Twice Freed, by Patricia St. John, was a recent school assignment for my nine-year-old daughter. She was having a tough time getting into the book because of the tough vocabulary (it's recommended for 12 and up), so I decided to read it aloud with her.
I'm so glad I did. This book follows the life of Onesimus, a slave who is the topic of the book of Philemon in the Bible. My daughter and I enjoyed the story line and the struggles between and within the well-developed characters. I appreciated the accurate portrayal of society in the Roman empire including the institution of slavery, gladiators in training and in the arena, pagan festivals, guilds, shipping and dock work, and family relationships. The traits of the cities that Onesimus finds himself in--Colossae, Laodicea, Ephasus, Athens, Corinth, and Rome--are described without caricature (except maybe for Athens).
Twice Freed made me want to go back to the Bible and read Acts, Philemon, Colossians, Ephesians, Philippians, and the parts of Revelation that deal with the people and places mentioned in the book.
I highly recommend this book for adults and children 11 and up, and as a read-aloud for kids as young as about eight.