Goddess Girls Teaches Kids About Greek Myth

I was so excited to stumble across a  children’s book series on Goodreads, about the gods and goddesses of ancient Greece studying, socializing and honing their mythical skills in junior high at Mount Olympus Academy.

Readers of my adult mystery novel Twenty-Five Years Ago Today know that it features a subplot revolving around Greek and Roman mythology. In my book, amateur sleuth Kris Langley discovers that the victim of her 25-year-old cold case, Diana Ferguson, was a talented artist inspired by ancient myths. In fact, Diana Ferguson felt a kinship to Artemis, Greek goddess of the hunt, because the Romans called this goddess Diana. Kris learns that Diana Ferguson’s haunting paintings of Greek myths may hold the key to the murder. While investigating the case, Kris bones up on Pandora, Zeus, Apollo and others from ancient myth. Many readers have told me that they learned a lot about mythology from the book, as it’s not often that a fiction novel explores Greek mythology.

A children’s book focusing on mythology is even more of a rarity, and I was delighted to find the Goddess Girls series, authored by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams and published by Aladdin. This middle grade series for ages 8-12 puts the Greek immortals (and some special mortals) in boarding school. Readers will relate to the contemporary problems that the young godboys and goddessgirls face, such as fitting in, dealing with bullies, and gaining understanding from parents. The classroom scenes reminded me of Hogwarts in the Harry Potter series, except that the Goddess Girls books are much lighter without the dark intrigue of Harry Potter.

According to Amazon, there are over 25 books in the Goddess Girls series including these early ones:  Athena the Brain, Persephone the Phony, Athena the Wise, Artemis the Brave and Aphrodite the Beauty. I definitely need to read the Artemis book, since Artemis is so pivotal to Twenty-Five Years Ago Today. Artemis does play a minor role in the books that I started with, Athena the Brain and Persephone the Phony.

In Athena the Brain, Athena is summoned from Earth to Mount Olympus Academy. She learns that Principal Zeus is her father and that she is a goddess. Although she misses her best friend Pallas, Athena accepts the challenge and immerses herself in classes like Beginning Hero-ology taught by Mr. Cyclops. She gains new friends such as the golden-haired beauty Aphrodite and the very curious Pandora, while coping with the baddest mean girl in history – Medusa. In Persephone the Phony, young Persephone’s new friendship with bad-boy Hades puts her at odds with her overprotective mother Demeter.

The authors take a lot of artistic license with ancient myths, using aspects of the legends and gearing them toward middle schoolers. In the actual myths, there were incestuous relationships among the gods and goddesses, and the gods – especially Zeus – could be downright forceful when it came to pursuing the opposite sex. The gods could be cruel and spiteful at times. The Goddess Girls authors left out the darker aspects of the myths to make the stories more wholesome and appropriate for the young age level.

I enjoyed the way the authors took well known myths and incorporated them into the storyline – for example in Athena the Brain, the Trojan War stems from a class assignment in which the gods are assigned heroes to manipulate. The students are graded on manipulation, disasters and quick saves. I won’t spoil it, but I loved how the authors worked the Trojan Horse into the plot. The authors also offer a humorous explanation about how Medusa got her snakey hair.

In Twenty-Five Years Ago Today, Diana Ferguson painted a picture inspired by the Pandora myth. In the Goddess Girls series, Pandora remembers how she once accidentally opened a box of disasters in class and most of them escaped to Earth. It was interesting to see how other authors besides myself were inspired by Greek myth and wove the details into a contemporary novel.

Middle schoolers are sure to enjoy the Goddess Girl books and develop an appreciation for Greek mythology in the process. They may not learn the ancient stories in the same way that I did, from books of myth, but the names and details will stick in their minds. This is a good series for parents to share with their children. Parents, I’d suggest reading one of the novels aloud to your children and showing them a book of Greek myth and legends to demonstrate the origin of the series. This would also be a good way for high school English or history teachers to conduct a unit on Greek mythology.

Oh, and one more recommendation for parents and teachers – once you’ve finished teaching the kids about mythology, pick up a copy of Twenty-Five Years Ago Today for yourself!


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  1. Hello Stacy, Thanks for the nice review of Joan Holub’s and my new series. How fun that we share an interest in Greek myths. I will be looking for your books! Btw, there will eventually be eight books in the Goddess Girls series, as Joan and I were recently asked to write two more.

  2. Hi Suzanne,
    Thanks so much for coming by. I was going to look up your web sites to send you the link, but I’m glad Google did that for me. I’m so glad to hear there will be more books in the series. They are really fun and educational books – wish I’d had those to read growing up!

Stacy Juba