Greeky YA books


The Lightning ThiefIt was Mark Alford who first made me really bother looking a second time at Rick Riordan’s uber-popular Greek myth inspired Percy Jackson series. After I read it and started getting inundated with emails from kids hoping they were really demigods, I realized that it appeared to a lot of people that Riordan was doing something unusual. But honestly, there are lots of people who take Greek myths as their jump off for YA novels. Here’s a few:

Then there’s the one’s that are aimed at grown-ups, like:

The Thief, by Megan Whalen TurnerMy secret confession is that despite my love of YA books and my adoration of Greek mythology, I am rarely a fan of the novel adaptations. Mostly I think I’m just a grinch, which is why I hope that interested people will check out some of the ones I’ve listed above (I’m especially a fan of The Courtesan’s Daughter and The Thief), but there’s another reason too.

I really hate it when I get kids emailing me CONVINCED that Rick Riordan’s version of one god or another, or the structure of ancient Greek mythology generally is How It Worked. I don’t mind them getting the myths wrong or misunderstanding the various deities (much), because, honestly, who’s to say? But what I really hate is the idea that gets stuck in their little brains that there is One Correct Version. And the immediate follow up question is always, “is it real?” To which I am loathe to respond “no.” But when I DON’T respond “no” I get asked what the appropriate steps to BECOME a deity are. Or, alternatively, how they can get in contact with other children of Greek gods. Which kind of makes me cringe.

Grinch, I told you. But also because what is really out there is SO much richer! It is a real live other world that no one really sees or knows about anymore that they can actually access by reading the original poems. And they can!!! They TOTALLY can. The Homeric Hymns and certain translations of the Metamorphoses are fantastic for kids! I taught them to middle schoolers with no problems at all. People don’t give kids enough credit.

What do y’all think?


4 responses to “Greeky YA books”

  1. I am so glad that you were just busy and not stopping. I had assumed with the last post stating that you expected it to be your last post that it actually became it. I totally accept your idea of a trade on guest blogging (I’ll come out better in that deal, certainly).

    I’m both excited by your list and irritated with myself that I haven’t read more of them! I’m thinking my son will like the Young Hero series the most, based on titles alone.

    Well, I guess I need to head up to the library now before it closes…

  2. Morgann Rose Avatar
    Morgann Rose

    I was about to read the “Percy Jackson” books but then they had to go and ruin it for me and make it into a movie. Why do they do that???!!!! Anyway I’m defintly gonna check out those other books oyu recommened.

  3. Bethany Jones Avatar
    Bethany Jones

    Kids are lazy they dont want to read it them selves i know this im one of them we want some one intelligent teaching us about it explaining them im writing a book righ now and i think this has been one of the most informative sits yet thank you for your hard work

  4. I have a wonderfull little book called Tanglewood Tales by Nathaniel Hawthorne. My version seems to differ from those on the internet as it was edited by Guy N. Pocock who wrote a new introduction entitled: ‘What Is Truth?”.

    This 17 page introduction makes the reader aware that the tales within are based on truth; the truth of tales past down by word of mouth through generations by a people who loved to tell…and listen to stories. If you would like me to transcribe it for you (just the intro), drop me an email – I think you will enjoy it.

    PS…I am also very happy you continue to write here…and glad not to have to look into the Medusa on every visit!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *