Booklist: Children's books about the Ancient Greeks

Ancient Greece

Welcome to the world where monsters and mortals collide! The Ancient Greece topic is full of intriguing stories of gods and heroes as well as the fascinating history of ancient daily life and epic battles. We've put together a list of recommended children's books all about the world of the Ancient Greeks...

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The Ancient Greek Mysteries
Saviour Pirotta & Freya Hartas
Illustrated chapter book

The Ancient Greek Mysteries are fun and action-packed stories that are perfect for introducing readers in KS2 to the topic of Ancient Greece. Steeped in historical detail, the series follows the adventures of a scribe called Nico and his friend Thrax, who is a slave, as they work together to solve mysteries. This series adds a new and welcome dimension to the bank of stories used in schools for the Ancient Greek topic, with a focus on everyday life rather than mythology. The four stories in the series are: Mark of the Cyclops, Secret of the OraclePirates of Poseidon and Shadow of the Centaurs.

Who Let the Gods Out?
Maz Evans
Chapter book

This fast-moving narrative with plenty of laugh-out-loud moments is a huge hit, especially with upper KS2. The story is based on the exploits of a boy called Elliot, who falls into an adventurous mission and calls on the help of the Olympian gods. Full of comedy scenes and sad parts too, we think this is an excellent story to read aloud for a light-hearted take on how Greek gods would fare in the modern world. There are also chapter-by-chapter reading resources available to download from the publisher.

Leo and the Gorgon's Curse 
Joe Todd Stanton
Graphic novel style picture book

This highly appealing text is a hybrid between picture book and graphic novel. It follows the story of young Leo, who finds himself on an Ancient Greek quest to slay a beast. This modern twist on the myth of Perseus and Medusa is full of all of the delights expected of Greek mythology - monsters, heroes, quests and challenges - while emphasising a new set of values around what it means to be a hero. 

Greek Myths
Marcia Williams
Comic-style information book

Sink your teeth into the weird and wonderful world of Greek mythology with Marcia Williams' visual retellings of right key stories The dramatic stories are retold in a comic book style, with speech bubbles and many humorous details in both the text and illustrations that pupils will love. Encounter Pandora, Perseus, Athena, Heracles and a host of other heroes and gods too in this collection that make Greek myths easily accessible for children. An accompanying teacher pack is also available from KS2History.

Beasts of Olympus: Beast Keeper
Lucy Coats & David Roberts
Chapter book

This action-packed novel is the first in the popular Beasts of Olympus series. It serves as a fun introduction to the gods, goddesses and creatures of Greek mythology. Complete with link illustrations by David Roberts, this is a humorous page-turner to be read out loud or for independent reading in lower KS2. It also comes with a handy glossary to orientate readers in the world of Greek mythology. 

Greek Gods & Heroes
Sylvie Baussier & Almasty
Information book

A stylised compendium of 40 different male and female figures from Greek Mythology including Odysseus, Athena, Pandora, Achilles and Zeus. Each character is given a double-page spread and introduced through bite-size chunks of text, bright graphics and with facts and figures presented in an infographic style. Greek mythology is not short on gory details, but this book simplifies the myths for children without skipping the important details of the story, as well as providing details about each character’s genealogy, relationships and associated symbols.

Mission to Marathon
Geoffrey Trease
Chapter book

Historical fiction set during the battle of Marathon, in which the Persians landed near the Ancient Greek city of Marathon in order to attack. When news of the impending invasion reaches Athens, young Philip is sent on a mission across the mountains to warn his family before it is too late. History lovers in upper KS2 will enjoy this exciting adventure based on a key event in Ancient Greek history. 

Mythologica: An Encyclopedia of Gods, Monsters and Mortals from Ancient Greece
Dr Stephen Kershaw & Victoria Topping
Illustrated encycopedia

Impressive from the outset, this large-format, boldly-stylized hardback book is a visual feast exploring the details of 50 Greek gods, goddesses, mortals and monsters. Each spread shows a new character, with poster-like images depicting the classical characters in a new light; vibrant, modern representations in an energetically layered collage style. Classics scholar Dr Stephen Kershaw provides a written description of each of the 50 characters, bringing out key characteristics, roles and relationships as well as a summary of the associated myths. Suitable for upper KS2+.

Fleeced!
Julia Wills
Chapter book

Fleeced is a spirited and witty story that sees characters from classical Greek mythology transported to modern day London. Guaranteed to have your class laughing out loud, this exciting adventure is a great way to engage with Greek myths in a new way and a great springboard for children to write their own present-day mythological stories. 

