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The Greek News

Title: The Greek News

Bibliography: Powell, A. (2009). The Greek News. New York: Candlewick.

Short Annotation: This story is written as thought there would have been newspapers during ancient civilizations.

Genre: Fiction, Mythology

Grade Level: 3-5

Readers who will like this book: Children who enjoy mythology, children who enjoy reading the newspaper

Personal response and rating: One of the students in my fieldwork classroom was reading this book and I was able to skim along with him. I thought it had a really cool way of getting students interested in learning about mythology through a modern take, although I’m not that huge on mythology, personally. Rating: 3

Question: What is an ancient civilization? Does anyone know what a myth is?

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The Hero and the Minotaur: The Fantastic Adventures of Theseus

Bibliographic Information: Byrd, R. (2005). The hero and the minotaur: The fantastic adventures of Theseus. New York, NY: Dutton Children’s Books.

Brief Annotation: An account of the many adventures of Theseus, from his birth through his defeat of the Minotaur and ascension to the throne in Athens.

Genre: Myth

Grade Level: 1st-8th

Readers who will like this: Readers who enjoy mythology; readers who enjoy adventure stories; readers who enjoy stories that feature monsters

Rating/Response: 3; This book was all over the place. The author attempted to cram the entirety of Theseus’ story, as well as some of the supporting side-myths (such as the story of Daedalus and Icarus) into one picture book. The result is a tale that feels both cumbersome and fractured. Many Greek myths are collections of shorter stories that are loosely linked together by a common character and his or her interaction with the god(s) and goddess(es) of Greece, but in this instance, I feel it would have been better to leave out parts of the larger mythology surrounding Theseus to create a more cohesive whole. That being said, the retelling is accurate and descriptive. The illustrations are lovely in general, but a particularly nice touch is the way in which the gods and goddesses are incorporated into their domains (such as Poseidon being a part of the water throughout the book). This book is more suited for independent reading than for reading aloud, but it is a strong introduction to Theseus.

One question you would ask before a read aloud: “Hero” is a word that we use a lot, but it can mean different things to different people and cultures. What does the word “hero” mean to you? What makes somebody a hero?

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I Can Hear the Sun

Title: I Can Hear the Sun

Bibliographic information: Polacco, P. (1996). I Can Hear the Sun. New York: Philomel Books

Brief annotation: This is a myth about a young boy who is alone but make friends with the geese and their keeper at the park. When he is told he is being sent away, he hides out and flies away with geese. No one knows the real story of what happened to the boy – who would believe it?!

Genre: Myth

Grade: 2nd – 4th

Readers who will like this: Readers who are interested in myths or are learning about myths will enjoy this book.

Rating: 4 – I really enjoyed this book. I liked that this was a story that she knew and it involved people that she actually knows. I liked the more modern feel to the myth.

Question: What is a myth? What are some common characteristics that myths have?

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The Origin of Life on Earth

Bibliographic Information: Anderson, D. (1993). The Origin of Life on Earth. MT. Airy, MD.: Sights Productions

Short Annotation: Obatala was sent down from the sky to earth one day. Once he was on earth, he began to form life. He created plants, land, and even humans and this was done through seeds, palm kernels and maize.

Genre: Folklore

Grade Level: Second through Third grade.

Audience: Students would like this book.

Personal Rating and Response: I give this book a rating of five. I liked how this book showed a different view of how life was formed.

Question: How do you think earth was created?

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God’s Big Story

Title: God’s Big Story

Bibliographic Information: Reinsma, C. (1999). God’s big story. Colorado: International Bible Study.

Annotation: This book focuses all on God and the life he lived. God’s adventures, creations, and the sacrifices he made are all described in great detail.

Genre: Myth

Grade level: 2nd-5th Grade

Readers who will like this book: Readers who are seeking to learn more in-depth about God and the life he lived.

Personal response/rating: I rate this book a 5, because it is very informative about God’s story. It is very factual, asks questions along the way to help guide the readers, and has very detailed illustrations.

Question I would ask before the reading: Can you name someone who always watches over you?

