Teaching Ancient Civilizations with Children’s Literature: You Are In Ancient Greece

You Are In Ancient Greece, written by Ivan Minnis, is filled with photographs of ancient buildings and artifacts and excellent information for teaching about Ancient Greece. There is no particular illustrator because all of the images are photographs. The book aims to put students in the civilizations hundreds and thousands of years ago by teaching them from the perspective of what their education, food gathering, entertainment and other aspects were like during those times. Each page has headings like “A Greek City” and “Growing Up”which give organization to the plentiful information. Important vocabulary works are in bold and their are portions of a page devoted to “finding out about” a topic. This visually separates the information from the student which may help recognize the information as interesting facts. This book is a great read for an educational setting because the words are large and the visuals are informative. An excellent example of the way Minnis conveys the extensive information is below.

 ” As you walk through the busy streets of Athens, you see rich businesspeople and craftspeople working in their shops. There are also poor peasants and laborers and many slaves who are forced to work hard by their masters.” (6)

 Curriculum Connections:

You Are In Ancient Greece would be most appropriate when teaching Ancient Civilizations to 3rd grade students because it gives factual information about they way Greece was 2,500 years ago. Instead of blatantly stating the information, this book is sure to captivate the readers by trying to place them on the streets of Greece. The photographs are informative and relevant to the topic discussed on the particular page. This helps visual learners get a mental picture of what it was like. Due to the length and abundance of content this book could be used as a main aspect of a lesson. It may be too much information for a “hook” activity. From this book the student will gain an understanding of what contributions the ancient Greeks made to architecture, government (direct and representative democracy) and athletics. (3.1) The bolded vocabulary words could be used as a set of words the students can focus on for the topic of Ancient Greece. Excellent educational tool! Consider Minnis’s other books about Egypt, China, and Rome.

Additional Resources:

Worksheets- Interactive worksheets with reading, coloring, and questions to anwer.

Lesson Plan- Creating a Greek Newspaper Lesson Plan that would be a great assessment and a creative way for kids to practice writing skills

Interactive Website- this site can be used by teachers to gain background knowledge or by children to see Ancient Greece in a more creative and understandable way.

General Information: 

Book:  You Are In Ancient Greece

Author: Ivan Minnis

Publisher: Raintree

Publication Date: 2005

Pages: 29 pages

Grade Range: 2nd to 8th

ISBN: 1-4109-0617-5