So You Think You’ve Got it Bad? A Kid's Life in Ancient Greece
Chae Strathie & Marisa Morea
Information book

Through words and pictures, the book compares modern-day life to different aspects of daily life for the Ancient Greeks, including clothing, education, jobs, pets, food and pastimes, viewing each topic through the eyes of a child. An enjoyable information text that would appeal to children in KS2, this is the kind of book that helps young readers to move beyond hard facts and begin to reflect on what life might have felt like for those living in ancient times.

 

The Orchard Book of Greek Myths
Geraldine McCaughrean & Emma Chichester Clark
Illustrated short story collection

This superb and beautifully illustrated collection contains 16 popular Greek myths retold in rich but accessible storytelling language. The Orchard Book of Greek Myths allows readers to follow the adventures of Jason, Theseus, Odysseus, Icarus, Arachne, King Midas and many more heroes and heroines of Ancient Greek mythology and features colour artwork throughout.

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief
Rick Riordan
Chapter book

This is a multi-million selling series that has also been televised with Disney and is hugely popular among fans of action and adventure. Percy Jackson's modern world is turned upside when he finds out he is descended from Greek gods. What follows is battles with monsters and epic quests in an action-packed series that merges Greek mythology with the modern world. There are also Teachers' Notes available to download from the publisher.

Athena: The Story of a Goddess
Imogen & Isabel Greenberg
Information book

This illustrated story brings into spotlight the Greek goddess Athena. Beginning with the  surprising story of her birth and going on to detail her interactions with gods, goddesses and mortals as threads from a number of key Greek myths are woven together to tell her story. Many Greek myths focus on male protagonists, but her the determined and fearless Athena is given centre stage among graphic style bold illustrations. Teaching notes are also available to download from the publisher. 

A Visitor's Guide to Ancient Greece
Lesley Sims
Information book

Written like a guide book for time travellers, this text is a perfect introduction to life in Ancient Greece. Full of details, images, weblinks and interesting facts, A Visitor's Guide to Ancient Greece is a handy book to have in the classroom to add a new dimension to your Ancient Greece topic as well as offering a stimulus for children to write their own tourist guides.

