The Children's Homer: Travel back to a mythical time when Achilles, aided by the gods, waged war against the Trojans.
The Children’s Homer
Much of classic Western literature is built on an understanding of Greek myths and tales. Seriously, so much. Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, which tell of the Trojan Wars and the travels of Odysseus, are some of the most foundational, not to mention two of the oldest surviving works of Western literature still read today.
You’ll often find references to them in other stories or entire story arcs based on them. Even movies draw from them. (Ever seen O Brother, Where Art Thou? 😁)
Short story: They’re important to know, and ya gotta read ’em. But that doesn’t mean it has to be a drag.
Most kids begin at the high school level with a well-established translation of these epic poems from Homeric Greek to English. If that’s your child’s first exposure, it’s not guaranteed to be a breeze. These works are challenging to anyone experiencing them for the first time.
Our advice? Don’t wait ’til then to introduce these tales!
Young children can experience Homer’s tales of adventure and drama in an age-appropriate, easy-to-understand way through an excellent retelling like The Children’s Homer. They can begin to connect to the stories and understand what’s happening before they sink their teeth into official translations later.
Padraic Colum’s version is a wonderful place to begin. (If you’re wondering, that’s pronounced “Paw-drig” or “Paw-rick” depending on where you are in Ireland. Our English version is Patrick.) The Irish writer wrote other retellings of famous tales for children including Children of Odin and The Golden Fleece, and they’re all worth reading.
We recommend this one for ages 10 and up for independent readers, but younger children can enjoy it read aloud to them.