Kids love Greek mythology books. Especially if they’re action-packed, funny, and adventurous like Percy Jackson or Myth-O-Mania! Greek myths get growing readers reading both nonfiction and fiction which is skill-building and enriching.
The nonfiction mythology books on this list often motivate kids to challenge themselves to read more difficult texts than they normally would. Watch how much vocabulary they’ll learn doing this!
Myths also give readers foundational literary context for future stories and books they’ll be reading. I consider myths part of the canon of common stories which incidentally, is becoming less common… but that’s a whole different blog post for another day.
Here are my top recommendations to get your kids hooked on Greek myths. (And reading a lot.)
The Best Greek Mythology Fiction Books for Kids
Get to Work, Hercules! (Myth-O-Mania) by Kate McMullan
This book got us hooked on the Myth-O-Mania series. It’s so hilarious! Hades narrates the TRUE stories with panache. (Apparently, his younger brother Zeus is a big fat liar and edited all the myths to make himself look good.) In this story, Hades watches over his young, not-too-smart nephew, Hercules whom Hera has it out for — since he’s the son of Zeus from another woman. Start with this book or the first book in the series, Have a Hot Time, Hades! My teenager was just reminiscing about these books — and is even considering a reread just for fun. See all the books in the series here.
Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan
Percy Jackson, a 12-year-old boy with ADHD and dyslexia and a pattern of getting kicked out of school, learns that not only are the Greek gods alive and well, and living in the United States, but his own father is Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea. That makes Percy a demi-god. He spends the series of funny, action-packed adventure books escaping from monsters, training at Camp Half-Blood and trying to save the world. Boxed set here.
Also, the Percy Jackson & the Olympians Ultimate Guide is a handy guide so you can quickly look up characters while you’re reading the narrative books. It’s a compact, glossy book that both my kids used frequently.
Oh My Gods! by Stephanie Cooke and Insha Fitzpatrick, illustrated by Juliana Moon (ages 8 – 12)
I’m not a fan of the title but the story is enjoyable and engaging, not snarky or cliquey like the title implies. Karen moves in with her dad, Zed, on Mount Olympus. The kids at her new school are very different — she wonders if they’re into LARP but they’re not, she learns that they’re actually gods and goddesses! When her friend Apollo gets turned to stone, Karen and her new friends have to clear Karen’s name and save Apollo. They meet a lonely girl named Medusa who is responsible for the stone statues. Will they be able to fix things for both Apollo and Medusa?
The Best Greek Mythology Nonfiction Books for Kids
Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods by Rick Riordan, illustrated by John Rocco
My kids can’t stop reading and rereading this enormous volume of Greek myths, retold Riordan style — I’m talking laugh-out-loud writing. Remember all the hilarious chapter titles in Riordan’s Percy Jackson books? And the witty, sarcastic voice of Percy? Yup. All here. My youngest daughter’s favorite chapter title is Ares, the Manly Man’s Manly Man. My favorite chapter is: Hephaestus Makes Me a Golden Llama (Not Really, But He Totally Should). The writing is engaging, funny, and accurate. Love this hefty tome!
Greek Myths retold by Ann Turnbull, illustrated by Sarah Young
This is hands-down the best, most well-researched book on Greek Mythology out there. Thankfully, it doesn’t mix up the Roman names with the Greek names like so many other books do. It took my 9-year-old daughter only half a day to devour and it’s 167 pages; she gave it the thumbs up. “NO mixing up of the myths, mom!” She’s been pretty annoyed that so many other books don’t get this right. Turnbull gives us the ultimate guide of Greek locations, monsters, heroes, gods, and mortals. This is a must own book.
Gift From the Gods by Lise Lunge-Larsen, illustrated by Gareth Hinds
This isn’t really a picture book or a chapter book. It’s an illustrated volume of Greek and Roman Mythology with stories as well as the words which originate from them such as words like fury, muse, panic, and echo. Although this isn’t my favorite of the books listed, if your kids like mythology (and Percy Jackson,) I do recommend this book.
Hera: The Goddess and her Glory by George O’Connor
Both my kids love O’Conner’s graphic novels because they immerse kids in the traditional myths. O’Connor brings them alive with his illustrations and adventurous plotting. If you’re want to read Greek mythology, this is a fun way to do it. Also, check out his other books including Athena and Zeus: King of the Gods but be aware that these stick to the actual myths –and the Greek gods weren’t models of purity and morality. See ALL his Olympian Greek god and hero graphic novels. Boxed set of Zeus, Athena, Hera, Hades, Poseidon, and Aphrodite here.
Artemis: Wild Goddess of the Hunt by George O’Connor