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About the Book
Mythology for Teens: Classic Myths in Today's World by Zachary Hamby [Prufrock Press Inc., 2009] takes dusty, classic myths and turns them into engaging reading for students at the middle school or high school level.
Organization of Book
The book has a chapter on "Why Study Mythology." This chapter answers the age old question, "Why do we have to know this?" It is short and sweet and catches the students' attention.
The rest of the book is laid out with "big ideas" or themes: The Hero, Battle of the Sexes: Women in Mythology, A Twist of Fate, Beauty: Eye of the Beholder, War: The Iliad and the Trojan War, National Identity: The Aeneid. In addition, there is a pronunciation index and references.
Each chapter has discussion questions to go along with the reading, writing prompts, drawing prompts and even suggested movies to watch. In addition to the plays for reader's theater, there is a wealth of knowledge about the myths arranged in boxes and short readings.
As the author astutely suggests, teenagers like to act out plays. Teens love to be goofy. The myths are told in language that they can understand and in a play format. The cast is listed in a grey box before each reading. My students fight over who will take each part.
There are even stage directions to get students totally involved in the action. Students will laugh and giggle as students use their "deep" voices or look "shocked" when reading a part. It is fun to have students "take the stage" and perform during class. Just having a few props will add to the entertainment value. It is something they will never forget.
Try Mythology for Teens to create engaging and applicable mythology lessons for students. Hamby "gets" teenagers and how they comprehend literature. The book is a worthwhile investment that will not collect dust on the shelves.
- Teaching experience.