First prize for Children’s Nonfiction in the 2019 San Diego Book Awards

Cleopatra has been called intelligent and scheming, ambitious and ruthless, sensual and indulgent. This unique biography captures the excitement of her life story, including portions that have been largely neglected, such as her interest in literature and science and her role as a mother, and allows readers to draw their own conclusions. Cleopatra and Ancient Egypt for Kids also includes maps, time lines, online resources, a glossary, and 21 engaging hands-on activities to help readers better appreciate the ancient culture and era in which Cleopatra lived.


Kids will:

– Create a beaded Egyptian-style necklace
– Build a simple Nile River boat
– Prepare homemade yogurt
– Construct a model shadoof, a tool used to raise water to higher ground for irrigation
– Translate their names into hieroglyphs for a cartouche bookmark
– “Mummify” a hot dog
– Write an Egyptian love poem
– And more!

Why Cleopatra? Read this blog post to see why I chose to write about this subject and what I learned from it.


Booklist Online Exclusive: May 29, 2018

Cleopatra and Ancient Egypt for Kids: Her Life and World, with 21 Activities. Carr, Simonetta (Author) Jul 2018. 144 p. Chicago Review, paperback, $16.99. (9781613739754). 932.

By blending the facts and mythology of Cleopatra’s life with 21 varied, creative, and often STEM-based activities, this offers an intriguing, accessible glimpse into ancient Egypt. An introduction explains how little is truly known of the real Cleopatra; there are few surviving resources, and the documents that do exist from her time are unreliable, as images were often altered to fit expectations and propaganda. Still, her political and social influence was undeniable. In crisp, clear text, this volume explores Cleopatra’s tumultuous early life, common Egyptian practices at the time, and relationships between neighboring nations. Much of the narrative focuses on Cleopatra’s relationships with two powerful Roman politicians—Caesar and Marc Antony—and the wide-ranging effects of those partnerships. The activities, geared toward introducing readers to everyday Egyptian life, often require adult supervision and range from the direct (“Create an Egyptian-Style Necklace”) to the more imaginative (readers can mummify a hot dog, or mimic a lighthouse by carving a lantern out of a butternut squash). Black-and-white illustrations and photographs round out this satisfactory resource. — Maggie Reagan


Cleopatra and Ancient Egypt for Kids (CRP July 2018, Trade paper 9781613739754, ePub 9781613739785) is getting a nice review in the July 2018 issue of School Library Journal. The reviewer calls the book “A well-rounded portrait of Cleopatraand a fine approach to learning about her culture.” See the full review below.

CARR, Simonetta. Cleopatra and Ancient Egypt for Kids: Her Life and World, with 21 Activities. 144p. (For Kids). bibliog. chron. diag. further reading. glossary. index. maps. notes. photos. reprods. websites. Chicago Review. Jul. 2018. pap. $16.99. ISBN 9781613739754.  Gr 5 Up–This multifaceted look at the life and times of Cleopatra includes 21 interdisciplinary activities that bring a fascinating era to life. In clear and engaging prose, Carr describes the complicated political machinations that defined the life of Cleopatra beginning with her murderous, conniving relatives and their struggles to gain power. Shrewd and intelligent, Cleopatra absorbed many important political lessons from an early age and went on to rule Egypt. Her strength and determination in dealing with Rome, and her relationship with Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, are explored in detail, punctuated with fascinating tidbits and insight into the individuals and their unique relationships. While much of the information provided is not new, Carr does an admirable job reminding readers to consider the way Cleopatra’s life has been described by different recorders of history and to consider the implications of the contrasting accounts. Her legacy has been appropriated by ancient historians and in popular culture, while many of the actual facts of her life can only be surmised. Photographs of Egyptian art and artifacts, maps, and frequent sidebars punctuate and enhance the text, while the 21 activities provide varying levels of related fun (creating a writing tablet, making breath fresheners and an Egyptian-style wig, writing an ancient Egyptian love poem). VERDICT A well-rounded portrait of Cleopatra and a fine approach to learning about her culture. Consider where Egyptian history is in demand.–Kristy Pasquariello, Westwood Public Library, MA