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Pharaoh's Daughter: A Novel of Ancient Egypt

3.63  ·  Rating Details ·  508 Ratings  ·  67 Reviews
Born into slavery, adopted as an infant by a princess, and raised in the palace of mighty Pharaoh, Moses struggles to define himself. And so do the three women who love him: his own embittered mother, forced to give him up by Pharaoh's decree; the Egyptian princess who defies her father and raises Moses as her own child; and his headstrong sister Almah, who discovers a gre ...more
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published February 21st 2000 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published 2000)
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Sep 25, 2012 Beverly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-fiction
I take issue with Lester's assertion in his "Author's Note" section that the book of Exodus is not historically accurate. And as a Jew, Lester's assertion is puzzling. What is it that he does not understand about "divine inspiration?" God wrote the books of the Torah through the hand of Moses, inspiring him what to write down. So, the book of Exodus shows us how God felt about the Khemtians (Egyptians) and their treatment of his chosen people.
Apart from this, the novel was interesting, with Les
May 12, 2009 Asenath rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-lit
Story about Moses. Made Moses' birth mom the bad guy. Invented sibling of Moses who converted to Egyptian ways. Actual writing wasn't bad, but the ideas and proposed theology made me uncomfortable.
Sequoyah Bell
Sep 28, 2015 Sequoyah Bell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
a.What dates did you read the novel?
I started reading this novel about the third week of school and I finished the book on September 10, 2015.

b. What do you think the overall theme, or universal message, of the novel is? Why?
I think that the universal message of this novel is about identity and finding your true self. Pharaoh's Daughter was about a Haribu(Hebrew) girl, named Almah who feels that she doesn't belong in her family and doesn't understand her religion. When the pharaoh's daughter s
Dawn States
Historical Fiction

This historical fiction book takes place centuries ago in ancient Egypt during the time of Pharaohs and the building of the temples by the Hebrew people. It is a retelling of the story of Moses, and puts more depth in this story we all thought we knew. The book is easy to relate to, as one thing that does not change over time is human nature. We still have the same emotions of love, fear, longing, and becoming, today as people did then.
Almah is a Hebrew girl who
Apr 29, 2009 Joana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So basically, this is about a Habiru girl named Almah who goes to live in the palace with the princess to take care of her little brother, Mosis. The princess is keeping Mosis because she thinks the goddess gave him to her and she also wants to save him from having the soldiers kill him. The pharaoh was ordering the soldiers to kill Habiru babies.
Katie Fitzgerald
This review also appears on my blog, Read-at-Home Mom.

Pharaoh's Daughter is a retelling of the childhood of Moses (whom Lester calls Mosis for reasons explained in the author's note.) In this version, Moses is the grandson of Ramses III (Ramesses) and he has an older sister, Almah, who is taken from his Hebrew (or Haribu) home along with him and becomes a special object of Pharaoh's affections. The story begins with Moses confessing to a murder, then backtracks to explain how it all came about.

Tori Newman
This book is a retelling of the traditional tale of Moses in Ancient Egypt during the time of the Hebrews. It explores the relationship of Moses and his older sister Almah, who by a string of events has made herself one of the Egyptians. On one side, Almah has accepted the Egyptian gods, and has become a priestess under the pharaoh for her unlikely similar appearance to his late wife. On the other, Moses struggles to choose his loyalties, his sister who raised him as an Egyptian, or the rest of ...more
not so humankind
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 26, 2014 Pandora rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Six graders and up who are opened minded about religion
Shelves: young-adult
Julius Lester tells the story of Moses from the viewpoint of an older unknow sister who saves him from the Pharaoh's soilder. Lester got the idea that Moses might have had a second sister becasue the traditional texts don't state that it is Miriam that put Moses in the basket. This sister will become Egyptian which is why she will be exculded from the Bibical account. The second part of the book is from Moses viewpoint as he struggles with his divided idenity of being Hebrew and Egyptian and at ...more
Jul 27, 2013 Laura rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
So...this was okay. It was decently written, well researched, and honestly wasn't too bad. But overall, I was just "meh" about it. I couldn't quite get absorbed.

The voices were clear, which I always like. But I was frustrated that we changed POV characters halfway through. It was jarring. And this book was called "Pharoah's Daughter," not "Pharoah's Grandson," but half the book focused on Moses (Mosis) instead of Almah or Batya. (And honestly, the daughter in question could have referred to eith
Dec 17, 2014 Andrea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pharaoh's Daughter by: Julius Lester

The book “The Pharaoh's Daughter” is a really god book about choosing what you believe in, choosing your destiny. Alma and Moises are brother and sister. Alma grows up in a town (Goshen) where everyone believes in one god; Ya. Moses initially lived with them, but was brought to Pi-Ramesses after they attempted to save him from the Pharaoh's law. Young boys where killed, but Yekutiel lived. The princess took him to the Egyptian palace to be saved and re-named
Sep 08, 2009 Luz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Any One
Recommended to Luz by: Maeve Adames
=] This was the other book that I chose to read for my Global History I class. I have to say that even though I am not a huge fan of Historical Fiction books, I loved this one! It is a story in the point of view of two Habiru people, Almah and Mosis (his birthname was Yekutiel). After Almah meets a Khemetian Princess named Meryetamun, there is a sisterly bond between them. One day, the Princess comes and claims that Yekutiel was now her son, given to her by the Goddess Taweret to protect from th ...more
the plot in this book is Almah and her family with the other hebrew people. But she speaks the language of the Pharaoh and the other hebrew people. Don't like it becuase they feel like she thinks shes better than them. But Almah and her family they to save her new born brother. Becuase the Pharaoh just made a order that every new born boy must be killed.

