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By the Gods! An Olympic List of the Best Greek Mythology Books for Kids

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Ann-Marie Cahill


Ann-Marie Cahill will read anything and everything. From novels to trading cards to the inside of CD covers (they’re still a thing, right?). A good day is when her kids bring notes home from school. A bad day is when she has to pry a book from her kids’ hands. And then realizes where they get it from. The only thing Ann-Marie loves more than reading is travelling. She has expensive hobbies.

Storytelling has always been the best way to connect with people, especially kids. From a young age, we love to hear stories of adventure, excitement, bravery, and cool characters. Greek mythology ticks ALL of the boxes. In fact, many of your faves have been influenced by Greek myths too! Now, unless you have studied Ancient Greek, there are quite a few variations out there. It can be hard to determine exactly who is Aphrodite’s father. Is it Heracles or Hercules? (Always Heracles in Greek mythology.) Questions like these can make it all feel a little daunting when looking for Greek mythology books for kids. 

To start you off, one book considered essential for ANY age: D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths by Ingri d’Aulaire and Edgar Parin d’Aulaire. This is the book you buy to start the collection, and it remains a staple for years to come. First published in 1962, D’Aulaires’ has become the primary reference book for generations of Greek myth fans. It is filled with beautiful illustrations, thanks to the writers both being artists first. Once you have devoured this book, here is our list to add to your shelves. We have board books for babies, easy read reference books, middle grade readers, and YA novels. Settle in for our Olympic list of the best Greek mythology books for kids!

Note: Greek mythology is yet another subject plagued with a lack of diversity amongst its writers. Even a bit more diversity across mythology books, in general, would be great. I would also love more Greek mythology books from writers with stories passed down through their Greek heritage, like Alexandra Bracken. While the popularity of “Classics Literature” in Europe boosted the appeal of Greek mythology, it also disconnected it from its cultural roots. Reinterpretations can be loads of fun, but there is something extra found in the stories that survive time and generations. If you know of any, please share them with me through social media!

Best Greek Mythology Starter Books for Younger Kids

Cover of 'Heracles My First Greek Myths' adapted by Anna Goutzouri

Heracles: My First Greek Myths (series) Adapted by Anna Goutzouri

Bonus points for any book which includes the correct Greek name of Heracles when claiming to be a book about Greek mythology. There are currently four board books in this series, each set out with bright colours, very simple storytelling, and some cool moving parts like sliding pictures. I love how Goutzouri has brought a bit of creative ingenuity to these popular Greek mythology books for kids.

Cover of 'Echo Echo: Reverso Poems About Greek Myths' by Marilyn Singer and Josee Masse

Echo Echo: Reverso Poems About Greek Myths by Marilyn Singer and Josée Masse

There are always two sides to the story, and much of Greek mythology has favoured the one side of translations for far too long. Singer has used her amazing skill with reversible poems to reveal both sides, restoring some balance in Greek mythology books for kids. Masse’s artwork matches perfectly, always showing the reflection in the storytelling. Aimed at kids aged 6–9, although I regularly pull this one out for a refresher.

Cover of "Goddesses and Gardens" adapted by Valerie Tripp and Teresa Martinez

Goddesses and Gardens adapted by Valerie Tripp and Teresa Martinez

The theme starts with the calming vibe of the garden but packs a punch with three powerful women from Greek myths: Persephone, Echo, and Circe. Martinez’s art works well with Tripp’s narrative, presenting each story with life and strength to inspire young readers. If I had this book when I was 6 years old, it would have changed my view of Greek mythology to an even stronger view!

Best Reference Books on Greek Mythology for Kids

Cover of "Goddess Power: 10 Empowering Tales of Legendary Women" by Yung In Chae and Alida Massari

Goddess Power: A Kids’ Book of Greek and Roman Mythology: 10 Empowering Tales of Legendary Women by Yung In Chae and Alida Massari

If you liked the empowering storytelling in Goddesses and Gardens, you are going to love Goddess Power! Yung In Chae has brought a voice to the goddesses who are usually downplayed in the more classic retellings. The artwork is a key feature in this book, capturing the individual character and it’s simply gorgeous! I also love the pronunciation guide (something very useful with Greek mythology) and the writing is very age-appropriate for young readers. Perfect for any kids who thought it was a bit sus that men were having all of the glory in Greek myths.

Cover of "Greek Myths" adapted by Ann Turnbull and Sarah Young

Greek Myths adapted by Ann Turnbull and Sarah Young

Greek mythology is filled with symbolism, using illustrious prose to teach us the moral of the story. Turnbull has captured this perfectly, highlighting the delicate details like “an echo in the wind” to show how the storytelling is as important as the story itself. Partnered with Young’s fine art illustrations, Greek Myths has a delicate touch in a readable style without shielding kids from the nature of Greek myths.

Cover of "Introduction to Greek Mythology for Kids" by Richard Marcus, Natalie Buczynsky and Jonathan Shelnutt

Introduction to Greek Mythology for Kids: A Fun Collection of the Best Heroes, Monsters, and Gods in Greek Myth by Richard Marcus, Natalie Buczynsky, and Jonathan Shelnutt

Presented as a true reference book, this book includes details for each deity and mythological creature without elaborate storytelling. The strength of this book is in the way it brings together the history of the characters in an easy access reference guide. From origin stories to family drama, it is a great introduction book for kids who want to understand how the Mount Olympus Family Tree looks.

