Thursday, January 08, 2009

The Not-So-Random Shelf: Nonfiction

Not only do our 200s collection include children’s books on modern day religion, they also contain our collection of mythology adapted for children. Two picture book retellings of Greek myths recently caught my attention.

The story of Hercules is splendidly retold by the wonderfully prolific Kathryn Lasky. Hercules himself narrates his early childhood, his famous twelve labors, and his eventual ascension to Mount Olympus. Mark Hess’s striking illustrations bring this mighty Greek god’s strength to life. Hercules: The Man, the Myth, The Hero is also well-suited for a read aloud story.

The Olympic Games are a recent memory, so it was fitting that I picked up Shirley Climo’s Atalanta’s Race. Atalanta refused to marry any man who could not outrace her. Many tried, but just couldn’t outrun this incredible racer.

The Greek myths often contain warnings about the repercussions of ignoring the gods, and Atalanta’s Race is no exception. Atalanta neglected to thank the gods for her gifts and had no use for them; of course, this meant that it was time to teach her a lesson!

Not only is Atalanta a determined and athletic young woman, but her relationship with her husband, Melanion, is one of mutual respect. Alexander Koshkin’s masterful illustrations add to the ethereal charm of this story.


Shaping Youth said...

Hi Jennifer, thanks for the 'shout out' as the kids would say!

You might also enjoy '' which is a bit of a mashup of techno tools meets global book club. Very cool teen hub.

I've written about them a considerable amount on Shaping Youth, as they've teamed with YALSA for Operation Teen Book Drop and beyond. Here's the first post on them w/links in the comment section to similar posts on S.Y. ---they're great.

p.s. That cover shot of Hercules looks like a basic SL avatar or video game icon in this generation of 'buffed boy' fixations and body image expectations. ;-) Don't get me started!

Jennifer Schultz said...

Hello Amy. Thanks for visiting my blog! I just found Shaping Youth and I'm really enjoying it.

I have visited readergirlz-need to make that a more frequent visit (and add a link). Thanks for reminding me.

The Hercules cover is unfortunate! It's an excellent picture book-too bad!