My 7th grade reading teacher, Mrs. Steppe, taught Greek and Roman mythology. She passed out a piece of paper with the Greek gods and goddesses listed on one side and the Roman gods and goddesses listed on the other. I think that was it. Woo hoo. As though all I would ever need to know was their names and what they were the god of: beauty, war, music. . . It took me more than a decade to finally learn the fascinating stories behind the odd names I memorized in her class.
I hope your experience with Greek and Roman mythology was better than mine. It probably was. You probably had a fabulous teacher who had you read books like Black Ships Before Troy: The Story of ‘The Iliad.’ I’m more than jealous.
Rosemay Sutcliff, a British author, expertly re-tells the classic story of Helen of Troy — the face that launched a thousand ships! You’ll meet Paris, Ajax, Achilles, Helen and the infamous Trojan Horse. She brings the characters to life and forevermore you and your children will catch the many references to these famous personalities that lie all around us in Western Civilization. Make sure to seek out the hardback edition, it has the beautiful illustrations by Alan Lee for which he won the Kate Greenaway Medal for the best children’s illustrations by a British subject.
The Wanderings of Odysseus: The Story of the Odyssey makes a good follow-up read. The language of both of these books is a tiny bit high-brow. If your child is familiar with the stories already, or is an avid reader they should be fine. If you’re not sure how they’ll do, these books make excellent read-alouds to middle grade students.
Middle Grade to High School Reading Levels, 128 pages, Mythology, Books for Boys, Published in 1993.