree too, maybe focus on books about Egyptian culture, architecture, etc, and not so much stories.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by eminer
Am I forgetting something about The Egypt Game? I don't remember any actual violence or other significantly disturbing parts. (I am a renowned plot complications wimp and was completely obsessed with Ancient Egypt when I was 11yo -- and I loved The Egypt Game.)
I was in this same position recently, and pre-read this one. It isn't overtly violent, but it addresses the issue of kidnapping/predator type people and the need to stay inside and not be out alone after dark. I declined to read it to my 6yo.

We did read the Golden Goblet and enjoyed it, but the beatings were difficult.

I don't recall The Cat In The Mirror as being violent, though the main character does get teased a lot. It's more of a YA book.
 

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Ok, so this is not a fictional book, but if your child(ren) are interested in Ancient Egypt then I feel it's a must have! The book is:
The Dictionary of Ancient Egypt by Ian Shaw and Paul Nicholson.
I bought my copy for $10. I'm actually doing some work with Egyptian mummies and bought this so I could keep up with the terminology that my colleagues are using! My boys are 6 and love to sit with this book. The authors worked with the British Museum in putting this book together. It contains very nice images and accurate information. I know actual egyptologists who have this in their collections...

(my copy was purchased at McNally Robinson booksellers)
 

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I just went to the Met's bookstore website and found this:

http://www.metmuseum.org/store/st_family_viewer.asp/familyID/{D219E448-EE7C-4A76-B2A6-E4D7D4F293AD}/FromPage/catForKids/callFromRelViewer/y/callFromFamViewer/y/SpecialPermFlag//catID/{A749560E-92E0-11D5-9401-00902786BF44}/FromSearch/

ANd this (though it isn't a novel, it sounds like it might appeal to your dd's interests)

http://www.metmuseum.org/store/st_family_viewer.asp/familyID/{522F8AA7-66A0-4FC2-960F-9B5B1EB9708D}/FromPage/catForKids/callFromRelViewer/y/callFromFamViewer/y/SpecialPermFlag//catID/{A749560E-92E0-11D5-9401-00902786BF44}/FromSearch/

There's also "Tales of Ancient Egypt" which is a translation of egyptian myths (look for that on amazon), in fact..... just do a search on amazon in kids' books for "egypt" and you'll find lots of stuff (which you can then get at the library instead of buying if you prefer!).

Best of luck!
 

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I'm reporting back about 'The Egypt Game.'


It is about a group of children who develop a play-acting game they call the Egypt Game. For the sensitive, there is a kidnapping and killing of an unnamed neighborhood child, a child who is essentially abandoned by her mother, the death of a pet bird, and an attack by the child murderer which is thwarted and he is subsequently caught.

I would not say it is really a book about Egypt, they do mention the gods and goddess, hieroglyphics, clothing and ceremonies. It is more about the passion that can develop when a topic takes hold of a child's imagination. Also themes of how friendship can give new hope, yada yada yada.

I could see how this book might spark an interest in Egypt or might be inspiring to a child who already loves Eygpt. I don't see it as a central book in a unit about Egypt.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Kari_mom
there is a kidnapping and killing of an unnamed neighborhood child,
IIRC the murder of the child occured in the past and is sort of a "neighbourhood legend" in the same way that people in real life talk about notorious child abductions that occured in their communities. The actual acts are not part of the novel in any way, shape or form.

Miranda
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by moominmamma
IIRC the murder of the child occured in the past and is sort of a "neighbourhood legend" in the same way that people in real life talk about notorious child abductions that occured in their communities. The actual acts are not part of the novel in any way, shape or form.

Miranda
Not exactly. There are two kidnappings/murders mentioned, one the previous year and one that occurs after the kids start playing the Egypt game. It disrupts their play because their parents will not allow them to go outside without parental supervision, and of course parents are not part of the game. While graphic details about the kidnapping/murder are not given, the parents and the children are clearly disturbed by the event. The owner of the junk store behind which the children play, the professor, is a prime suspect in the crime, providing the dramatic tension that is relieved when he is proven to be quite the nice friendly guy.

In addition, the main character, April, who is a 6th grade girl, is attacked by the real criminal, with a clear description of how she is grabbed, choked, and passes out. She is saved by the 4 yo boy and the professor who witness the attack and call for help. I think it is an unfortunate stereotype that the mentally-handicapped nephew of a local store owner is found to be guilty of all three attacks.

I am not trying to over-sensationalize the book, I am sure there are many children who could read this without a problem. But children who are sensitive may not want to read about other children who are attacked (and murdered) while they are at play. And the details are quite fresh in my mind, I began reading the book for the second time after I posted last night and finished it just this morning.
 

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I don't think kids be they sensitive or not should be reading that stuff! uggg whatever happend to nice mysteries, pony stories and the like? Think I'll be sticking to Enid Blyton
: and other old books!
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Kari_mom
In addition, the main character, April, who is a 6th grade girl, is attacked by the real criminal, with a clear description of how she is grabbed, choked, and passes out.
Eek - I guess I forgot about that part.


Quote:

Originally Posted by joandsarah77
I don't think kids be they sensitive or not should be reading that stuff! uggg whatever happend to nice mysteries, pony stories and the like? Think I'll be sticking to Enid Blyton and other old books!
Well, it was first published in the 60's, and it won a Newberry Honor and other awards. It is very common for children's classics to feature absent or deceased parents, lost or dying pets, adventures involving significant danger, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by eminer
Well, it was first published in the 60's, and it won a Newberry Honor and other awards. It is very common for children's classics to feature absent or deceased parents, lost or dying pets, adventures involving significant danger, etc.
I agree with this. Since that's the kind of stuff DD hates, we have a heck of a time finding good classic fiction for her. She wants to read stuff that is cheerful and pleasant, for the most part, and much of the award winning literature for her age group deals with darker themes--probably why it won awards, but unfortunately makes it difficult for us to find her good books!

Thanks all for your help
I got a book on the Pharaohs, and we're adding SOTW to our original curriculum, and I think that's going to be enough. If she wants more she'll ask me for it and I can go with whatever she's specifically interested in. I've got a ton of non fiction checked out from the library, I don't think she's going to be short of reading material!
 
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