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The Origin of Life on Earth: An African Creation Myth

1) The Origin of Life on Earth: An African Creation Myth

2) Anderson, D. (1991). The Origin of Life on Earth: An African Creation Myth. Mt. Airy, Maryland: Sights Productions

3) This book tells the story of the Yoruba Tribe who believed there was once only sky and water. They had a God who lived in the sky who had two messengers a male and female. One of the messengers felts they had nothing to use their power on, so the great God decides to create life on Earth.

4) Myth

5) 3-6

6) Readers who like to read about tribes and old myths

7) Rate:5; The book was very interesting I learned about the Yoruba Tribe and their beliefs which I thought was really fascinating

8) Where do you think the Earth came from?

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The Warrior Twins: A Navajo Hero Myth

Yasuda, A. (2013). The warrior twins. Minneapolis, MN: Magic Wagon.

Twin Navajo heroes set out to make the world safe for people to exist on by fighting monsters of bad human reaction

Genre: Myth

Grade: 3rd-6th

Readers who will like this book: Children who enjoy reading mythical stories, children who are interested in Native American culture, children who enjoy hero stories or comics.

Response and rating:4; I really liked that this book has a character list at the beginning as well as some specific information on the Navajo. The illustrations in this book seem to be very comic book in style, and I think that this characteristic will help to bring lower class students into the classroom community. I also think this will help draw boys into the study og mythical tales!

Question: What is a myth? Who are the Navajo and what do you think their myth aims to explain?

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Pegasus

1. Pegasus
2. Mayer, Marianna and Craft, K.Y. (1998). Pegasus. New York: Morrow Junior Books.
3. This book is about the story of Bellerophon and Pegasus. Bellerophon was a mightly warrior. He was asked by his king to slay the Chimera and save the kingdom. All others who attempted this had perished. Bellerophon agreed. He went to a soothsayer for advice. The soothsayer told him that he would only win with the help of Pegasus. A women came to him in a dream and gave him the tools that he needed to be able to befriend Pegasus. They win the battle together and Bellerophon marries the kings daughter.
4. Fantasy, Myths, Gods
5. Grade 3- Grade 5
6. Readers who like myths, Gods, Goddesses, or tales of good vs. evil will like this book.
7. 3; I thought the illustrations were terrific. The story was a little detailed and long though.
8. Have you ever heard of Pegasus?
Reading Strategy: A prereading plan would be good for this book. To look at some other stories about Pegasus to compare to this book or prepare the students to read it. To talk about what they already know about Pegasus would also be helpful.

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Greek Myth

Bibliographic information: Williams, M. (1991). Greek myths for young children. Cambridge, Mass.: Candlewick Press.

Short annotation: This book has a verity of different Greek myths which range from Arion and the Dolphins to Theseus and the Minotaur.

The genre: Fiction, Myth, Picture Book, Graphica Book

Grade level: First grade to 8th grade

Readers who will like this book: Some readers who will enjoy reading this book are students interested in Greek mythology, educators showing students different forms of literature and text style and parents wanting to teach their children a little bit of Greek mythology.

Personal response and rating: I would give this book a 2.5; I really like that this book has a variety of Greek myths and that the book’s stories were told more like a comic book. I didn’t like that the majority of the stories were violent and have acts of violence against children.

Question: What does the word “myth” mean?

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The Hero and the Minotaur

Byrd, R. (2005). The hero and the minotaur: the fantastic adventures of Theseus. New York: Dutton Children’s Books.

This book is about Theseus. He goes on a journey in Ancient (mythical) Greece and has adventures with two new-found friends.

Genre: Myth, Picturebook, Fables, Fantasy

Grades: 2nd-4th

Audience: Teachers, Parents, Students

I would give this book a four. I love Greek Mythology and have studied it in school. The illustrations in this book were amazing and made reference to the art of the Ancient Greeks. However, this book did not tell just one myth, it told two more that had to do a bit with Theseus’ journey, but aren’t myths that go with it.

Who do you think of when you hear the word “hero”?