I can connect to what Almah is doing becuase if i had a brother i would do the same thing. To try and save his life, from what the Pharaoh wan
Apr 24, 2010 Kara rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction-biblical
The story is split into two parts, becoming almost two novellas combined into one binding.

Part I is narrated by a Hebrew girl named Almah who longs for a life different from what her traditions dictates. She is not part of the original story, but is weaved in perfectly here.

Part II is told by a fifteen year Moses, a teenager caught between worlds, feeling uneasy in both, and with no idea what to do next.

The story has a lot of the religion stripped out of it. Divinity does not make an appearanc
The Pharoah has ordered that all Jewish baby boys be killed. Everyone in Almahâs village is prepared to hide their babies in baskets under the bulrushes in the river. But when Almahâs baby brother Yekutiel is hidden in the river, the Pharoahâs daughter herself finds him and declares him a gift to her from the god Taweret. The princess takes him, renames him Mosis, and brings him to the palace. His mother goes along as a wet nurse and Almah accompanies as a translator and âœlittle sisterâ to the ...more
Jan 03, 2010 Beth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lester's interpretation of Moses in the Bulrushes has a prince-and-the-pauper-like twist the pharaoh's daughter invites Moses's sister and mother to come live at the palace with her and the baby she is taken in. Almah, the sister, is enraptured by the lavish lifestyle of Egyptian royalty and eventually becomes a priestess, while Princess Meryetamun begins to live a more simplified life. Conflict between the Habiru and Khemetian people is the central theme of the book. Lester includes rich detail ...more
Caiden Wallace
I didn't like it. For most of the book, it ended up having Moses' adopted sister (Moses being adopted) as the center of it. It has some inappropriate and disturbing, messed-up parts with Moses' adopted sister being trashy and sinful throughout the book, being sexually inappropriate. It doesn't go into detail, and it's not anything like an MA-17 TV rating, but the author should definitely know better. It's disgusting. The same character ends up wanting to possibly marry her brother, which was mor ...more
Nov 24, 2013 AbiVloet rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Pharoah's Daughter is an amazing book. It is the re-telling of the story of Moses and his childhood. The author was trying to stay mutual so in this case Moses was called Mosis so as not to take religious sides. I really liked how the author made 3 different perspectives and each had there own sides to the story. In the beginning there was a Habiru girl called Almah, a Khemetian princes called Merytium and a Habiru brought up in the Khemet palace called Mosis in Habiru Yekutel. There life revolv ...more
Jun 23, 2012 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It didn't take me very long to read this book. Right from the beginning I recognized the biblical connection with the book's Mosis and Moses. The story follows an elder sister of Mosis named Almah, the author derived this character from the original Hebrew version of the Exodus verse saying something to the effect of: The young woman of marriageable age went to fetch her mother.
This word was "Almah" and thus Mosis' oldest sister was concocted. This story is fascinating. Who knows? The sister is
May 05, 2013 Christaaay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lester used wonderful period details in his retelling of the story of Moses (Mosis, as he spells it, in accordance to the full name "Thutmosis:). Pharaoh's Daughter tells a surprisingly well-rounded tale about Moses’ sister--the one who offered to find a nursemaid when Pharaoh's daughter found baby Moses in the Nile. This sister, named Almah, is not your typical Hebrew pre-teen. Her journey through Egypt plumbs ideas the prominent Eqyptian god and goddess-worship during the time of Moses’ chil ...more
Harlie Sigley
Aug 12, 2013 Harlie Sigley rated it it was amazing
i think it is a great novel so far. it is about a girl how is taken in by the pharaoh becaues she looks alot alike him died wife and his daughter took in her baby brother to. as almah becomes older she becomes a pristess and her brother begans to become confused of who he is as a result he ask his sister and his egyptian mother of how they fell adout themselves. but in the end he kills someone of high rank and he as to leave his home and never return. his sister is upset about that but she leans ...more
Dayna Smith
This book is a retelling of the story of Moses from the point of view of his sister. It begins when Moses is found by Pharaoh's daughter and ends when he runs from Egypt after killing an Egyptian. The Egyptian scholarship in this book is stellar. You feel like you're actually there. Some Christians however, might find parts of this story disturbing. The writer is not writing from a Christian worldview, don't expect Charlton Heston and The Ten Commandments here. If this is not a problem for you, ...more
Jan 18, 2010 Bryan rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: People who like historical fiction, people who want a personal look on the childhood of Moses
Recommended to Bryan by: Library 8th Grade Historical Fiction Resource List
Pharaoh's Daughter is a historical fiction book by Julius Lester set in Ancient Egypt. It tells the story of Moses' childhood and his sister Alaham. This book helps you to you to understand what daily life was for ancient Egyptians. You about Egyptian and Hebrew gods. Also, you get a very personal look at what Moses was like as a child and exactly how he came to be what he was. This book tells two great stories: the story of Moses childhood and stories of ancient Egypt. Additionally, you learn ...more
Sep 08, 2009 Maeve rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone
Recommended to Maeve by: No One
This was the second book I chose to read for my History Class. This book was mainly about two Habiru children named Almah and Mosis. An egyptian princess named Meryetamun rescues Mosis and Mosis becomes the prophet of his people and tries to find his true self. Meanwhile, his sister Almah finds herself as a true preistess for the Egyptian Gods.

