Top 5 YA Novels about Ancient Egypt

5. The Golden Goblet by Eloise Jarvis McGraw. When Ranofer's father dies, the boy's cruel older brother Gebu takes over the family goldsmithy and forces him to slave there all day. When Ranofer finds out that Gebu and his friends have been stealing gold from the royal tombs, Ranofer must find away to stop them.

4. The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder. A group of unlikely friends get together after school and pretend they're ancient Egyptians. A significant subplot involves a serial killer of children, so sensitive kids might not be able to handle this one.

3. Cleopatra VII: Daughter of the Nile, Egypt, 57 B.C. (Royal Diaries) by Kristina Gregory. The fictional diary of 12-year-old Cleopatra, who lives in the dangerous royal palace of Alexandria. In order to escape the long arm of her ruthless and politically ambitious older sister Tryphaena, the young Cleopatra goes with her father to Rome, where she meets the handsome young soldier Marc Antony and a little boy named Octavian.

2. Pharaoh's Daughter by Julius Lester. The biblical story of Moses (called "Mosis" in the novel) and his fictional older sister Almah. References to cultural nudity and lust.


1. Mara: Daughter of the Nile by Eloise Jarvis McGraw. A classic novel about Mara, a blue-eyed, sarcastic slave girl who finds herself caught up in political intrigues. Read my review.

Honorable Mention: It's a middle-grade novel rather than a YA novel, but Jill Rubalcaba's A Place in the Sun is a great book.


  1. I have "Cleopatra: Daughter of the Nile"! It was one of my favorite books growing up; I loved all of the Royal Diaries, and I also had a couple years where I was obsessed with ancient Egypt. :)

    I might have to look around for some of those other ones; I have a special place in my heart for YA fiction.

  2. I loved Pharaoh's Daughter and Mara but could not get through the Golden Goblet when I tried to read it with my son years ago. Maybe I should try again.

    Meanwhile, I'm hoping my YA historical fiction novel set in Egypt and Rome (CLEOPATRA'S MOON, Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic), coming out this summer, will one day make your list.

  3. Yeah, I own a copy of the Cleopatra novel too. I want to read it so badly now that I've blogged about it, but it's tucked away in a box in my grandparents' barn in Wisconsin. NOOOO! :(

    You should read all of these books, especially Mara and Pharaoh's Daughter. I've read my copies so many times that they're literally falling apart. The only thing holding them together is some heavy-duty tape and a lot of love.

  4. Vicky, thanks for the heads up about your book. I'd love to read it and I also hope that it will make the list. :)

    I also had a bit of a difficult time with The Golden Goblet. It's not as interesting as McGraw's Mara novel, but then it's geared toward younger readers. I think boys would like it though since the main character is a boy. I've noticed that most main characters in ancient Egypt fiction are girls/women. Ironically, I love women in fiction and strong female figures in history, yet the novel I'm writing now is all about an ancient Egyptian man.

  5. My copy is at my parents' house. I'll try to remember to grab it over Spring Break and you can borrow it if you'd like!

    And love can do a lot to hold a book together--I can empathize with that!

  6. Oh thanks, Dory, that would be awesome! Then I can review it for the blog.

  7. Oh my gosh, I loved Cleopatra VII: Daughter of the Nile, Egypt, 57 B.C. (Royal Diaries)! Actually I read the whole series; I know I have them in a box somewhere.