100 Must-Read Retellings of Myths, Folklore, and Classics

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Angel Cruz

Staff Writer

Angel Cruz is a professional enthusiast, living and writing in Toronto. She has been blogging about books since May 2011–her favourite genres are magic realism, contemporary fiction, and historical fiction. You can also find her at Women Write About Comics, reviewing front/backlist books and manga, as well as critically examining Asian representation in both Western and Asian media. Her copy of The Portable Dorothy Parker is paged through more often than is probably healthy. Ice cream, Broadway musicals, and Arashi are her lifeblood. Blog: Angel Cruz Writes Twitter: @angelcwrites

Retellings of classic stories and folklore are easy to find no matter what genre you love to read, and the possibilities are endless. Whether you’re obsessed with Greek myths or intrigued by Japanese folklore, this list is sure to have a title or two that can offer a great introduction to these beloved stories across the world. (And I’ve starred my favourites for easy reference!)

  1. adelitaAdelita by Tomie dePaola
  2. Alias Hook by Lisa Jensen
    [Peter Pan]
  3. Alice by Christina Henry
    [Alice in Wonderland]
  • All Our Pretty Songs by Sarah McCarry*
    [Orpheus and Eurydice]
  • Arrows by Melissa Gorzelanszyk
  • As I Descended by Robin Talley
  • Ash by Malinda Lo*
  • Avalon High by Meg Cabot*
    [King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table]
  • Beastkeeper by Cat Hellisen*
    [Beauty and the Beast]
  • Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth
  • Blackberry Blue and Other Fairy Tales by Jamila Gavin
  • The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter*
  • A Branch of Silver, A Branch of Gold by Anne Elisabeth Stengl
    [The Twelve Dancing Princesses]
  • cinderCinder by Marissa Meyer*
  • The Coming of the Dragon by Rebecca Barnhouse
  • A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce
  • The Dark Wife by Sarah Diemer
    [Hades and Persephone]
  • Dark of the Moon by Tracy Barrett
    [Theseus and Ariadne]
  • Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier
    [Celtic legend The Wild Swans]
  • Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente*
    [Marya Morevna and Koschei the Deathless]
  • The Deep End of the Sea by Heather Lyons
  • The Door in the Hedge by Robin McKinley
    [The Frog Prince & The Twelve Dancing Princesses]
  • dirty-wingsDirty Wings by Sarah McCarry
  • The Dragon Prince by Laurence Yep, illustrated by Kam Mak
    [Beauty and the Beast]
  • Drown by Esther Dalseno
    [The Little Mermaid]
  • Entwined by Heather Dixon*
    [The Twelve Dancing Princesses]
  • Everland by Wendy Spinale
    [Peter Pan]
  • Falling in Love with Hominids by Nalo Hopkinson*
    [Several European myths]
  • Fathomless by Jackson Pearce
    [The Little Mermaid]
  • For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund
    [Persuasion by Jane Austen]
  • The Gap of Time by Jeanette Winterson
    [The Winter’s Tale]
  • The Girl of the Wish Garden by Uma Krishnaswami, illusted by Nasrin Khosravi
  • girl-with-ghost-eyesThe Girl with Ghost Eyes by M.H. Boroson
    [Chinese folklore]
  • Golden by Cameron Dokey
  • Great by Sara Benincasa
    [The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald]
  • Half World by Hiromi Goto*
    [Japanese mythology]
  • Haunted Waters by Mary Pope Osborne
  • The Hawk of May by Ann Lawrence
    [Sir Gawain and the Green Knight]
  • The Immortal Fire by Anne Ursu
    [Hades and Persephone]
  • Invisible Things by Jenny Davidson
    [The Snow Queen]
  • Kissing the Witch: Old Tales in New Skins by Emma Donoghue
  • The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste
    [“The Magic Orange Tree”]
  • The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor
    [Alice in Wonderland]
