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5 Books About Mummies + 2 Freebies

Multiple news stories about mummies inspired this week’s “5 Books About Mummies” post! I was actually surprised at how few high-quality books about mummies are meant for kids and teens! Most were the traditional gauze-wrapped, undead mummies like we see in movies or cartoons.

For this 5 Books post, I was looking for more informational books about mummies – students definitely do ask for these sometimes!

I also have a free nonfiction reading passage about mummies available on TPT. I recommend Grades 4-6 for the reading passage.

MUMMIES IN THE NEWS

Are there alien mummies in Peru? Check out these two stories:

In October 2023, two “alien mummies” were delivered to an airport in Lima, Peru. They arrived in a DHL shipment and were dressed in Andean attire. The small humanoid mummies had three fingers on each hand.

Forensics experts have now identified the mummies as dolls created from animal bones and modern glue.

In a similar story from September 2023, a Mexican journalist presented two small mummies, also reportedly found in Peru, to researchers in Mexico City.

These mummies were also dolls created from animal bones and possibly mutilated human mummies. They were also held together with synthetic glue.

DISCUSSIONS OF HOAXES

How great are these stories to teach students about hoaxes?! Here are a few questions for students to ponder:

  • Why do they think people took the time to create these “mummies” and try to pass them off as real?
  • What else might people do to get attention on social media or in the news?
  • What other stories have been hoaxes?
  • What clues might tell you these stories are hoaxes? (For this story, have students look at the photos in the article from CGTN. How clean should their “Andean attire” be if the mummies are 800+ years old?)

Such great discussion material here!

The two articles below are basically the same, but they have different photos to show students. I think the photos are okay (as in, not too graphic) for most elementary students, but please use your judgment with students–some are really freaked out by this stuff.

Remind them that these are dolls and hoaxes, not actual mummies.

“Scientists Assert ‘Alien Mummies’ in Peru Are Really Dolls Made from Earthly Bones.” CGTN, 14 Jan 2024.

Aquino, Marco. “Scientists assert ‘alien mummies’ in Peru are really dolls made from Earthly bones.” Reuters. 12 Jan 2024.

5 Books About Mummies poster freebie

Want to use the “Mummies” display poster above? Download it here:

MORE MUMMIES IN RECENT NEWS

Want a more archaeological story? Try this one about a recent discovery of Egyptian mummies in the ancient city of Oxyrhynchus, about 100 miles south of Cairo.

FIVE BOOKS ABOUT MUMMIES

I wanted to find five very high-quality mummy titles for different ages. There aren’t really that many, to be honest! But I am happy with the ones I’ve featured here.

All the following titles received at least two positive professional reviews on Titlewave, with some earning starred reviews. We’ll start with the adorable tardigrades book I mentioned at the top of this post.

 

Picture Book
Ballywhinney Girl

Author: Eve Bunting

Illustrator: Emily Arnold McCully

Publication Date: 6 Mar 2012

Genre: picture book

Setting: Irish village in Ballywhinney, Ireland

Recommended for: PreS - Grade 5

Themes: bog mummies, museums, grandfathers, sensitivity and respect for the dead

Protagonist: young Irish girl and her grandfather

Starred reviews: BCCB

Pages32


See it on Amazon

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY

Maeve is unnerved when she and her grandfather find a body in the bog in Ballywhinney, Ireland. It turns out to be the body of a young girl who lived more than a thousand years ago.

A girl like Maeve, with fair hair, who walked the same fields and picked the same flowers.

When archeologists display the mummy at a museum, Maeve wonders: Does the girl mind being displayed in a glass case for all to see? Or does she miss the green meadow where she had lain for so many hundreds of years?

Two picture-book masters sensitively capture the layers of thought and feeling arising in the face of an awe-inspiring and mysterious discovery.

Picture Book
Mummy Cat

Author: Marcus Ewert

Illustrator: Lisa Brown

Publication Date: 21 Jul 2015

Genre: picture book

Setting: inside an Egyptian pyramid tomb

Recommended for: Grades K-4

Themes: Egyptology, Egyptian pyramids, cats, mummies, hieroglyphics, Queen Hatshepsut, Egyptian pharaohs, canopic jars, rhyming couplets, Ancient Egypt

Protagonist: Egyptian mummy cat

Starred reviews: Booklist and Kirkus

Pages48


See it on Amazon

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY

Mummy Cat prowls his pyramid home, longing for his beloved owner.

As he roams the tomb, lavish murals above his head display scenes of the cat with his young Egyptian queen, creating a story-within-a-story about the events of centuries past. Hidden hieroglyphs deepen the tale and are explained in an informative author’s note.

Marcus Ewert and Lisa Brown’s smart, beautiful book is a marvel of sophisticated simplicity, infinitely engaging to examine in detail, and complete with a sweetly surprising plot twist sure to delight young cat-lovers and budding Egyptologists alike.

Informational Picture Book
The Mummy Makers of Egypt

Author: Tamara Bower

Illustrator: Tamara Bower

Copyright: 8 Mar 2016

Genre: informational picture book

Setting: tomb of Yuya, Valley of the Kings, Ancient Egypt

Recommended for: Grades 3-6

Themes: Ancient Egypt, creating mummies, embalming, Yuya (Pharaoh Ankhnaten's grandfather), Egyptian pharaohs, hieroglyphics, world history, ancient history

Protagonist: Ipy, son of the royal embalmer, Paneb; Ancient Egyptians

Starred reviews: SLJ

Pages40


See it on Amazon

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY

From artist and Egypt specialist Tamara Bower comes her third, gorgeous book about Ancient Egypt. Using the classic style of Egyptian art, the book is painstakingly accurate in facts and illustrative style.

Artifacts, funerary customs, kid-friendly gory details of the mummification process, hieroglyphs, and details of life in ancient Egypt are told through the eyes of Ipy, whose father is embalmer to the King.

Yuya, father of the Queen, has died and Ipy must help his father in the mummification process. Yuya is an actual mummy and the discovery of his tomb is an entertaining story in itself, with the archaeologist Theodore Davis fainting at the sight of so much gold, and the portly Gaston Maspero getting stuck while trying to climb into the tomb.

Yuya’s tomb was a spectacular discovery in the Valley of the Kings that was later overshadowed only by the discovery of King Tut, Yuya’s great-grandson.

The book features sidebars of hieroglyphs and their meanings, a map, and an afterword telling more about the life of Yuya, of the burial process, and ancient Egypt in general.

While there are a number of children’s books about mummies, none are told from the point of view of the embalmers themselves, and none are illustrated with the meticulous eye of Tamara Bower.

Mummies

Author: Christopher Sloan

Copyright: 14 Sep 2010

Genre: nonfiction

Setting: mummies found in locations around the world; includes Papua New Guinea, Chile, Russia, Egypt, China, and Peru

Recommended for: Grades 4-7

Themes: mummies, world history, archaeology, Vladimir Lenin, Atacama Desert (Chile), King Tut

Starred reviews: no starred reviews

Pages48

Notes: Includes profiles of 11 mummies around the world


See it on Amazon

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY

Investigate mysteries from the grave in this vividly illustrated book, a creepy-fun compendium of the world’s most fascinating mummies.

National Geographic’s unparalleled photographs bring kids up close and personal with ancient remains, while Chris Sloan’s mesmerizing text reveals what the experts have discovered about each mummy’s life and death.

Kids will clamor to read this book in the classroom or at home—and they’ll absorb science, ancient cultures, geography, and more, as freaky photos and intriguing stories keep them glued to every page.

Nonfiction
Mummies Exposed!: Creepy and True #1

Author: Kerrie Logan Hollihan

Copyright: 7 May 2019

Genre: nonfiction

Setting: multiple worldwide locations where mummies have been found

Recommended for: Grades 5-9

Themes: mummies, King Tut, world history, archaeology, ice mummies, ancient world, Eva Perón, Inca child mummies, Otzi the Iceman, the Altai Princess

Starred reviews: School Library Connection, SLJ, Booklist, and Kirkus

Pages208


See it on Amazon

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY

Just when you think you know everything there is to know about mummies, new facts are unearthed. Mummies Exposed! goes beyond the familiar Egyptian mummies and uncovers the secrets of mummified bodies from around the globe.

New technologies have uncovered fresh facts about old favorites, such as Ötzi the Ice Man found in the Alps, and recent findings have unearthed mummies rarely discussed before, like the Orlovits family of Vác, Hungary, laid to rest in a forgotten church crypt.

Among those included are the first example of a Moche warrior priestess found in Peru, bog bodies that were preserved in Irish wetlands, the body of a Buddhist monk hidden within a sculpture, and more.

MORE “5 BOOKS” LISTS + DISPLAY POSTERS

This week's 5 Books post features 5 books about microorganisms. Includes free library display poster.   These are 5 Books about shipwrecks. Includes a free downloadable library display poster.   This is a list of 5 YA space operas, plus a free library display poster.
 

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