Live Like A Roman

Live Like A Roman

By Author / Illustrator

Claire Saunders, Ruth Hickson


Non Fiction

Age range(s)



Button Books








Live Like a Roman is a fascinating and informative journey back in time to find out what it was really like to live in Ancient Rome and the sprawling Roman Empire. Get ready to discover what it was like to live in this epic era of mad, bad emperors, wealthy senators, fearsome gladiators, loyal citizens, struggling lower classes and enslaved workers.

With its highly structured and complicated society, life was a lavish and pampered affair for some and a harsh, beleaguered existence for others. Find out how this powerful civilisation invaded and conquered a massive area, including more than 50 million people at its peak! Amazing Roman inventions we still use today are explored along with information on everyday jobs, city life, houses, food, transport, entertainment, religion and medicine.

An in-depth map shows the spread of the Roman Empire at its peak, including sites of specific interest, the main provinces and settlements, with their Latin names, and some of the goods that were sent to Rome from all over the Empire.

Dotted through the book are craft activities and recipes to have a go at. Find out first-hand what it's like to play a Roman game for children, use an abacus to help with your schoolwork or taste the unusual flavours of Roman snacks. A fictional enslaved child pops up throughout the book describing the sights, sounds, smells and emotions he experiences as he goes about his daily life.



Live Like a Roman is another fantastic non-fiction offering by publisher GMC books. First impressions count and GMC books are always fresh, appealing and excellent value for the quality and wealth of knowledge they contain. The cover itself is brightly bold and visually eye catching and the book has a really clear and child friendly layout. The style of this non-fiction text is easy to drop in and out of, returning to time and again but it can also be read from cover to cover without feeling overloaded by the information.

The layout of facts, dates, figures, and interesting and unusual knowledge comes in short, catchy paragraphs with clear headings. Every section contains beautifully drawn illustrations by Ruth Hickson, of buildings, figures, objects and scenes of Roman life. My favourites were the scenes of Roman city life and housing that really brought the details, of Roman culture and lifestyle to life in a way that I think the young reader could use to compare to their own, modern lives.

In addition to the concisely explained facts, there is the introduction of a fictional character - a young, eight-year-old slave boy called Tiro. Tiro leads the reader, with a first person narrative, through aspects of his own Roman experiences. This is a really nice way in which author, Claire Saunders, engages the young reader on a more personal level with the wider history, as they can imagine and identify with a narrator of roughly their age. Tiro also provides a brilliant template to support children who may be planning their own 'live like a Roman' writing task.

I loved the well thought out and engaging crafts that also appear, with instructions, throughout the book . There is nothing unachievable or overly complicated (either at home or if being used in school) and there is a great range of interactive, tactile activities such as making a Roman salad, theatre mask or even your own wax tablet like Roman children would have used. The crafts are a fun way in which the reader is encouraged to really connect with the history, as are the questions and ideas for discussion at the end of the book .

An excellent and entertaining book that approaches the topic with some great, fresh new angles.

56 pages / Reviewed by Jennifer Caddick, teacher

Suggested Reading Age 7+


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