More ideas...
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Who Let the Gods Out? Maz Evans This fast-moving narrative based on Greek mythology is always a huge hit, especially with KS2. The story is based on the exploits of a boy called Elliot, who falls into an adventurous mission and calls on the help of the Olympian gods. Full of laugh-out-loud moments and sad parts too, we think this is an excellent story to read aloud. Check the rest of the series too, 'Simply the Quest' and 'Beyond The Odyssey', or read more about the latest installment on our Reading for Pleasure blog. Buy on Amazon Beasts of Olympus: Beast Keeper Lucy Coats This action-packed novel is the first in the popular Beasts of Olympus series. It serves as a fun introduction to the gods, goddesses and creatures of Greek mythology. Beasts of Olympus: Beast Keeper is a great page-turner to be read out loud or for independent reading. Buy on Amazon The Ancient Greek Mysteries Saviour Pirotta & Freya Hartas The Ancient Greek Mysteries are fun and action-packed stories that are perfect for introducing readers in KS2 to the topic of Ancient Greece. Steeped in historical detail, the series follows the adventures of a scribe called Nico and his friend Thrax, who is a slave, as they work together to solve mysteries. This series adds a new and welcome dimension to the bank of stories used in schools for the Ancient Greesk topic, with a focus on everyday life rather than mythology. The four stories in the series are: Mark of the Cyclops (available here), Secret of the Oracle (available here), Pirates of Poseidon (available here) and Shadow of the Centaurs (available here). Buy on Amazon Greek Gods & Heroes Sylvie Baussier & Almasty A compendium of 40 different male and female figures from Greek Mythology including Odysseus, Athena, Pandora, Achilles and Zeus. Each character is given a double-page spread and introduced through bite-size chunks of text, bright graphics and with facts and figures presented in an infographic style. Greek mythology is not short on gory details but this book simplifies the myths for children without skipping the important details of the story, as well as providing details about each character’s genealogy, relationships and associated symbols. This is a great alternative to some of the more text-heavy mythology books and one that is likely to hold a high appeal to readers in Upper KS2. ​ Also features on: Reading for Pleasure Blog Buy on Amazon Hopeless Heroes: Here Comes Hercules! Stella Tarakson & Nick Roberts The series tells the story of schoolboy Tim Baker whose life turns upside down when he accidentally breaks an ancient Greek vase, unknowingly releasing the mighty god Hercules into the twenty-first century. There is, however, just one problem: only Tim can see and hear Hercules. As chaos ensues, Tim has to juggle babysitting clumsy but proud Hercules, completing his homework, standing up to bullies and working out a way to send Hercules back home to his wife and daughter. An easy read, Hopeless Heroes delivers a fast-paced, mischief and mayhem packed story. Also featured on: Reading for Pleasure Blog Buy on Amazon Fleeced! Julia Wills Fleeced is a spirited and witty story that sees characters from classical Greek mythology transported to modern day London. Guaranteed to have your class laughing out loud, this exciting adventure is a great way to engage with Greek myths in a new way and a great springboard for children to write their own present-day mythological stories. Buy on Amazon Mythologica: An Encyclopedia of Gods, Monsters and Mortals from Ancient Greece Dr Stephen Kershaw & Victoria Topping Impressive from the outset, this large-format, boldly-stylized hardback book is a visual feast exploring the details of 50 Greek gods, goddesses, mortals and monsters. Each spread shows a new character, with poster-like images depicting the classical characters in a new light; vibrant, modern representations in an energetically layered collage style. Classics scholar Dr Stephen Kershaw provides a written description of each of the 50 characters, bringing out key characteristics, roles and relationships as well as a summary of the associated myths. Also features on: Reading for Pleasure Blog Buy on Amazon The Iliad and the Odyssey Marcia Williams Discover two classic epics of Ancient Greece retold in an innovative and lively way in Marcia Williams' popular version of The Iliad and the Odyssey. The comic book style illustrations and the delightful details make these stories accessible to young readers. Pupils will enjoy the tales of perilous voyages, terrifying beasts and epic battles. Highly recommended. Buy on Amazon So You Think You’ve Got it Bad? A Kid's Life in Ancient Greece Chae Strathie & Marisa Morea Through words and pictures, the book compares modern-day life to different aspects of daily life for the Ancient Greeks, including clothing, education, jobs, pets, food and pastimes, viewing each topic through the eyes of a child. An enjoyable information text that would appeal to children in KS2, this is the kind of book that helps young readers to move beyond hard facts and begin to reflect on what life might have felt like for those living in ancient times. ​ Also features on: Reading for Pleasure Blog Buy on Amazon The Orchard Book of Greek Myths Geraldine McCaughrean This superb and beautifully illustrated collection contains 16 popular Greek myths retold in rich but accessible storytelling language. The Orchard Book of Greek Myths allows readers to follow the adventures of Jason, Theseus, Odysseus, Icarus, Arachne, King Midas and many more heroes and heroines of Ancient Greek mythology. ​ Buy on Amazon A Visitor's Guide to Ancient Greece Lesley Sims Written like a guide book for time travellers, this text is a perfect introduction to life in Ancient Greece. Full of details, images, weblinks and interesting facts, A Visitor's Guide to Ancient Greece is a handy book to have in the classroom to add a new dimension to your Ancient Greece topic. Buy on Amazon Avoid Entering the Ancient Greek Olympics! (Danger Zone) Michael Ford A humorous text that is ideal for guided reading as a way to introduce the conventions of non-fiction texts, including index, captions and a full glossary. Avoid Entering the Ancient Greek Olympics! is presented in a fun cartoon style and gives an overview of life in Ancient Greece. This is one of the most widely puchased recommended texts on booksfortopics. Buy on Amazon You Wouldn't Want to Be a Slave in Ancient Greece! Fiona Macdonald This charming book is part of the very popular 'You Wouldn't Want to Be' series. The entertaining and colourful text of You Wouldn't Want to Be a Slave in Ancient Greece gives an insight into what life would have been like as a slave in Ancient Greek times. Buy on Amazon The Girl of Ink and Stars Kiran Millwood Hargrave This is a magical adventure combining classical myths and legends that you could use to link to an Ancient Greek topic. It centres on a girl called Isabella who is trapped on a locked-down island and forbidden to leave. When her friend disappears, Isabella jumps at the opportunity to join the search party and venture outside the walls that have confined her for so long. She soon discovers that the world outside the island is filled with monsters, volcanoes and demons and she finds herself on a larger quest to save her island from the oppressive forces that threaten its freedom of existence. This is a captivating debut novel that lures its readers into losing themselves in its marvellous mythological worlds. Also featured on:  Best books for Year 6