For many years I have been advocating the use of fiction at KS2 to help pupils to realise the importance of creative imagination, disciplined by evidence, to fill the gaps left when the sources give out.
My favourite for ancient Egypt is Maat’s feather. As a young boy born to a farming family in ancient Egypt, Qen’s future seems to be mapped out for him. He wants nothing more than to join his father and older brother planting and harvesting the fertile land on the floodplain of the river Nile, and to be selected as part of the team helping to build a great temple. You see immediately how much contextual knowledge is woven into the story. Anyway, back to the story. Fate, however, has other things in store for the boy. His older brother, Amenopet, wants more from life. He dreams of a life of luxury, and sees Qen as his means of obtaining just that, involving Qen in an adventure he would much rather avoid. Ancient Egypt and its people’s belief in an afterlife to which fabulous riches could be taken are brilliantly portrayed in this heart-wrenching tale.