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jeff ford
Posted on Sunday, March 20, 2005 - 11:36 am:   

My niece is looking for young adult novels dealing with mythology. If you know of any, please write in. Thanks.
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MarcL
Posted on Sunday, March 20, 2005 - 02:42 pm:   

Hey, Jeff,

My daughter and I have gotten a kick out of the Myth-o-Mania series by Kate McMullan, although they could be too young for your niece. They're the Greek myths retold from the point of view of Hades, basically straightening out all the lies Zeus has spread through the ages. It's a fractured fairy tale approach that actually does a really good job of introducing the various gods and goddesses as actual personalities. There are quite a few authors retelling classic myths and epics (including the Iliad and Odyssey) both in the children's and YA mode. Jane Yolen also springs to mind.

The McMullan books have the advantage of being fast-paced and funny.
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MarcL
Posted on Sunday, March 20, 2005 - 02:46 pm:   

By the way, not mythic, but more in the Watership Down mode...THE SIGHT and FIREBRINGER by David Clement-Davies come extremely highly recommended by my 12 year old daughter. They're quite dark and violent and exciting animal stories; definitely more mature material.
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jeff ford
Posted on Sunday, March 20, 2005 - 04:19 pm:   

Thanks, Marc. I'll run em by her.
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Mastadge
Posted on Monday, March 21, 2005 - 04:30 am:   

Erm. . . I quite enjoyed Susan Cooper's THE DARK IS RISING sequence when I was little.
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AliceB
Posted on Monday, March 21, 2005 - 06:17 am:   

If she's older, you could also suggest THE MISTS OF AVALON by Marion Zimmer Bradley--the Arthur myth retold from the point of view of the women--or, if she likes graphic novels, you could try the Sandman series which touches frequently on various myths.

Alice
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jeff ford
Posted on Monday, March 21, 2005 - 06:32 am:   

Mastadge: Thanks for the suggestion. I know these books are very popular with young readers. I'll pass the suggestion along.

AliceB: Thanks for this, but she told me this novel you mention by Bradley was the one that got her interested in these types of novels. I appreciate the suggestion, though. I'll suggest the Sandman to her anyway, but I think she unfortunately needs "traditional" book for this project she's working on.
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AliceB
Posted on Monday, March 21, 2005 - 08:57 am:   

Hmm. I just borrowed GODDESS OF YESTERDAY by Caroline B. Cooney for my oldest daughter. I haven't read it, so I can't vouch for it, although Cooney is well respected and the book is ALA recommended. From what I can gather from the cover, it's a take on the Iliad from the point of view of a slave girl.

I'm glad she liked the Bradley book. I believe there may be a sequel, but I have not read it.

Best,
Alice
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AliceB
Posted on Monday, March 21, 2005 - 10:04 am:   

D-oh... I forgot THE GREEN MAN ANTHOLOGY edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling. All about the Green Man myth.
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Kirsten Bishop
Posted on Monday, March 21, 2005 - 11:43 am:   

There's also Lloyd Alexander's THE CHRONICLES OF PRYDAIN, set in a world based on Welsh mythology, and T.H. White's THE ONCE AND FUTURE KING.
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AnnaT
Posted on Monday, March 21, 2005 - 01:59 pm:   

INCUBUS by Nick Gifford.
http://www.nickgifford.co.uk/incubus/
and this page tells about the cover illustration, of 'the mysterious house-spirit, Hodeken'.
http://www.nickgifford.co.uk/incubus/cover.htm

I just read this, and like his earlier PIGGIES and FLESH AND BLOOD, Nick Gifford's books may be for young adults, but for those of us who've never grown up, they're wonderful reads that really stick in the mind long afterwards.

