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Tanakh/Early Ancient

Beginning of recorded history through 350 BCE (3,410 on the Jewish calendar)

This page provides an overview of book options for History and Literature for both Jewish and Secular studies. The Jewish studies on this page provide only an overview of Jewish history and Jewish texts written during this time. For a more in depth study of Jewish texts please see our separate page for Judaic Studies

History

Jewish History Secular History
Note: When studying the history of any people group, it is important to choose authentic sources written by and respected by that group. We have opted for traditionally respected Jewish sources as opposed to including works that represent a conflict of interests (ie. Josephus’ Antiquities of the Jews)
Elementary:
Understanding Jewish History, Volume 1 by Sol Scharfstein
 
Middle Grades:
Brief Biblical History by I. Jacobs
Judges, Prophets, and Kings by I. Jacobs
 
High School:
Am Olam: The History of the Eternal Nation, Vol. 1 by Rav Shlomo Rotenberg
Am Olam: The History of the Eternal Nation, Vol. 2 by Rav Shlomo Rotenberg
Note: It was imperative to choose history selections that represented both the West and the East as Jewish history is very much tied to both. Susan Wise Bauer was the only narrative author of history that we felt met this criteria and also represented a secular view of history. Some families may wish to skip certain sections depending on the ages and needs of their families.
Elementary/Middle Grades
The Story of the World, Volume 1: Ancient Times by Susan Wise Bauer (chapter 1 thru 24)
The Story of the World, Activity Book 1: Ancient Times by Susan Wise Bauer

High School/College
The History of the Ancient World by Susan Wise Bauer (chapter 1 thru 67)
Study and Teaching Guide: The History of the Ancient World by Julia Kaziewicz

Literature

Jewish LiteratureSecular Literature
Elementary:
Original Tanakh Period Texts

The Artscroll Children’s Book of Ruth
Artscroll Childrens Megillah
The Artscroll Children’s Book of Yonah
The Artscroll Children’s Tehillim
Interpretations of the Original Texts
The Little Midrash Says series
The Family Midrash Says series
Noah & the Rainbow by Shoshana Lepon
The Ten Tests of Avraham by Shoshana Lepon
Joseph the Dreamer by Shoshana Lepon
The Ten Makkos by Shoshana Lepon
Books about Tanakh Period
My Last Year in Mitzrayim: A Jewish Boy’s Ancient Diary  by Greenbaum
Shpeter I: A Latecomer in Early History by Meir Uri Gottesman
Shpeter II: From the Depths to the Heights by Meir Uri Gottesman
The Desert Diary by Gadi Pollack
Dovid Hamelech by Nachman Seltzer
The Money in the Honey: A Midrash About Young David, Future King of Israel by Aidel Backman
The Miracles of Elisha by Sterna Citron
The Secret Tunnel by Joy Nelkin Wieder
 
Middle Grades:
Original Tanakh Period Texts

Tanakh
Interpretations of the Original Texts
Let My World Survive  by Rabbi Deutsch
Let My Nation Descend by Rabbi Deutsch
Let My Nation Go  by Rabbi Deutsch
Let My Nation Serve Me  by Rabbi Deutsch
Let My Nation Wander by Rabbi Deutsch
Let My Nation Ascend  by Rabbi Deutsch
Let Me Join Your Nation by Rabbi Deutsch
Let My Nation Be Warned by Rabbi Deutsch
Let My Nation Live by Rabbi Deutsch
Books about Tanakh Period
Dual Discovery ; a Historical Drama by Zecharia Hoffman
The Lamp of Darkness: The Age of Prophecy Book 1  by Mason & Feuer
 
High School:
Original Tanakh Period Texts

Tanakh
The Living Torah (English & Hebrew)
The Living Nach: Vol 1- Early Prophets
The Living Nach: Vol 2 – Later Prophets
The Living Nach: Vol 3- Sacred Writings
Interpretations of the Original Texts and Study Aids
People of the Book: From Adam to Yehoshua by Osher Chaim Levene
The Navi Journey Sefer Yehoshua  by Rabbi Ilan Ginian
The Navi Journey: Shoftim by Rabbi Ilan Ginian
The Navi Journey, Shmuel 1 by Rabbi Ilan Ginian
Navi Journey, Shmuel 2 by Rabbi Ilan Ginian
The Navi Journey, Megillas Rus  by Rabbi Ilan Ginian
The Navi Journey, Sefer Yonah  by Rabbi Ilan Ginian
Books about Tanakh Period
The Young Moses: Prince of Egypt  by Asher Lehmann
Uncovering Sefer Yirmiyahu: An Archaeological, Geographical, Historical Perspective by Rabbi Yehuda Landy
The Gilded Cage: Queen Esther’s untold story  by Sorale Brownstein
Purim and the Persian Empire (English and Hebrew Edition) by Rabbi Yehuda Landy
The Decree; A Historical Novel Set During the Persian Rule  by Rebbetzin Sarah Feldbrand
Note: There are no original texts for this time period because all of the original texts had to be translated into English, thus making them interpretations.
Elementary:
Interpretations of Original Texts

