Myths have been retold through various cultures and mediums for generations. Contemporary retellers of myths mix fantasy and realism, fleshing out characters and exposing new ideas. These tales build on traditional myths and legends to create new works of fantasy.
They are organized in general categories; Celtic and Welsh Mythology, Greek and Roman Mythology, and Norse Mythology. For a guide to Celtic myths specifically focused on the story of King Arthur, see the guide to Arthurian Fantasy.
Most books are located in the School (S-) Collection (Room 112, Main Library) of the Social Sciences, Health, and Education Library. However, books may also be located at the Center for Children's Books and older books may be located in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library (Room 346, Main Library) or in the Oak Street Facility. To verify the location of an item, please search for the book in the Online Library Catalog. If you require assistance locating an item, please ask for assistance at the SSHEL Information Services Desk.
Celtic and Welsh Mythology
Cooper, Susan. Over Sea, Under Stone. 1965.
Three children find an ancient manuscript and become involved in a quest to discover the true story of King Arthur. This is the introduction to the Dark is Rising quartet, which includes Arthurian legend and a variety of Celtic and Welsh myths in a fantastical struggle between good and evil forces.
Sequels (Dark is Rising Sequence):
The Dark is Rising. 1973.
The Greenwitch. 1974.
The Grey King. 1975.
Silver on the Tree. 1977.
Garner, Alan. The Owl Service. 1967.
A contemporary retelling of the story of Blodeuwedd, a character from Welsh mythology.
Guard, David. Dierdre: a Celtic Legend. 1977.
According to this ancient legend, at her birth, a wise Druid foretold that Dierdre’s beauty would tear Ulster apart.
Jones, Diana Wynne. Fire and Hemlock. 1985.
A complex retelling of the legend of Tam Lin.
McBride, Regina. The Fire Opal. 2010.
While invading English soldiers do battle in sixteenth-century Ireland, Maeve grows up with a mystical connection to a queen who, centuries before, faced enemies of her own, and uses her special gifts to try to save her mother whose spirit has left her.
Nimmo, Jenny. The Snow Spider. 2007.
Gifts from Gwyn's grandmother on his tenth birthday open up a whole new world to him, as he discovers he has magical powers that help him heal the breach with his father that has existed ever since his sister's mysterious disappearance four years before.
Sequels (Snow Spider):
The Chestnut Soldier. 1989.
O'Shea, Pat. The Hounds of the Morrigan. 1986.
Pidge and his sister Brigit become involved with creatures from ancient Celtic myth when Pidge buys a book which is the prison of the evil serpent, Olc-Glas.
Shepard, Aaron. The Mountain of Marvels: a Celtic Tale of Magic: Retold from The Mabinogion. 2007.
A thousand years ago, in the Celtic kingdoms of Wales, great lords gave great feasts for their fighting men and courtiers. In between the meals, the storyteller rose and spun his tales of times long past. Many of these tales are collected in this retelling of The Mabinogion.
Greek and Roman Mythology
Abouzeid, Chris. Anatopsis. 2006.
Princess Anatopsis' mother, Queen Solomon, wants her to be chairwoman of the Amalgamated Witchcraft Corporation; Ana wants to be a knight-errant. Her first opportunity for a quest comes when she discovers that her new tutor, the demigod Mr. Pound has some unpleasant plans for her…and the entire world. On her quest she will need the help of Immortals, ancient gods, and the last dog in the Universe.
Block, Francesca Lia. Psyche in a Dress. 2006.
A young woman, Psyche, searches for her lost love and questions her true self in a modern retelling of Greek myths.
Childs, Tera Lynn. Oh. My. Gods. 2008.
When her mother suddenly decides to marry a near-stranger, Phoebe, whose passion is running, soon finds herself living on a remote Greek island, completing her senior year at an ancient high school where the students and teachers are all descended from gods or goddesses.
Goddess Bootcamp. 2009.
Coville, Bruce. Juliet Dove, Queen of Love. 2003.
Juliet Dove is so shy that whenever anyone pays attention to her she says nasty things to distract their attention. But when she receives a magical amulet from the Magic Shop, she suddenly finds herself the center of more attention than she’d ever imagined in her worst nightmares. To free herself from the spell, she'll have to resolve the problems of Cupid and Psyche and learn to interact with others in a different way.
