The Boy Who Stepped Through Time

When Perry steps into a crumbling ruin while on holiday in France, he is not expecting to be transported back 1700 years to Roman times. While he hunts desperately for a way home, he must blend in as a slave – even if it means eating mice for dinner!

Gradually, Perry is caught up in the fascinating world of grand Villa Rubia and a life he could never have imagined. But when he makes a new friend, he thinks he might already know her terrible fate. 

Perry is faced with an impossible choice: to find his way home or stay and guard his friend’s life – and risk being trapped in the past forever…


Allen and Unwin, June 2021


Aurealis Awards short list 2022

ARA Historical Novel Prize long list 2021

Number 1 best seller at Readings June 2021

Best seller on ebooks June 2021

Best seller at Jeffreys Books June and July 2021


Chapter 1

Colouring sheet

Teaching notes

Competition – win your name in Anna Ciddor’s next book!

This competition is now closed, but congratulations to the winners: Fletcher K (NSW), Angela Z (VIC), and Travis B (ACT). Their names will be in the next book!

Research secrets

This book would not have been possible without the collaboration of historian and archaeologist Tamara Lewit who used her brilliant skills to unearth the tiniest details about the lives and homes of people in Roman Gaul in 313-314 CE.

Click here to find out the secrets of Tamara’s research and explore some of the primary sources, just like she did.

Illustrating secrets

Click here to find out some illustrating secrets, have a go at the quizzes, and download larger versions of the illustrations from the book.


Find out about presentations and workshops based on this novel

Make a book display

Download the coloured images of the figures, a clock, and the cobblestones, cut them out, laminate, and display! (Hint: leave a bit of extra laminate under the figures’ feet to fold back and attach to their bases.)


A brilliant novel that combines history, archaeology, time travel and conflicts of modernity versus antiquity to teach kids something new and unique in a fun and vibrant way (Ashleigh Meikle in The Book Muse)

Anna Ciddor has vividly brought the Roman era to life with authentic historical flourishes… a sweet, funny romp perfect for history buffs ages 8+ (Daniella Robertson, children’s and YA specialist at Readings Bookstore.)

This historical fiction book is the ideal novel for children 10+. One of a kind, Anna Ciddor has done an amazing job of adding just the right amount of humor, embarrassment and shocking in this action-packed story. I cannot wait to see what she whips up next! (Hannah’s Book Reviews)

Richly detailed and riveting middle grade time-slip tale set in Roman times (Mia Macrossan in Story Links)

Once again Anna Ciddor has crafted an historical narrative that will both entertain her readers with humour, drama, terrific characters and exciting storylines, and inform them with fascinating, and no doubt, previously unknown facts about life in Ancient Rome. (Sue Warren in Just So Stories)

This is a wonderful time-slip adventure with so much historical detail that it seems as if you are actually in Ancient Rome with Perry. The characters are lots of fun, and the story full of action and adventure. The friendship between the three main characters is great, and a real highlight of the book. A perfect introduction to Ancient Rome, as well as being a great adventure story, for students in upper primary and lower secondary. (Michelle from Lamont Books)

A delightful historical adventure storya really fun, fascinating read (Noveltea Corner – watch the review on YouTube)

The final pages of the novel will be devoured by young readers wanting to know what happens to Perry. All the while, the past has come to life, its people have become real, and the present suddenly looks more temporary and ‘historical’ than ever because soon enough we will be the past that many young historians might be curious about. (Kevin Brophy in the Children’s Book Council of Australia Reading Time)

It’s clear that a lot of deep research went into it, which made it an absolute joy to read. The Roman era was brought to life with colour, vibrancy and affection (Alex Crozier, Good Reads)

The comparison between life then and now will provide much food for thought for young readers, as will the subtle but important lesson about not judging the past by the present. Highly recommended! (Robyn Bavati, Good Reads)

Imagine the last lesson of the day, 75 x Year 6 girls on the edge of their seats, 75 sets of eyes begging for more and 25 of the most reluctant readers spirited away by Anna’s tale. Sounds like a best seller to this librarian. (Robyn Fox, teacher librarian, Lauriston)

The book is really good with some amazing writing and I would definitely read this again and again, never getting sick of it! (Simren, Grade 6)

Such an exciting premise, 21st century boy thrust back into Roman times. This is what we need on the shelves. An Aussie boy time travels to ancient Rome, taking on numerous adventures – all the while keeping his identity secret. Please make this a series. (Karen Marsters, Jeffreys children’s book specialist)

This book really intrigued our Year 6 and 7 students who love this mystery that takes the reader into a Roman world in AD 300! Impossible to put down! It’s a must read for classes studying Ancient Civilisations in the Australian Curriculum. (Julie Connelly, Xavier Teacher Librarian)

Hooked me from the start (Hugh, age 13)

This is a great book to get you started on reading, even if you don’t like reading! (Nick, age 13)

Captivating! Takes you into another world. (Zane, age 13)


Look for The Boy Who Stepped Through Time in your local bookstore, or you can order a print or e-book version from various online booksellers, eg Booktopia, Book Depository, Kobo , Amazon in various countries including Australia , the UK and France as well as the Australian publisher. Specialist versions such as Large Print and Braille are available through Read How You want.


Enquire here about translation rights or overseas sales. Contact the author directly about film rights.