  • A Long, Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan
    [Sleeping Beauty]
  • The Lost Sun by Tessa Gratton
    [Norse mythology]
  • Love in the Time of Global Warming by Francesca Lia Block*
    [The Odyssey]
  • Marian by Ella Lyons
    [Robin Hood]
  • Mermaid by Carolyn Turgeon
    [The Little Mermaid]
  • The Night Counter by Alia Yunis
    [Arabian Nights]
  • Of Metal and Wishes by Sarah Fine
  • The Persian Cinderella by Shirley Climo, illustrated by Robert Florczak
  • Promise of Shadows by Justina Ireland
    [Greek mythology]
  • prophecy by ellen ohProphecy by Ellen Oh
    [Korean mythology]
  • Rags & Bones: New Twists on Timeless Tales edited by Melissa Marr
  • Ramayana: A Retelling by Daljit Nagra
  • Redemption in Indigo by Karen Lord
    [Senegalese folklore]
  • The Rental Heart and Other Fairytales by Kirsty Logan
  • Revel by Maurissa Guibord
    [Greek mythology]
  • Sarong Party Girls by Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan
  • Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen
    [Little Red Riding Hood]
  • Serpentine by Cindy Pon
    [Chinese mythology]
  • Seven Tears Into the Sea by Terri Farley*
    [Selkie folklore]
  • Shadows on the Moon by Zoe Marriott
  • Shame the Stars by Guadalupe Garcia McCall
    [Romeo and Juliet]
  • Shapeshifter by Holly Bennett
    [Irish mythology]
  • The Shark King by R. Kikuo Johnson
    [Hawaiian mythology]
  • Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon
    [Chinese mythology]
  • The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy by Nikki Loftin
    [“The Nightingale”]
  • Six-Gun Snow White by Catherynne M. Valente*
    [Snow White]
  • Dallying With The Gods: 16 Books About Gods And Mythology | BookRiot.comThe Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
    [The Iliad]
  • The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
    [The Snow Maiden]
  • The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
    [Hades and Persephone]
  • Starling by Lesley Livingston
    [Norse mythology]
  • Still Star-Crossed by Melinda Taub
    [Romeo and Juliet]
  • Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson
  • Tam Lin by Pamela Dean
    [“Tam Lin”]
  • Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan
    [Snow White]
  • This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzi Lee
  • Thorn by Intisar Khanani
    [The Goose Girl]
  • A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston
    [Arabian Nights]
  • Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
    [Peter Pan]
  • Time Piper by Delia Huddy
    [The Pied Piper]
  • Tinder by Sally Gardner
    [“The Tinderbox”]
  • The Ugly Duchess by Eloisa James
    [The Ugly Duckling]
  • Valiant by Sarah McGuire
    [The Brave Little Tailor]
  • vassa-in-the-nightVassa in the Night by Sarah Porter*
    [Baba Yaga, Vasilisa the Beautiful]
  • Voices of the Desert by Nélida Piñon (translated by Cliff Landers)
    [A Thousand and One Nights)
  • Water Song by Suzanne Weyn
    [The Frog Prince]
  • The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore*
    [Romeo and Juliet]
  • We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
    [King Lear]
  • When Dreams Travel by Githa Hariharan
    [Arabian Nights]
  • Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Gracie Lin
    [Chinese mythology]
  • Wicked by Gregory Maguire
    [The Wizard of Oz]
  • Wildefire by Karsten Knight
    [Hawaiian mythology]
  • Winterspell by Claire Legrand
    [The Nutcracker]
  • A Wolf at the Door: And Other Retold Fairy Tales edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling
  • The Woodcutter by Kate Danley
    [general fairy tales]
  • The Wrath & the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh*
    [Arabian Nights]
  • Yeh-Shen by Ai-Ling Louie and illustrated by Ed Young
  • Zahrah the Windseeker by Nnedi Okorafor
    [Nigerian folklore]