Need Books/Movies for Kids Going to Rome
February 3, 2008 3:55 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for recommendations for books, movies and even music that might be relevant for a group of middle school (7th & 8th grade, ages 12-14) kids who are going to Rome over spring break.

I'm a teacher, and I'm leading a group of 20 middle school kids as well as three other faculty members. I'd like to be able to recommend novels, movies and music for them.

They've all read Caroline Lawrence's "The Roman Mysteries" series. I'm very familiar with the range of children's and young adult historical fiction, especially that set in ancient times. I'd love to have any recommendations for novels set in modern Italy. Some of the students have read Dan Brown's "Angels and Demons", but teen and young adult books would be great, too.

I suggested "Roman Holiday"; all of the parents said "Oooh, I love that movie", and all of the kids were bored out of their skull. Fluff like the Mary Kate and Ashley "When In Rome" and "The Lizzie McGuire Movie" is right up their alley.

I figure music is a long-shot, but maybe there are some recommendations there as well. Thanks!
posted by bjennings to Travel & Transportation around Rome, Italy (8 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Iain Pears has a nice mystery series out about art theft set mostly in Italy, starring a British academic and an Italian policewoman. This page actually has a listing of English-language mystery novels set in Italy, but the Pears ones are the only ones I've read. I've heard very good things about some of the other authors on the list, particularly Magdalen Nabb.
posted by posadnitsa at 4:16 PM on February 3, 2008 [1 favorite]

Since you said music, I have to mention Respighi - maybe I misjudge, but golly! I was blown away by this music once upon a time and I think it's still got that power. (Maybe the animation of Pines of Rome in Fantasia 2000 would be of interest? Visually it abandons the Roman theme.)
posted by Wolfdog at 5:19 PM on February 3, 2008

It would appeal to a certain kind of reader but Eric Flint's 1634: The Galileo Affair and 1635: The Cannon Law are the 3rd and 4th novels in a Connecticut-Yankee-in-King-Arthur's-Court-type series in which a modern West Virginia coal mining town has been transported back in time to the 17th century. Those books take place in Venice and Rome respectively. Lots of historical perspective related to that time and mention of several landmarks. But come to think of it there's a whole lot of blood and gore and a few other naughty bits, so maybe they're best left for us Advanced Adults.

Godfather III? Ugh, I'm not very good at this.

Okay, Anne Holm's I Am David is a children's book for kids a little younger than that and it takes place in Italy, partly... but not Rome and it's not fluff. Arrgh.
posted by XMLicious at 7:09 PM on February 3, 2008

I was going to suggest Madeline L'Engle's A House Like A Lotus, but I forgot the lesbian theme that is the main crux of the book. Might not be appropriate for your kids. What I did remember was the main character, Poly, is 16 and ends up on her own in Greece and Cyprus.
posted by kimdog at 7:46 PM on February 3, 2008

Asterix comics?

list of board games set in ancient Rome
another list of board games set in ancient Rome, with links to reviews and pictures

Rome, a single box containing three games set in ancient Rome. This is by a well-regarded game designer, and the games are simpler and shorter than many of the more complex games on the list above.
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:44 PM on February 3, 2008 [1 favorite]

How about A Little Romance? About middle school kids who run away so they can experience their first kiss under the Bridge of Sighs in Venice (wrong town, but an absolutely charming movie, right age, right country).

Middle school kids might like it, because the two kids in the movie completely snooker all the clueless grown ups.
posted by nax at 7:45 AM on February 4, 2008

are they too young for Gladiator?
posted by flaneuse at 9:59 AM on February 4, 2008

They might enjoy the film "Caterina in the Big City" ("Caterina va in Citta"). It's about a 15-year-old girl who moves with her family from a hick town to Rome. If nothing else it's a more contemporary portrait of life in Rome than something like "The Bicycle Thief" (which is needless to say a great film, but might give them the wrong impression of what to expect). I just noticed that Netflix says that "Caterina" is about a 12-year-old, but Amazon says it's about a 15-year-old. I'm pretty sure Amazon is correct.
posted by thomas144 at 12:51 PM on February 5, 2008

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