Greek mythology for kids

Today I’m posting on the Well Traveled Kids site about our recent trip to the National Hellenic Museum in the Greektown neighborhood in Chicago. We had a fabulous time and I recommend it, particularly for families who have a Greek-obsessed kid like we do. It’s a smaller museum and we only spent about an hour there. However, combine lunch and a museum and you’ve got a pretty nice afternoon.

In light of our trip to the museum, I asked Anna if she would make a list of her favorite books on Greek mythology to share with readers. It was hard to narrow them down, but she did it.

Ladies and gentlemen, for your reading pleasure… the top recommendations from my eight-year-old to yours…

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Greek mythology

D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths

192 pages.   This large oversized book is considered a classic. Anna was given it for Christmas and she continues to read it over and over. It starts at the beginning of the world when earth was just forming and takes readers through the genealogy of the Titans and then Zeus and Poseidon and Hades and their children.

Anna likes: It has really good pictures and it has one picture of all nine muses and one picture of the heroes’ family trees.

The Gods and Goddesses of Olympus

48 pages, written and illustrated by Aliki.    Ah… the book that started it all. This was Anna’s first real foray into mythology. Each page is dedicated to a god or goddess. Great illustrations. Very easy introduction to Olympus.

Anna likes: It describes all the goddesses and gods personally and it does the most well known facts first.

 The Usborne Book of Greek Myths

295 pages.   Just when I think there’s not another mythology book out there, Anna turns the corner and finds this one in the gift shop at the National Hellenic Museum. Classic tales such as Pandora’s Box, Icarus, and Jason and the Golden Fleece are included. Great illustrations.

Anna likes: The back part of the book sorts the people into what they are like great creators or beautiful people. Eros and Psyche is in this one. All these pictures are in color.

Finally thoughts by Anna: Mythology is really cool. There are so many Gods and I like to learn about the minor Gods, too. There are so many I don’t even know all of them. Myths were not written as adventure stories, they were written to explain why things happen and why things don’t happen. There are a lot of heroes and if they could be put into movies, they would be the most epic movies ever. They’re really awesome and I wish people would read more of them.

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Are your kids really into a particular topic or era? Please share! I love how we’ve all been put together in such a fantastically unique way. One person’s love of mythology is another person’s love of horses or knitting or race cars. Fascinating, isn’t it?

One more thing: Anna has a list of favorite fiction books based upon Greek mythology that she will be sharing in a later post. So that’s why you didn’t read about Percy Jackson today.

Happy reading!

Greek mythology for kids

Knights and Castles… Oh My!

If your children are anything like mine, they’ve gone through a phase where they adore knights and castles and jousts. I dare say no trunk of play clothes is complete without royal capes and foam swords. It’s a right of passage, a nearly universal fascination, and our kids have been right in the thick of it.

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Taking a child’s natural curiosity and then layering it with a bit of actual history or science is one of my greatest interests. A child’s brain is a wonder, isn’t it? I’m constantly amazed at what kids can retain and use when they’re interested in something.

We’ve stumbled upon a few fun resources for young kids (early elementary) interested in medieval history and thought it might be fun to share these. There’s certainly nothing magical here other than great illustrations and clever stories.

Here are our favorites (pictured above):

The Usborne Time Traveler KNIGHTS & CASTLES

We found this at our public library and later bought a copy. Walk through life via the fictional family of Baron Godfrey and Lady Alice and their castle community. Daily life and societal roles are explained for each character, ranging from the royal to the peasant. What do people wear? How do they interact with one another? Why are jousts and tournaments held?

See inside Castles: An Usborne Flap Book

Another great book from Usborne. This one traces the history of castles and how they improved and transformed over hundreds of years. From wooden structures to stone castles, each element of a castle is explored. Moats, drawbridges, and the areas within the bailey are outlined with adorable illustrations. If you don’t know what a bailey is (I didn’t!) it’s the area outside the castle itself but within the walls where stables and tradespeople live and work under the protection of the noble family. See what I mean? You’re already learning something!

100 Facts: KNIGHTS & CASTLES

We were given this one by grandparents and it’s a winner. Available at Barnes and Noble, there are lots of these 100 Fact books on various topics. The Knights & Castles edition has architecture, social structure tidbits, and funny I DON’T BELIEVE IT items scattered throughout.

Happy reading!

Knights and Castles… Oh My!