This book was very entertaining. It kept me interested with every page. I highly recommend it to anyone who likes reading about Ancient Egypt! Great book
Brigid *Flying Kick-a-pow!*
Whoaaa flashback. I totally forgot about this book until two seconds ago when I saw it on someone else's page. It was one of my favorite books in, like, fourth grade. I read it for an Egypt project and I made this epic diorama for it. It was pretty sweet. Anyway, I remember really liking this book. There was a somewhat confusing perspective change in the middle, which kind of jarred me when I was 10 because I hadn't really read any books with perspective switches, I suppose. But I thought it was ...more
Monica Hernandez
Dec 13, 2009 Monica Hernandez rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book in the beginning of the year because I had recently gone to Egypt. This book was a very thought out perspective on the biblical story of Moses. Instead of the story being told from one point of view, it is rather told from Moses and his sister Almah. I thought that this book was very well told and it will really please someone who enjoys historical fictions. I also found this book to be rather imaginative and creative. MY favorite point of view was Almah’s because it was more fe ...more
Monica Woloshin
May 04, 2013 Monica Woloshin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This was really interesting and posed the question: What if Moses had another sister besides Miriam?
It is important to note this is historical fiction and is not real.
For me, the best part of this book were the various internal struggles many of the characters had.
This includes questions like:
Who am I? What is my purpose? What God or Gods/ Godesses should I believe in?
(sorry for grammatical mistakes in this review.

To conclude, I would recommend this book to those that love historical fiction a
Nov 10, 2014 Serena rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very short story that wonders about the women (the "three mothers" who raised him: his sister, the pharaoh's daughter, and his birth mother) that raised Moses and takes a few turns to wonder at the events and reasons of how and what they worshiped and how he came to live free and bring his people to freedom.

Julius Lester converted to Judaism, so is should not be surprising that he favors that spelling of names.

I've not been Christian for some time but I've always loved the Old Testament stories of Moses and Passover and the exodus. It ties into my love of Ancient Egypt. This is, however, not your standard Exodus story. It works with characterization to tell both sides of the story--Egypt is not all together bad and the Hebrews are not all together good. If you can read Exodus like a story and not strict truth, this is an easy read to expound on the plot and explore the players.
K.J. Grace
Aug 11, 2014 K.J. Grace rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Sexual content:
Dancing naked in front of hundreds, making the Pharaoh lust after the main character's body.


River turns red with the blood of an infant.

Choosing between idols and God. Main character chooses idols and becomes a priestess who dances naked for the goddess in front of crowds.

I would not recommend this book. The storyline had great potential but it was put into a disturbing context.
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what will Almah do? 2 12 Nov 26, 2014 03:56AM  
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  • Asenath
  • Moses and Akhenaten: The Secret History of Egypt at the Time of the Exodus
  • His Majesty, Queen Hatshepsut
  • Egyptian Mummies: Unraveling the Secrets of an Ancient Art
  • Hand of Isis (Numinous World, #3)
  • Daughter of Venice
  • Angel on the Square (Angel on the Square, #1)
  • Throne of Isis
  • Rachel's Secret (The Rachel Trilogy #1)
  • The Search for Nefertiti: The True Story of an Amazing Discovery
  • Cleopatra VII: Daughter of the Nile - 57 B.C. (Royal Diaries #2)
  • Ms. Frizzle's Adventures: Ancient Egypt
  • The Hope Chest
  • Hindenburg, 1937
  • Naguib Mahfouz: Three Novels of Ancient Egypt
  • The Book of the Lion (Crusader Trilogy, #1)
  • Remembering Hypatia: A Novel of Ancient Egypt
I was born on January 27, 1939 in St. Louis, Missouri. From 1941-1954 I lived in Kansas City, Kansas, and from 1954-1961 in Nashville, Tennesse. I received a B.A. in English from Fisk University in 1960.

In 1961 I moved to New York City where I had a talk radio show on WBAI FM from 1966-1973, hosted a television talk show on WNET from 1969-1971.

Since 1968 I have published 43 books. Among the awards
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