I don’t usually have a problem getting my nine year old son to read. In fact, just the other day I overheard him lamenting the huge list of books that he was wanting to read but hadn’t gotten to yet. Even so, I’m always on the lookout for books that I think he’ll like, either for free reading or for formal lessons. This summer a friend posted a picture of her son reading in the car and I zoomed in and saw that it was a graphic novel version of a myth. This caught my attention since this summer my son had a mythology-themed adventure box, so I started googling and was so excited about what I found: an entire series of graphic novels based on myths and legends! This summer he read tons of the mythology books and so far we have used Beowulf: Monster Slayer for school and we’re going to be using King Arthur: Excalibur Unsheathed soon. So why do I think these are so great?
- They’ll pull in your reluctant readers. Having spent several years teaching fifth graders, I can tell you that it’s not uncommon for boys to be reluctant readers, even if they are good readers. These are high-interest books and they aren’t too lengthy, and most boys are going to be willing to give something that looks like a comic book a chance.
- They’re a great way to introduce stories to kids. My nine year old is not going to sit down and read Beowulf on his own—or with my help, for that matter. With this version, he jumped right in to the story, though, and enjoyed it, too. These are geared more toward upper elementary-aged kids, but if I had a high-schooler I wouldn’t hesitate to give this book to him before we started reading the “real” version of Beowulf so that he would at least be familiar with the story beforehand and maybe not get so bogged down in more difficult syntax since he would already get what’s going on.
- They have myths and legends from many different groups. It’s not too difficult to find Greek and Roman myths for kids, but I’m not sure how many Aztec or Chinese myths I’ve seen in picture book form. This series has well-known stories and ones you may not have ever heard of before.
If you have a child who is a reluctant reader or a child who loves to read myths and legends, I hope you’ll give these books a try!