Latin for Children and Young Adults

Did you know that Dr. Seuss has been translated into Latin? So has Winnie the Pooh, the Hobbit, and even Harry Potter!

In the old days (before the 1980s), children often learned classical languages by simply reading texts from Homer, Virgil, or the Latin Bible. They can still do that today – with the new addition of childhood favorites. Scroll below for a list of great books to boost your child’s enjoyment of Latin.

For children who want to read real Bible stories in Latin, I run a reading group with a simplified version of the Vulgate. Children learn inductively by seeing repeated grammar and vocabulary and by looking at medieval and modern illustrations of the text.

For more grammatically savvy students (both children and adults), I run a yearly Latin I class using Wheelock’s classic textbook. Though Wheelock includes a healthy dose of grammar, the curriculum is also chock full of original Latin texts, and the grammar is a handmaid to understanding the classical authors themselves.

For advanced students who have at least one year of Latin, I run a reading group using the unedited Vulgate. It keeps the best of us on our toes!

For more information about the reading groups, check out the links above or contact me directly. In the meantime, enjoy browsing the list below!

John Tenniel's illustration of Alice and the White Rabbit

Beginner to Intermediate

  1. Asterix the Gaul (Asterix Gallus) – the first volume of the famous French comic book, recommended as “a really good way of learning your first proper Latin sentences.”

  2. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Quomodo invidiosus nomine Grinchus Christi natalem abrogaverit) – this Latin translation (and the other Seuss ones below) even keep the rhymes!

  3. Green Eggs and Ham (Virent Ova! Viret Perna!) – Dr. Seuss’s breakfast menu never sounded so sophisticated.

  4. The Cat in the Hat (Cattus Petasatus) – a suave and smooth-talking feline becomes Latinate.

  5. Winnie the Pooh (Winnie ille Pu) – translated in the 1950s and still a classic.

  6. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Alicia in Terra Mirabili) – If Alice’s adventures weren’t already strange enough, here’s a new journey down the rabbit hole.

  7. The Latin Vulgate (Biblia Sacra Vulgata) – oops! This is not a modern work, but it’s one of the best tools for learning Latin. The Vulgate is a Latin translation of the Scriptures made in the 5th century by Jerome, and the Latin is simple and readable. Maybe that’s not surprising, since vulgata means “common,” and the translation was for widespread popular use.

John Tenniel's classic black-and-white drawing of the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland


Sometimes when classicists translate modern works into Latin, they make them showpieces. The following books have difficult Latin but will reward the undaunted Latin learner.

  1. The Hobbit (Hobbitus Ille) – a translation of a favorite by JRR Tolkien.

  2. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Harrius Potter et Philosophi Lapis) – Not for the faint of heart, but full of clever Latin constructions.

  3. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harrius Potter et Camera Secretorum) – Ditto. Wingardium leviosa!

For more on learning Latin, as well as logic and poetry, check out the courses and reading groups above.