Aesop for Children
King Midas and the Golden Touch by Charlotte Craft
Books About Early Ancient Period
Croco’Nile by Ron Gerrard
Seeker of Knowledge: The Man Who Deciphered Egyptian Hieroglyphs (Rise and Shine) by James Rumford
Who Was King Tut? by Roberta Edwards
Boy of the Pyramids: A Mystery of Ancient Egypt* by Ruth Fosdick Jones
What’s Your Angle, Pythagoras? by Julie Ellis
Pythagoras and the Ratios: A Math Adventure by Julie Ellis
Herodotus and the Road to History by Jeanne Bendick
Theras: The Story of an Athenian Boy** by Caroline Dale Snedeker
The Trojan Horse: How the Greeks Won the War by Emily Little
The Empress and the Silkworm by Lily Toy Hong
Middle Grades:
Interpretations of Original Texts

Aesop for Children
Books About Early Ancient Period
The Riddle of the Rosetta Stone by James Cross Giblin
Pyramid by David Macaulay
National Geographic Investigates: Ancient Egypt: Archaeology Unlocks the Secrets of Egypt’s Past
The Curse of the Pharaohs : My Adventures with Mummies by Zahi Hawass
The Golden Goblet** by Eloise Jarvis McGraw
National Geographic Investigates: Ancient Greece: Archaeology Unlocks the Secrets of Ancient Greece by Marni McGee
The Hero Schliemann: The Dreamer Who Dug for Troy by Laura Amy Schlitz
National Geographic Investigates: Ancient China: Archaeology Unlocks the Secrets of China’s Past
National Geographic Investigates: Ancient India: Archaeology Unlocks the Secrets of India’s Past by Anita Dalai
Warrior Scarlet** by Rosemary Sutcliff
National Geographic Investigates: Ancient Celts: Archaeology Unlocks the Secrets of the Celts’ Past*** by Jen Green
The Golden Bull: A Mesopotamian Adventure by Marjorie Cowley
High School:
Six Great Dialogues: Apology, Crito, Phaedo, Phaedrus, Symposium, The Republic by Plato
The Art of War by Sun Tzu
Books About Early Ancient Period
National Geographic The Greeks: An Illustrated History by Diane Harris Cline

* This novel normalizes slavery, but we decided to include it, since slavery was considered normal in that time period.
** Contains elements of mythology
*** Mentions human sacrifice; use parental discretion

While this list represents the best stories from this specific time period, you will likely need to add more literature selections from our Jewish Reading List and our Secular Reading List as your children/family have time.

For those families that need/choose to add Mythology resources this year, we have created a separate page for Mythology that offers several different levels of content so you can choose the level that best meets the needs of your family.

Additional Resources

Jewish Resources Secular Resources
Audiovisual
Young Abraham
Out of Egypt – The Passover Story
Queen of Persia
The Return of King David’s Harp by House of Harrari
Crash Course in Jewish History by Rabbi Berel Wein

Books
Bedtime Stories of Torah Values by Shmuel Blitz
King David & Akavish the Spider by Sylvia Rouss
Shimri’s Big Idea by Elka Weber
Adventure in the City of David by Ahron Horovitz
The Elisha Davidson and the Letters of Fire by M. R. Attar
Elisha Davidson and the Ispaklaria by M.R. Attar
Elisha Davidson and the Shamir by M.R. Attar
Audiovisual
Ancient Mesopotamia 101 by National Geographic
Ancient Egypt 101 by National Geographic
Ancient Greece 101 by National Geographic

Books
Ms. Frizzle’s Adventures: Ancient Egypt by Joanna Cole
You Wouldn’t Want to Be a Sumerian Slave! by Fiona McDonald
You Wouldn’t Want to Be an Egyptian Mummy! by Fiona McDonald
You Wouldn’t Want to Be a Greek Athlete! by Fiona McDonald
You Wouldn’t Want to Be a Slave in Ancient Greece! by Fiona McDonald
Hot on the Trail in Ancient Egypt by Linda Bailey
Adventures in Ancient Greece by Linda Bailey
Mummies in the Morning by Mary Pope Osborne
Mummies and Pyramids: A Nonfiction Companion by Mary Pope Osborne
Hour of the Olympics by Mary Pope Osborne
Ancient Greece and the Olympics: A Nonfiction Companion by Mary Pope Osborne