Posted November 16th, 2012, 03:18 PM
For that age, I like the "Top 10" books put out by DK. My daughter used them last year to pick out where she wanted to go when we went to Rome.
There are different versions of "Then & Now" type of books that are great for some of the ancient ruins you might come across. Helps to visually what the ruins looked like when they weren't so, uh, ruined.
Second on the DK books. They usually have a nice history and time line section in them. I like the pictures and illustrations too.
You may look for Biographies of important historical figures that have to do with the places you'll be visiting. You could choose Historic Mediterranean figures who played an important part in the Punic wars as Spain and Italy figured prominently. Hamilcar Barca, Hannibal, and Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus. You could also look at books about some of the famous artist like Davinci, Michael Angelo, Titian, Bernini ect. You could even make a game of finding art from these masters.
Food it another way to catch the interest of middle schoolers. Get a regional Italian cookbook with lots of anecdotes and illustrations. That way he'll know what to look for when dining out.
My middle schoolers love Barcelona and Rome. They didn't want to visit any "boring museums", so we just visited the museums that these two cities really are... everything you'd find in a museum, they just didn't realize it.
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