Just like the other middle grade novels by Gary Schmidt, The Labors of Hercules Beal (Harper Collins, May 2023) follows the pattern of lonely or troubled kid learning from a loving and helpful teacher over the course of a school year. Once again, the protagonist is a seventh grader, this time a boy named Hercules

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Imagine D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths, but instead of explaining various events in the world, center each myth around a favorite dish to eat. Then, place all of the myths in China. Of course, make sure these myths are true to the Chinese and Chinese-American traditions. Just like in the Greek Myths book, they would

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In Julieta and the Diamond Enigma by Luisana Duarte Armendariz (Tu Books, 2020), nine-year-old Julieta is caught in a scandal when she and her father witness the Regent diamond being stolen. When Julieta accidentally lets the thief out of the building and she and her father are suspected, she is determined to free themselves from

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Ancient Greek and Roman mythology has always fascinated me. First I fell in love with D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths. But then, even as a young teenager, I remember reading Mythology by Edith Hamilton, one of the first “pop culture” books that brought Greek mythology into the main stream for the general reader. It’s easy to

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Since my son and I have been learning about Ancient Greece and Greek mythology over the last few weeks, I thought it would be appropriate to revisit some familiar stories. Given my more recent lack of reading time or inclination, I determined not to attempt The Odyssey this year; but I did manage to read

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I wrote about my thoughts on D’Aulaires’ Norse Gods and Giants separately. However, I don’t believe one needs an introduction to Norse mythology to fully appreciate A.S. Byatt’s Ragnarok (published in the U.K. in 2011; to be published in the U.S. in February 2012). In Ragnarok, Byatt creates the world of the Norse gods and

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Although I grew up with D’Aulaires’ Greek Myths, I have never been familiar with traditional Norse mythology. I have a Scandinavian heritage, so this seems a bit sad to me. When I saw that A.S. Byatt’s new addition to the Canongate Myths series was about the end of the world according to Norse mythology, I

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In the introduction to his translation of Beowulf, Irishman Seamus Heaney ponders the epic nature of the story and the mythology of the Anglo-Saxon tradition. He wonders at why Beowulf’s story is not as well known as Greek mythology and Homer. My initial thought on reading the poem (in Heaney’s poetic translation) is that it’s

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With detailed pencil illustrations (every other page in color) and well organized and entertaining prose, Ingri and Edgar Parin D’Aulaire capture the simplicity and the complexity of the Greek myths for young readers. Although D’Aulaire’s Book of Greek Myths is not divided into chapters, each two-page spread is (for the most part) about a different

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In many ways, The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan felt like the Harry Potter series. A pre-teen realizes he has unusual powers, only to realize that he is a special person living in the ordinary world. In the case of Percy Jackson, he is the child of one of the Greek gods. The magic prevalent

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