One of the best things about launching my debut series, set in ancient Egypt, has been visiting schools, talking to middle grade learners about all the things we inherited from ancient Egypt, their amazing artifacts, fascinating afterlife beliefs, and daily life practices. Long story short, I’m a sucker for all things ancient Egyptian. I spent a good decade of my life earning a Ph.D. in the subject so it’s fun to put the education to work, even if kid lit wasn’t the original plan.
With book two, ARIA JONES & THE GUARDIAN’S WEDJA, launching this month, I’m missing school visits and one-on-one time with readers. But I’m also a mom of a middle school aged child so I’ve struggled personally with the challenges of learning from home.
In an effort to support educators and parents, as well as celebrate my book launch, I’ve put together a little ESCAPE THE TOMB activity package designed for home or classroom. In the book, Jagger and Aria and their friends take shelter in a mastaba—rectangular tomb structures that housed shrines and underground burials of elite ancient Egyptians. Ancient Egyptians visited the mastabas scattered around the Giza plateau, near the Great pyramid, to stay connected to their ancestors. They would say their names aloud and offer sustenance, mostly commonly bread and beer. They believed the dead could intervene to help the living … bread and beer were a great way to earn that assistance. Jagger and Aria don’t have bread and beer on hand, but lucky for them, the Excellent Spirit of the mastaba they hide in is perfectly happy with Skittles and a juice box. I’ve used this scene to set up an activity guide that invites kids to move through five tasks in order to tempt the spirit to help them escape the tomb. You can download it here: http://malaynaevans.com/aria/
Like so many Americans, I’m looking forward to the day we can safely go back to our regularly scheduled lives … and schools and bookstores and libraries. In the meantime, there’s nothing like a good book (and a handy activity guide) to keep the spirits high. Hopefully mine is enjoyed by many.
If you’re looking for more ancient Egyptian themed content, feel free to visit the educator’s page on my website (http://malaynaevans.com/for-educators/) for free downloads, including a crossword puzzle, educator’s guide, and scavenger hunt.
If you’d like a chance to win a signed copy of ARIA JONES AND THE GUARDIAN’S WEDJA, leave a comment and your name will be placed in a basket. Share the post on social media and you will get a second entry. (Let us know that you shared) One winner will be drawn at random and announced on this blog next month.
Malayna Evans was raised in the mountains of Utah and spent her childhood climbing, reading Sci-Fi, and finding trouble. She earned her Ph.D. in ancient Egyptian history from the University of Chicago. Evans lives in Oak Park, IL, with her two kids, a rescue dog, and a hedgehog. She’s passionate about coffee, travel and sharing her passion for ancient Egypt. You can learn more about Malayna at http://malaynaevans.com or follow Malayna on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Malayna