Ancient Times


Ancient Roman Concrete HERE


Alexander, Lloyd. Time Cat: the Remarkable Journeys of Jason and Gareth. New York: Henry Holt, 2003. 
“Jason and his magic cat Gareth travel through time to visit countries all over the world during different periods of history.” – CIP.  A highly imaginative classic that takes readers to Egypt in 2700 BCE, to Roman Britain in 55 BCE, to Ireland in 411 CE, to Japan in 998 CE, to Italy in 1468, to Peru in 1555, to Isle of Man in 1588, to Germany in 1600, and to America in 1775. Highly recommended for readers 11 years old and up. [Adventure and adventurers; Cats; Fantasy fiction; Space and time]


Lasky, Kathryn. The Last Girls of Pompeii. Viking, 2007.
Twelve-year-old Julia and her slave, Sura, find themselves caught up in more than Julia’s older sister’s wedding plans. They discover there are plans to sell Sura to a lecherous old man and to send Julia to spend the rest of her life in a temple. Before they can find a way to save themselves, Mount Vesuvius erupts and they are all on the run.

Roman Conspiracy

Mitchell, Jack. The Roman Conspiracy. Tundra Books, 2005.
Fifteen-year-old Aulus Lucinus Spurinna discovers a conspiracy to kill his family and overthrow the Roman Republic. Much like Paul in Word to Caesar by Geoffrey Trease, Aulus travels to the great city of Rome and meets Tullia, a beautiful and willful girl who helps him fight the greedy aristocrats and evil assassins who are determined to destroy the empire.

Curses and Smoke

Shecter, Vicky Alvear. Curses and Smoke: A Novel of Pompeii. Arthur A. Levine Books, 2014.
“Tagus is a medical slave who wants [to] be a gladiator, Lucia is the daughter of Tag’s owner and betrothed to an older man, and the two teenagers are in love with each other — but it is the year 79 and soon Vesuvius will alter their lives forever.” – CIP. [Gladiators; Italy; Love; Pompeii; Sex roles; Slaves]

Trease, Geoffrey. Word to Caesar. Hillside Education, 1955.

A novel study guide HERE.  An essay guide HERE.

In Word to Caesar by Geoffrey Tease (Hillside Education, 1955), Paul is faced with a problem after barbarians from the north attack Hardknot, and his father is killed. Where will he go? As Paul lies on the road, waiting for his death, a strange man helps him, a man who may change his life forever. Willing to undergo a dangerous journey for his exiled friend, Paul sets out for Rome, enjoying the place he has always longed to see. But will his luck end when a merciless black-mailer prevents his mission of justice? As Paul makes his long journey to help out his friend, it reminds me of my own friends who make sacrifices just to make my day better. This suspenseful book had me on the edge of my seat, as I read about Paul’s life-threatening adventure during ancient Roman times. When the chapter would end at a mysterious situation, or right before things were going to make a turn for the worse, it infuriated me, but it made me want to keep reading. This book about going through tough times and staying loyal to your friends is truly inspiring and great for people who like books about history with a little twist. (Ilar in grade eight)

Word to Caesar by Geoffrey Trease (Vanguard Inc, 1955) is an interesting novel about a young man named Paul who is a self-centered, arrogant and lonely fellow in need of a family. He puts his country in danger by telling a barbarian girl secrets and sneaks into the baths past curfew. But then he meets a middle-aged man named Severus who shows him how to care for others. In return, Paul sets out on a journey to Rome to help Severus return to native land. Will he succeed? (Sukhie in grade eight)

My connection with the main character in Word to Caesar by Geoffrey Trease is that Paul and I have both travelled places not knowing where we were going. But there was a difference. Paul didn’t know where he was going as he was travelling to one of Severus’s friend’s farm; but when I was travelling, I didn’t know where I was going because my family takes deliberate “mystery road trips,” a tradition we have.
Severus was taking Paul to his friend’s farm because he knew it would be safer then staying at Ravenglass. Paul was injured at the time and couldn’t do much with his arm; being in this state, Severus just wanted this teenager to be safer. After your dad died in a barbaric attack, wouldn’t you want to go somewhere safe?
Now this isn’t the case for me. Our family has a tradition where we annually go on a “mystery road trip.” On Vancouver Island once we just pointed the car in one direction, not knowing where we were going to end up, and kept going. Some tours we had no clue where we ended up! Fortunately, unlike Paul, we were in no danger and we weren’t trying to get away from an area under attack from barbarians.
Now, you see the connection I have with Paul, the main character in Word to Caesar. (Melissa in grade eight)

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