Is there a Persian Percy Jackson?
November 20, 2018 10:52 AM   Subscribe

My 8-year-old loves Greek and Norse mythology, and contemporary fiction based on them. What books might she like that engage with non-Western mythologies?

Last year we read Neil Gaiman's Norse Mythology together, and D'Aulaires book of Greek myths. Lately, on her own she's devoured Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson and Magnus Chase series -- she's equally taken with the myths themselves and snarky contemporaneous re-imaginings.

I would love to find books that are appropriate for her reading level that engage with mythologies from other, especially non-Western cultures. What should she read next?

She'd especially respond to stories with humor, beautiful writing, and/or gender politics less fucked up than the ancient Greeks.
posted by dr. boludo to Education (11 answers total) 36 users marked this as a favorite
Rick Riordan actually has a line where he is helping publish Percy Jackson-esque books from Own Voices authors. The only one out so far I think is Aru Shah and the End of Time, which I liked a lot.
posted by leesh at 11:00 AM on November 20, 2018 [6 favorites]

I could go on forever... but some big hits in my line of work include:

Lumberjanes (the entire series) by Noelle Stevenson and others

The Turtle of Oman by Naomi Shihab Nye

Breadwinner: the Graphic Novel by Deborah Ellis

Shahnameh: Epic of the Persian King ... this gorgeous version ... more info here.

G. Willow Wilson's Ms. Marvel series, often recommended here.

Starry River of the Sky by Grace Lin (although ANY Grace Lin book is a good bet)

Flying Lessons and Other Stories ed. Ellen Oh, in partnership with We Need Diverse Books initiative.

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi is HUGELY popular right now (though it reminded me of an Avatar: Last Airbender fan-fiction)... and it might be a bit violent for an eight-year-old.
posted by mr. remy at 11:24 AM on November 20, 2018 [4 favorites]

Amar Chitra Katha comic books from India might work, e.g. Dasha Avatar: The Ten Incarnations of Vishnu. They're expensive to buy new in the US and often out of stock at the company website anyway, but I see some lots of 10-20 on Ebay that get the per-issue price down to something reasonable. Finding animated stories like them on YouTube is also pretty straightforward, if video works (e.g. just searching for animated Vishnu turns up several options in English).
posted by Wobbuffet at 11:24 AM on November 20, 2018 [2 favorites]

Came in here to suggest Amar Chitra Katha and see I was beat to the punch by Wobbuffet. If there's a local Indian store near you they may have them, or know where you can find them. A children's/illustrated Mahabharat would also be a great choice.

Panchatantra is more Aesop's fables than hijinks with gods, but it's fun and definitely age-appropriate.
posted by basalganglia at 11:38 AM on November 20, 2018

I wonder if you might look at Akata Witch and Akata Warrior by Nnedi Okorafor, a talented Nigerian-American warrior.
posted by bluedaisy at 12:02 PM on November 20, 2018 [5 favorites]

Sita's Ramayana: "The Ramayana -- one of the great legends of ancient India -- is presented here in the form of a visually stunning and gripping graphic novel. Told from the perspective of the queen, Sita, it explores ideas of right vs. wrong, compassion, loyalty, trust, honor and the terrible price that war exacts from women, children, animals and the natural world."

It is gorgeous.
posted by MonkeyToes at 12:30 PM on November 20, 2018 [2 favorites]

There's also Sanjay Patel's Ramayana: Divine Loophole.
posted by Ashwagandha at 4:25 PM on November 20, 2018

Are Shah and the End of Time, by Roshani Chokshi is a great start to a series like Percy Jackson based on Hindu mythologies. The nine year old in my house devoured it.

Edited: missed that this was literally the first comment. But it’s a great book, should have two comments!
posted by five_cents at 5:07 PM on November 20, 2018

Nothing to add, but DAMN what a great question. So excited! This should be on the podcast.
posted by k8t at 6:35 PM on November 20, 2018 [1 favorite]

Related but not exactly answering the question: Kalevala by Ursula Synge is also worth a look.
posted by ovvl at 6:40 PM on November 20, 2018

Laurence Yep's books! They're a little older, but his Dragon of the Lost Sea series is iconic, and his City series is a delightful kitchen sink fantasy that features a tanuki, an alt-history version of the Kushan empire and the Hawaiian volcano goddess Pele.
posted by storytam at 8:19 PM on November 20, 2018

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