Easy Greek Mythology Chapter Books for Girls
My 5th grade daughter took great exception to this book series because the mythology is slightly inaccurate. She fumes that Athena didn’t live with humans, nor was she even a preteen. The “brainstorms” in which the gods’ ideas rained down on earth also bugged her. In fact, this book so annoyed her that she told me not to blog on it or to let her younger sister read it. “She’ll hate it,” she warned.
Goddess Girls, Athena the Brain by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams [easy chapter book series, ages 6-10]
So, with trepidation, I finally got around to reading the book. I like Greek mythology as much as my eldest and I am always searching for more great easy chapter book series. And you know what? This isn’t half bad. True, it isn’t a series that I’d rave about and hunt down every last book, but it does do a nice job of making Greek mythology accessible and interesting to girls in grades 1-3 ish. True, the setting is a boarding school full of mean-girl cliques and that is not my favorite scene but … it does place Medusa and other minor Greek goddesses like Pheme, Goddess of Gossip, correctly as bad girls.
My daughter and I both like Athena, Artemis, and Demeter. Demeter isn’t in the book but her daughter Persephone is. She, Aphrodite, and Artemis all befriend young Athena which helps to balance out the mean girl bullying playing out in the plot.
The most interesting part of the book for me was the young gods and goddesses in Hero-ology class. Each draws a mortal to manipulate in what turns out to be The Iliad. Athena draws Odysseus and competes with her fellow classmates to design a quest for her hero as well as help him out of trouble. It’s a fun and accurate way to introduce The Iliad.
I didn’t realize the relationship in Greek Mythology between Medusa and her snake hair and Athena but apparently (and I had to look it up), Medusa was a mortal who punished by Athena for hooking up with Poseidon in her temple:
“In a late version of the Medusa myth, related by the Roman poet Ovid (Metamorphoses 4.770), Medusa was originally a ravishing beautiful maiden, “the jealous aspiration of many suitors,” priestess in Athena’s temple, but when she and the “Lord of the Sea” Poseidon lay together inAthena‘s temple, the enraged Athena transformed Medusa’s beautiful hair to serpents and made her face so terrible to behold that the mere sight of it would turn onlookers to stone (in some accounts Poseidon raped/ravished her). In Ovid’s telling, Perseus describes Medusa’s punishment by Athena as just and well-deserved.” from Wikipedia
If your daughter is ready to move on from the Rainbow Fairy series (or if you are doing shared reading and this repetitive series is making you crazy), this would be an upgrade. Greek mythology purists like my eldest should read Edith Hamilton’s books instead but this is a fun series for grades 1-4.
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BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.