Best Middle Grade Readers With Greek Mythology

Cover of "Argos: The Story of Odysseus as Told by His Loyal Dog" by Ralph Hardy

Argos: The Story of Odysseus as Told by His Loyal Dog by Ralph Hardy

I’m a sucker for a good animal point-of-view, and this one works well with the loyalty. Argos is waiting on Ithaka for the return of Odysseus (isn’t everyone?). Argos, however, has a bonus: he receives updates from various birds and animals who have seen Odysseus on his journey, allowing Argos to follow along. The cliff-hangers at the end of each chapter can be a little tedious after a while, but the writing is well suited for middle grade readers.

Cover of "Beasts of Olympus: Beast Keeper" by Lucy Coats, illustrated by David Roberts

Beasts of Olympus (series) by Lucy Coats and David Roberts

For those who like the mythological beasts most of all, the Beasts of Olympus series is a great place to start. Demon (short for Pandemonious) is the son of the Greek god Pan. On the day he meets his father, Demon is whisked away to Mt Olympus and given the job of stable boy to care for the menagerie of creatures. I love how Coats has brought such vivid imagery to her storytelling, giving an immersive experience to what is a light read for children. It’s little things, like describing Pan’s voice as deep and velvety
“like mossy bark on ancient trees.” I wish more adult books were like this!

Cover of "Orpheus and Eurydice" adapted by Hugh Lupton and Daniel Morden and Carole Henaff

Orpheus and Eurydice Adapted by Hugh Lupton, Daniel Morden, and Carole Henaff

Whenever I hear “Greek tragedy,” I instantly think of Orpheus and Eurydice. Greek mythology is filled with tragedy, but none of them hit me as hard as Orpheus. It’s not a light-and-fluffy story for kids but it is such an integral part of Greek myths, you can’t afford to skip over it. Fortunately, Orpheus and Eurydice delivers beautiful rhythmic language without hiding away any of the darker details

Cover of "I am Arachne" by Elizabeth Spires and Mordicai Gerstein

I am Arachne: Fifteen Greek and Roman Myths by Elizabeth Spires and Mordicai Gerstein

A fantastic personal approach to the legendary myths shared in first person with intimate insight. Spires makes it feel like a personal confession rather than a retelling of tales. I always thought it was a little unfair how the gods set Pandora up to fail. Spires allows us to understand how Pandora felt about it. This shows great insight into the fatalistic view of Greek mythology and how the gods like to “play” with mortals.

Cover of "A Journey Through Greek Myths" by Marchella Ward and sander Berg

A Journey Through Greek Myths by Marchella Ward and Sander Berg

Greek myths (like any cultural myths and legends) are stories of history and culture. For example, the birth of the goddess Athena has been connected with the increasing battles in Ancient Greece, during a time of great territorial conflict. It’s rare to find a book that includes this contextual nature in a way for kids to understand. Ward has achieved this perfectly, using two owls to retell Greek myths while including little historic references to paint the bigger picture.

Best Greek Mythology YA Novels

Rick Riordan and the Percy Jackson series is usually top of any list of middle grade or YA novels about Greek mythology. I’m not even going to argue with that. Our family has all of his books and I will fight anyone who tries to take them from me. In the meantime, there are some amazing novels featuring Greek mythology which also deserve a mention.

Cover of "Antigoddess" by Kendare Blake

Antigoddess by Kendare Blake

Blake has brought the Pantheon into a contemporary teenage world with their greatest gift under threat: life. Most of us think of the gods as immortal; including the gods themselves. Then Athena discovers she is dying. And not just her, but many of the gods. Hera has teamed up with some ancient Olympians and is determined to “thin the herd” in an attempt to prolong their own lives. Athena and Hermes make their own alliance to find the only solution: Cassandra. A lot of this relates to the Trojan War (thus, Cassandra) but it definitely works with the modern setting.

Cover of "The Deep End of the Sea" by Heather Lyons

The Deep End of the Sea by Heather Lyons

Medusa is one of the most misunderstood characters in Greek mythology, thanks to a large chunk of misogyny in the retelling. The Deep End of the Sea is an alternative universe where Perseus did NOT remove her head. Poseidon is still a rapist and Athena still victim-blames her, but Lyons takes this story down a different path, one of survival and growth. In turn, she delivers a well-rounded and emotionally developed Medusa. If you’re a fan of Lore Olympus, you may note similar vibes with The Deep End of the Sea.

Cover of "The Vicious Deep" by Zoraida Cordova

The Vicious Deep by Zoraida Córdova

Imagine a modern Ariel and Eric, settling down and having a son. Oh, and mum just happens to be the daughter of Poseidon. Unlike most YA, our main character Tristan is popular, friendly, and good-looking. No angst. Until the gods interfere again. When Poseidon wants his grandson to take over the throne, Tristan must complete a quest to protect the role of Sea King. Coming from Córdova, you are guaranteed some lovely world-building and character development, but I am totally here for Layla, Tristan’s best friend and definitely NOT the sidekick.

Cover of "Lore" by Alexandra Bracken

Lore by Alexandra Bracken

There may come a day when I can walk past a novel featuring Greek mythology but when I saw this cover, I froze. There was no escaping it. The story itself is just as mesmerising. Lore is our main character and the last of her family line because some monster killed her family. Lore used to be a hunter in a secret sub-world of Greek legends who hunt gods during a special ceremony once every seven years. It is called the Agon, and it is Zeus’s punishment to nine gods who dared to oppose him during an attempted uprising. Bracken blends the ancient lore of Greek mythology with a modern New York socio-commentary on issues like misogyny and class divide. You can also catch glimpses of Bracken’s Greek heritage in parts of the story that feel more like traditional family stories and not the usual UK/U.S. retelling.

If you are interested in Greek mythology books for older readers, check out CJ Connor’s list of books for Fans of Hades The Game (side note: love that game!!). Sarah also has a great selection of books similar to Circe by Madeline Miller (including Antigoddess, mentioned above).