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GabrielM
Posted on Monday, March 21, 2005 - 03:15 pm:   

Mary Renault's novels about Theseus, BULL FROM THE SEA / KING MUST DIE were not necessarily targeted at YA readers but are certainly often read by them.
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AnnaT
Posted on Monday, March 21, 2005 - 06:09 pm:   

Don't know if you would count these as properly myth-rooted, but E. Nesbit's FIVE CHILDREN AND IT, and the sequels, THE PHOENIX AND THE CARPET and THE STORY OF THE AMULET. The Psammead (the Phoenix) is central to all, though the carpet is part of the magic, and though my now-tattered Looking Glass Library copy with charming illustrations by JS Goodall says "ages 9 to 12", that is a matter of taste, I would think, more than age. I've never stopped loving these, but are these as irrelevant now as inkwells and typewriters, as far as kids/young adults go?
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AnnaT
Posted on Monday, March 21, 2005 - 06:36 pm:   

Is this true?
http://writing4success.com/kids_writing_in_straightjacket.htm
and
http://writing4success.com/kids_hampering_creativity.htm
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AliceB
Posted on Monday, March 21, 2005 - 07:01 pm:   

I'll try to keep this short so as to not highjack Jeff's thread, but yeah, this stuff happens. However the article, written from the Australian perspective, has a narrow view of what's in American classrooms--our school district uses trade lit of all kinds, from Captain Underpants to The Giver, and lots of stuff in between. The educational market can be a pain, but it depends on the publisher--some, in fact, use trade books as their jump-off point. Other than in the religious market where an "uplifting moral tone" is de rigueur, most US trade publishers are interested in good stories, with conflict, that grab children and aren't didactic--and even in the religious houses, most editors will tell you that if there's no compelling story, there's no sale.

Best,
Alice
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AnnaT
Posted on Monday, March 21, 2005 - 08:03 pm:   

That's a relief, Alice. These pieces were pretty grim. And sorry if I've interrupted, Jeff. I'm enjoying reading what people are suggesting.
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jeff ford
Posted on Monday, March 21, 2005 - 08:19 pm:   

AnnaT: I've only worked with Ellen Datlow, Terri Windling and Sharyn November on YA projects. I can tell you that these three are visionaries. I've not written a novel, only stories, but the impetus is always there from them to push the envelope. I don't mean that necessarily as far as what will be acceptable for a YA audience (although in many respects it covers that as well), I mean it in relation to their wanting writers to really dig in and come up with truly idiosyncratic work. So, in my limited experience, it's been a blast.
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jeff ford
Posted on Monday, March 21, 2005 - 08:21 pm:   

Alice, Gabe, KJ: Thanks for the great suggestions. I'm going to send my niece the url for this thread so she can just read through them.

Gabe: Just got the book in the mail to you this morning.
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MarcL
Posted on Tuesday, March 22, 2005 - 12:10 am:   

Nesbit is fantastic, partly because her kids are (even today) totally believable. I discovered the Psammead stories only a few years ago; I haven't convinced my own kids to read them, but I ate them up myself. Paul di Filippo and illustrator Harry Robins turned me onto them. Hal also introduced me to another overlooked children's classic, T.H. White's MISTRESS MASHAM'S REPOSE, which concerns the further adventures of Lilliputians.
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montmorency
Posted on Tuesday, March 22, 2005 - 03:44 am:   

Oh, I loved Susan Cooper, Lloyde Alexander, and Nesbit, along with Joan Aiken.

Some suggestions:

Leon Garfiled's THE GOD BENEATH THE SEA and THE GOLDEN SHADOW, retelling of Greek myths.

Susan Price's GHOST DRUM, GHOST SONG, and GHOST DANCE, with very bleak tastes of Scandinavian and Russian legends.

Patricia Wrightson's THE ICE IS COMING, THE DARK BRIGHT WATER, and THE JOURNEY BEHIND THE WIND, based in Aboligini's legends.
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jeff ford
Posted on Tuesday, March 22, 2005 - 04:07 am:   

Marc and Montmorency: Thanks!

AnnaT: Interrupt any time you want at any juncture. Your voice is always welcome.
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RobB
Posted on Tuesday, March 22, 2005 - 08:46 am:   

SUMMERLAND by Michael Chabon was a fun book and a decidedly American Fantasy - mixing baseball with some Native American myth.

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