Ancient Egypt books for kids, museum trip bring books alive for kids, kids and reading, Kane Chronicles,

Art Museum Visit Brings Books Alive

My mom friend Loren from Felix Doolittle Fine Stationery sent me these photos with this note about a trip to Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts with her 9-year-old son who had just finished reading The Kane Chronicles series by Rick Riordan. Ancient Egypt and action adventure had suddenly made museums desirable!

Julian also read From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg, a personal favorite of mine, but an award winning book that I haven’t yet been able to convince my own kids to read.

Museum Outings Bring Chapter Books Alive

She says, “On MLK Day, Felix, Julian, and I went to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA).  It’s not often that I can convince Julian that a day at the museum is a good idea, but he was just as excited as I was.

MFA, Museum of Fine ArtsCould this statue be similar to the mysterious one in From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler? 

The reason:  he wanted to see representations of characters he’s recently read about. His game plan was to see the Egyptian rooms and the Italian Renaissance.”

Museum of Fine Arts Boston, books for kids

For anyone who hasn’t read From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, it won a Newbery award. The story takes place mostly at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC when a sister and brother run away for adventure and end up living there for several weeks. My oldest tried to read the book in fifth grade but got confused by the perspective of the book; Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler is narrating  the story of the two runaways who end up connected to her through both her attorney and a mysterious piece of art at the museum.

When suburban Claudia Kincaid decides to run away, she knows she doesn’t just want to run from somewhere she wants to run to somewhere–to a place that is comfortable, beautiful, and preferably elegant. She chooses the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Knowing that her younger brother, Jamie, has money and thus can help her with the serious cash flow problem she invites him along.

Once settled into the museum, Claudia and Jamie, find themselves caught up in the mystery of an angel statue that the museum purchased at an auction for a bargain price of $250. The statue is possibly an early work of the Renaissance master Michelangelo, and therefore worth millions. Is it? Or isn’t it? Claudia is determined to find out. This quest leads Claudia to Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, the remarkable old woman who sold the statue and to some equally remarkable discoveries about herself.



Ancient Egypt Through Art and Chapter Books

Loren continues, “Those rooms totally came alive for him (and us) as never before since he could recognize a number of the hieroglyphics and he knew some of the stories of the pantheon of Egyptian gods. He looked at every tiny little sculpture and of course the big ones too.”

ancient egypt, Kane Chronicles field trip, The Red pyramid

ancient egypt, Kane chronicles, The Red Pyramid, museum visit


Loren brings up a wonderful point! An excursion to a museum can bring a book alive igniting both an interest in ancient civilizations and art!

While I love Rick Riordan’s Kane Chronicles series, I do find that the plethora of ancient Egyptian gods confusing as they are not as familiar to me as Ancient Greek or Roman gods. Also, Riordan covers a wide swath of Egyptian history which can be overwhelming.


How about you? What outings help make books come alive for you and your kids?

Is there a pairing of book to museum that you’d recommend (even if we don’t live in your city?). Thanks for sharing!


More Ancient Egypt Chapter Books for Kids

The Pharoah’s Secret by Marissa Moss

I also like The Pharoah’s Secret as a standalone Ancient-Egypt-meets modern-day-kids-with-powers-unbeknownst-to-them. It’s very similar to the Kane Chronicles but focuses on a brief moment in history, specifically the mystery of the rare female Pharaoh, Hatshepsut.

The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder

The Egypt Game also won a Newbery honor. It’s a modern-day story of kids who discover  a love of Ancient Egypt with a murder mystery twist.

Tales of Ancient Egypt (Puffin Classics) by Roger Lancelyn Green

I found this Ancient Egyptian mythology book helpful in keeping track of all the gods and goddesses. It’s compact size and easy to read text makes it a winner for kids too! A great companion book to these Ancient Egypt chapter books!

Click on image of any book to view more closely at Amazon, or here for Barnes and Noble.

Ancient Egypt books for kids, museum trip bring books alive for kids, kids and reading, Kane Chronicles,

Follow PragmaticMom’s board Art with Kids on Pinterest.

By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom


  1. Great list and a wonderful adventure at the Art Museum. The Metropolitan Museum of Art also has incredible adventures into these books as well. I love it when to of my favorite things come together books and art. It makes for a perfect day. ­čÖé
    Valarie recently posted…The Conference of the Birds Review and GIVEAWAY!My Profile

  2. This is a great idea! Sometimes you have to seize the moment with kids. A museum is not often the first place that they want to visit. I can remember visiting the Cloisters and the Metropolitan Museum of Art as a young child and marveling at the exhibits even though I had no book knowledge at the time. I later became interested in studying history, particularly the ancient and medieval period. So you never know what seed you may be planting in a child’s mind.

    • Hi Barbara,
      I am always nervous about taking my kids to a museum, especially one that is not hands on like an art museum. We’ve set off a few alarms … sigh! And one kid will become overly whiney and then we all have to rush our way through the museum to see stuff before there is a full blown melt down.

      But you are right. You never know when it will spark something. Thanks for the reminder to keep trying.
      Pragmatic Mom recently posted…Connection Between Exercise and LearningMy Profile

  3. This is so cool! I love the idea of combining libraries with books!
    maryanne recently posted…Reading with Babies and Board Books for BabiesMy Profile

    • Hi MaryAnne,
      I will have to take my son to the Museum of Fine Art Boston and look at the Ancient Egyptian artifacts now that we are almost done with the Kane Chronicles series. Maybe he will actually be interested in the MFA because usually he just likes the gift shop and the kids’ activities. I think Italian Renaissance, thought, might be stretch for him.
      Pragmatic Mom recently posted…Connection Between Exercise and LearningMy Profile

  4. Thanks Mia! I love Barbara’s comment about how an early trip to the Cloisters and MMA really affected her as a child. It really is fascinating to see relics and objects as they are: so full of story, or potential story!

    And for Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, it is indeed confusing at first who is narrating, and the English does seems old, but once he got to the reasons for living in the museum and the mystery of the sculpture, he was right there, ready to add the Italian Renaissance to the must-see places had to visit at the museum.

    My advice, don’t miss these great opportunities or underestimate kids’ interest in what they’re reading and learning!

  5. Ann

    Very cool! And from the Mixed Up Files sounds great! I wonder if my kids are old enough to read that one together. I might try it. My kids enjoyed the Smithsonian recently. They were excited to go and were never bored. i was actually surprised. You know I think museum do a great job these days of drawing kids in with hands on art carts.
    Ann recently posted…Cave PaintingMy Profile

  6. Jeanette Nyberg

    Yes! The freaking power of books to awaken kids’ imaginations.
    Jeanette Nyberg recently posted…Arts Advocacy Day is Upon us!My Profile

  7. Great post!For little kids don’t forget Tickle Tut’s Toes

  8. What a great idea for a themed book list. There’s something about Egypt, right? I remember be fascinated by it as a kid, too. Must me the secret treasure in all the pyramids!
    Erica recently posted…Printable Birthday Card to Color {Doubles as Frame!}My Profile

    • Hi Erica,
      I do still have a fascination with Ancient Egypt. We are finishing the final book of the Kane Chronicles right now, my son and I. I think I rushed through it when I read it myself. I hope there is a sequel series to that. Riordan did seem to leave the door open with Setne escaping. Here’s hoping.
      Pragmatic Mom recently posted…Mexico Day Party Crafts for KidsMy Profile

  9. Tom Gurney

    Exciting art books – will check them out for my kids. Real life sculptures are always great for inspiring interest and anyway to get people into history is good by me.

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge