We might be in the same shoes. My son just finished all the Rick Riordan books which kept us happily reading for the better part of the school year. But now we are adrift, desperately seeking more books like Percy Jackson. Riordan’s books are so exciting, we often stay up past my son’s bedtime for “just one more page.” We want more of those types of books.
We also like the special powers conferred by lineage to gods. Deep down, my son and I both feel that we are Half Bloods and/or godlings just waiting to discover our latent powers. It hasn’t happened yet but we’re not discouraged.
Learning about ancient Mythology from any civilization is a welcome bonus. I like it because we feel smarter for knowing about gods and heroes and the learning is so pleasant that it doesn’t feel like work.
I think any age is the perfect age to read about mythology. I’ve gathered up our favorite Riordan-like Percy Jackson books as well as mythology picture books and easy chapter books. I also have a collection of Mythology Books for Kids on Pinterest.
Mythology Picture Books for Kids
Young Zeus by G. Brian Karas
Karas has carefully researched mythology on Zeus’ youth to create this wonderful picture book that stays true to its classic origins. Young kids will love the story and older kids will still get something out of it. It’s a picture book that manages to bridge a wide span of ages. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Max and Ruby’s Midas by Rosemary Wells
While the Midas myth is not true to Greek Mythology, Max and Ruby are very appealing to young kids so this is a nice way to make a connection to a classic tale. [picture book, ages 2 to 5]
Mythology Early Chapter Books for Kids
Heroes in Training series by Joan Holub
We are really enjoying this early chapter book series on the young Greek gods even though it’s not true to Greek mythology. I think of it as a warm-up to the Percy Jackson series. [early chapter book, ages 6 and up]
Goddess Girls series by Suzanne Williams
My middle child had issues with this series because the Greek myths are not accurate and there are mean girls/goddesses. It’s harmless though it’s not my favorite. [early chapter book, ages 6 and up]
Middle Grade Similar to Percy Jackson Books
Ghost Leopard: A Kids’ Magic Fantasy Action Adventure (#1) by Lars Guignard
I love this first book of what seems like a series that emulates The Kane Chronicles but places the action and mythology in India. Guignard went to boarding school in India so you also get a real flavor of life in India mixed with magic, Hindu gods, and time travel adventure. It’s a heady mix! [chapter book, ages 7 and up]
The Pharoah’s Secret by Marissa Moss
Some prefer this book to The Kane Chronicles and I think it’s because it has all the same elements of latent powers, ancient Egypt, and action adventure. What makes this book more accessible is that it limits the scope of the history to one particular time — the female Pharaoh Hatshepsut — and the mystery surrounding her death and afterlife. [chapter book, ages 7 and up]
The Curse of the Night Witch: Emblem Island by Alex Aster
I really liked the premise of this fantasy book of kids having pre-ordained “palm reading” futures with a little bit of wiggle room to change their destiny. In this case, on Emblem Island, twelve-year-old Tor Luna is unhappy with his leadership emblem. Though it’s prestigious and bodes for a successful future, his life was also going to be boring. In order to change his fate, he makes a wish that comes true but the outcome is a curse, not a blessing. Now he has to find the Night Witch on a dangerous journey to fix his fate.
My issue with this book is that the characters feel flat, like paper dolls rather than living human beings. I’m not sure why. Is it Show Don’t Tell? Not completely. Should there be more dialogue? Maybe… It’s that I don’t understand why Tor wants to be a Water Breather so badly other than he likes to swim. I didn’t understand his internal motivation. His friends felt like archetypes.
The publisher describes this book as perfect for fans of Aru Shah and the End of Time. To me, it’s more similar to The Unwanteds. [middle grade, ages 8 and up]
Chapter Book Series with Magic Powers but without Mythology
The Emerald Atlas (Books of Beginnings) by John Stephens
Called “A new Narnia for the tween set” by the New York Times and perfect for fans of the His Dark Materials series, The Emerald Atlas brims with humor and action as it charts Kate, Michael, and Emma’s extraordinary adventures through an unforgettable, enchanted world.
It’s an orphanage version of Percy Jackson with three siblings so it has a sadder undercurrent. It’s not exactly like Percy Jackson since it lacks the mythology connection but it’s close. [chapter book series, ages 9 and up]
Magyk (Septimus Heap, Book 1) by Angie Sage
Septimus Heap, the seventh son of the seventh son, disappears the night he is born, pronounced dead by the midwife. That same night, the baby’s father, Silas Heap, comes across an abandoned child in the snow — a newborn girl with violet eyes. The Heaps take her into their home, name her Jenna, and raise her as their own. But who is this mysterious baby girl, and what really happened to their beloved son Septimus?
Grasshopper and Sensei liked this series when she was in 5th grade. It’s perfect for Harry Potter fans who need a slighter easier, less thick book but want an action-adventure fantasy series centered around magic. [chapter book, ages 8 and up]
Seven Wonders Book 1: The Colossus Rises by Peter Lerangis
When I read this review from The Brain Lair, I thought this sounded like a great Percy Jackson-like series.
Midnight for Charlie Bone (The Children of the Red King, Book 1) by Jenny Nimmo
My oldest liked this action adventure fantasy series too. Kids with special powers who get sent to a special school is a popular theme! In the case of Charlie Bone, he has an unusual gift in that he can hear people in photographs talking! Add in scheming aunts and a boarding school where secrets and dangers lie ahead. Sounds like Harry Potter? Perhaps!
Maximum Ride series by James Patterson
Grasshopper and Sensei loved this extremely fast-paced action-adventure series based on high tech hybrid kids who can fly. It has crazy plot changes like the movie Total Recall where everything you think is real is a dream or a fake memory.
Savvy by Ingrid Law
This is a country bumpkin version of Percy Jackson in which the Beaumont kids get a special power called a savvy once they turn thirteen. One caveat: all the kids agree that they love Savvy but are disappointed by the sequel Scumble.
Chase Tinker & The House of Magic – The Chase Tinker Series Book 1 by Malia Ann Haberman
5th grader This Kid Reviews Books turned me on to this series which sounds like it might please the Percy Jackson crowd.
Rick Riordan’s Suggestions for Percy Jackson-Like Books
I found more recommendations are from Rick Riordan himself but I edited out books that were YA and more violent than Riordan’s such as The Hunger Games (an excellent series but I would hold off until kids are in 5th grade in a perfect world). It’s actually ironic to me that Riordan’s books are also labeled as Young Adult because I know parents who read Percy Jackson to their kindergarteners and first graders who are reading this independently. And in terms of content, I have no problem with that.
Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher by Bruce Coville
And many other titles in his Magic Shop series. These are easier reads, ideal for 2nd-4th grade. Both my boys loved these.
The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke
My favorite by this author. It’s a fast-paced read with a great premise and interesting characters. Grades 4th-7th.
Airborn and Skybreaker by Kenneth Oppel
Adventure novels in the tradition of Treasure Island and Jules Verne, but with a modern sense of storytelling. These take place in a world where airplanes were never invented, and dirigible airships rule the skies. Grades 6th-8th. Again, my son Haley ate these up.
Gods of Manhattan by Scott Mebus
An interesting new take on mythology in New York. Rory and Bridget discover a hidden world in New York City where spirits of the past live on and sometimes become gods. If you liked the Gregor books, you may well enjoy this. Grades 5-7.
Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
Lots of fantasy and humor, perfect for middle grade sensibilities. Grades 4th-7th.
Skulduggery Pleasant series by Derek Landy
A funny fantasy/mystery series featuring a detective who just happens to be a fire-throwing skeleton. Grades 4th-7th. I don’t “blurb” many books, but this one I recommend without hesitation. My whole family loves them.
The Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud
The first title is The Amulet of Samarkand. A more challenging series, but brilliant stuff. A young London magician summons an ancient djinn to help him with his problems. Grades 6th-8th.
Bone by Jeff Smith
A nine-book series of graphic novels. And yes, comics absolutely qualify as reading! My sons and I all enjoyed this series – fast, high-interest reads with plenty of action, humor, romance and fantasy. Pretty much everything you could want, and the coolest red dragon ever. Grades 4-8.
Fablehaven by Brandon Mull
A brother and sister discover that their grandfather is the caretaker at a wildlife reserve for mythical creatures. The first book in a series: wonderful premise, great characters, page-turning adventure. Grades 4-8.
The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
Four gifted children join a secret society to combat evil. This reminds me of Roald Dahl and Norton Juster — lots of humor, puzzles, and intriguing mysteries. Some great surprises at the end, too. Grades 4-7.
The Alchemyst by Michael Scott
First in a series about two siblings who are plunged into a world of immortals and mythological creatures. A fast-paced fantasy set in the modern world. Grades 5-8.
Rick Riordan Mythology Books for Kids Picks
Heroes, Gods and Monsters of the Greek Myths by Bernard Evslin
Much better storytelling than D’Aulaires, in my opinion.
Greek Gods and Heroes by Robert Graves
Another great anthology for young readers. I used this as my classroom text for 5th-6th grade when I taught English in San Francisco.
The Usborne Illustrated Guide to Greek Myths and Legends by Cheryl Evans
A little hard to find, but very accessible, with high-interest illustrations. And when in doubt, always ask your local librarian or independent bookseller. They are a wealth of information when it comes to kids’ books.
What are your favorite picture books, easy chapter books, or chapter books with mythology mixed with action adventure? Please share! We need more books!
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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.