Hoping for a pantheon of book recommendations for kids
July 19, 2010 6:49 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a great series of books featuring Greek and/or Roman mythology for kids.

My son loved the whole series of Percy Jackson books but has yet to see the movie so I'd like to find a series of books as long as he's interested. I'm not so much looking for detailed accuracy as I am looking for something fun to read and age appropriate for an 11 year old.
posted by mcarthey to Media & Arts (18 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
A good guy to check out is Roger Lancylyn Green.
posted by Sparx at 7:04 AM on July 19, 2010

Robert Graves all the way:

Greek Gods and Heroes

I must have been about 11 when I first read that, and then swiftly moved on to I, Claudius and its sequel, which I probably read once a year for about 5 years. (Though the cover to that edition makes I, Claudius seem NSFK, it's probably the perfect young teenage book in my opinion)
posted by Hartster at 7:12 AM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

We have bought a lot of the DK Eyewitness books. They are non-fiction, but fun to read and full of information. My oldest daughter loves them, and I enjoy reading them too.
posted by I am the Walrus at 7:17 AM on July 19, 2010

The King Must Die, The Bull from the Sea and other books by Mary-Renault.

The first two changed my life as a kid. Since then she's written a lot more, though I haven't kept up.
posted by alms at 7:20 AM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: It's not a series, but I loved my D'Aulaire's at that age (despite the enormous illustrations, 10/11 is a good age for it).

One of my favorite children's authors, Lloyd Alexander, wrote a book set in Ancient Greece called The Arkadians that your son might like if he likes reading about young people engaging with the Classical world (I haven't read Percy Jackson, but it sounds like that's the gist of it). It's pretty good, but I liked his Prydain series much better at that age. If your think your son would be into broader European mythology (Norse and Celtic as well as Greek), I'd definitely recommend that.
posted by oinopaponton at 7:26 AM on July 19, 2010 [2 favorites]

Ooh! Sorry this is the wrong set of gods, but I went through the same fascination at the same age and sadly the greek god books I read (lovely illustrations and easy reads) are not translated to English. For fun I also read the Valhalla comics which was equally entertaining and he might like them too.
posted by dabitch at 7:30 AM on July 19, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks so much for all the great answers all! I will certainly have to spend some time browsing. Maybe I'll get lucky at the half-price book store!
posted by mcarthey at 7:46 AM on July 19, 2010

This is not Greek Gods, rather it is about immortals - Mother Nature, Father Time, Death, Fate - but it is a great series of books. Especially the first book, which is about Death (death as an immortal figure that collects souls and has actual work to do everyday).

I guarentee, if your son liked Percy Jackson, he will definitely like:
On A Pale Horse, by Piers Anthony and that whole series about the immortals
posted by Flood at 7:46 AM on July 19, 2010

The Usborne books of Greek and Norse legends were some of my favourite growing up. They give a really vivid overview of the underlying mythology. (I think Usborne publish in the US as well as the UK.)
posted by ninebelow at 7:51 AM on July 19, 2010

Best answer: The Piers Anthony series would be best left on the shelf for a few years. It's not really appropriate for an 11 year old.

One of my favorite books growing up was D'Aulaires Book of Greek Myths, so seconding that. Not a series, but after a read through of this one, he'll be able to pick up on the references in other books.

There's also Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising series. The movie was pants, though.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:59 AM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

Bernard Evslin's Monsters of Mythology series.
posted by Iridic at 8:28 AM on July 19, 2010

I would suggest Black Ships Before Troy and The Wanderings of Odysseus, both by Rosemary Sutcliff.
posted by mfoight at 10:17 AM on July 19, 2010

Best answer: Nthing D'Aulaires. They also wrote Norse Gods and Giants and Trolls- I read those three books (including their Greek mythology book) over and over, so while it's not a series, they might engage him in the same way they did me. Their drawing of Loki is still the image in my head of what he looks like.
posted by emilyd22222 at 10:26 AM on July 19, 2010

Seconding Roger Lancelyn Green and pretty much anything by Rosemary Sutcliff, although I mostly read her Rome-in-Britain / Arthurian books.

I don't think I'd give Mary Renault to an eleven year old, myself; I started reading her books at fourteen or fifteen, and I'm sure some people's parents wouldn't have approved. There is sex!
posted by Lebannen at 10:47 AM on July 19, 2010

posted by Mertonian at 1:59 PM on July 19, 2010

If you want a fun kid-friendly take on the Illiad and Odyssey, you need the books by Tony Robinson and Richard Curtis: Odysseus: The Greatest Hero of Them All and Odysseus II: Journey Through Hell.

As you might expect of books from the Blackadder team, they're fabulous.
posted by the latin mouse at 2:40 PM on July 19, 2010

Graves should be approached with caution.

Paul Shipton should be approached with delight. His The Pig Scrolls and The Pig Who Saved the World are cheesily delightful in that British fashion.

The concept is that this is the story of one of Odysseus' shipmates who got left behind on Circe's island. He has adventures.

(What Shipton does not mention is that the character of Gryllus first turns up in a spoof by Plutarch. But he can be forgiven.)
posted by IndigoJones at 6:30 PM on July 19, 2010

Response by poster: I've purchased the D'Aulaire book for my son and will be sure to report his take on it once he's had a chance to look at it. I'm sure there are many other great choices here so I basically just picked one and will get through the others as time permits. Thanks so much for all the suggestions!
posted by mcarthey at 9:39 AM on July 20, 2010

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