Flavia Gemina is brilliant at finding things, so it’s natural for her to solve mysteries. The daughter of a ship’s captain living in Ostia, the port of Rome, in AD 79, she acquires a gang of three friends who help her. There is Jonathan, the Jewish boy (and secretly a Christian); Nubia, the African slave girl; and Lupus, a mute beggar boy. Together they work out who severed the heads of the watchdogs that guard people’s homes, and why he did it. Caroline Lawrence is a terrific storyteller and a delightfully readable and accessible writer with characters that children will relate to. Her picture of daily life in Ancient Rome is wonderfully vivid. But “The Thieves of Ostia” is first and foremost a whodunnit, with lots of twist and cliffhangers–and a mystery for the reader to solve.

Terrell says…

Great choice for kids who are traveling to Rome and the rest of Italy. The well-restored ruins of Ostia Antiche is a terrific place to take the kids when you’re visiting Rome and having read this lively mystery will really bring the place to life for your young travelers. There’s even a map to help you find Flavia’s “house” while you’re visiting the open-air museum. Recommended for ages 8 to 11.

Price: $10.99