Druitt, Tobias. Corydon and the Island of Monsters. 2006.
Perseus is leading an army of heroes to destroy the monsters forever; Medusa, the Minotaur, and the Sphinx have gathered an army of monsters to defend themselves. Corydon, a shepherd boy imprisoned as a "monster" unites the monsters and leads them in fighting for survival and a place to call their own.
Corydon & the Fall of Atlantis. 2007.
Corydon and the Siege of Troy. 2009.
Falcone, L. M. Walking with the Dead. 2005.
Alex's dad brings home an ancient Greek corpse for the museum of Oddities and soon Alex and his friend Freddie find themselves on a mission to the underworld to help the corpse and its lost soul.
Franco, Betsy. Metamorphosis: Junior Year. 2009.
High school artist Ovid’s journal recasts his classmates’ lives and loves as modern-day Roman mythology, while slowly revealing his own struggles with parents who need him to be the perfect son in the wake of his meth-addicted sister’s disappearance.
Friesner, Esther. Nobody's Princess. 2007.
Determined to fend for herself in a world where only men have real freedom, headstrong Helen, who will be called queen of Sparta and Helen of Troy one day, learns to fight, hunt, and ride horses while disguised as a boy, and goes on an adventure throughout the Mediterranean world.
Nobody's Prize. 2008.
Friesner, Esther. Temping Fate. 2006.
Ilana thinks she's found the perfect job - temping at the same place her older sister used to work! But when she shows up for her first job, she realizes there was a reason her sister never told anyone about her job...
Halam, Ann. Snakehead. 2008.
Compelled by his father Zeus to accept the evil king Polydectes’s challenge to bring the head of the monstrous Medusa to the Aegean island of Serifos, Perseus, although questioning the gods’ interference in human lives, sets out, accompanied by his beloved Andromeda, a princess with her own harsh destiny to fulfill.
Hennesy, Carolyn. Pandora Gets Jealous. 2008.
When Pandora (Pandy for short) comes across a simple box said to contain a mystery both terrifying and forbidden, she thinks it will be perfect to bring to school as her class project. However, when the box is accidentally opened all sorts of evils are loosed on the world of men. Brought before Zeus and the other immortals, Pandy must bring back all the evils from the box within a year’s time.
Sequels (Mythic Misadventures):
Pandora Gets Vain. 2008.
Pandora Gets Lazy. 2009.
Pandora Gets Heart. 2009.
Not available at UIUC
Pandora Gets Angry. 2011.
Pandora Gets Greedy. 2012.
Not available at UIUC
Pandora Gets Frightened. 2013.
Kindl, Patrice. Lost in the Labyrinth. 2002.
Xenodice tries to save her half-brother, the Minotaur, from the Athenian prince. Theseus, aided by Ariadne, Icarus, and Daedalus, spreads tragedy as all become entangled in a web of passion and politics.
McMullan, Kate. Have a Hot Time, Hades!. 2002.
Hades tells the true story behind the Greek myths in these tongue-in-cheek chapter books, beginning with Cronus' swallowing his children. The first book in the Myth-o-mania series.
Napoli, Donna Jo. Sirena. 1998.
The mermaid Sirena is granted immortality when she rescues and falls in love with a human man; but when he is called to defend Greece in the Trojan War he will have to choose between love and honor.
Riordan, Rick. The Lightning Thief. 2005.
Percy Jackson is just trying to make it through sixth grade without getting expelled – again. But then he discovers his pre-algebra teacher is a monster, his best friend is a satyr, and he is a half-blood, son of a mortal woman and a god. To prevent war and destruction between the gods, Percy must go on a quest to retrieve a powerful magic tool stolen from Zeus.
Sequels (Percy Jackson and the Olympians):
The Sea of Monsters. 2006.
The Titan's Curse. 2007.
The Battle of the Labyrinth. 2008.
The Last Olympian. 2009.
Riordan, Rick. The Lost Hero. 2010.
Jason, Piper, and Leo, three students from a school for "bad kids," find themselves at Camp Half-Blood, where they learn that they are demigods and begin a quest to free Hera, who has been imprisoned by Mother Earth herself.
Sequels (Heroes of Olympus):
The Son of Neptune. 2011.
The Mark of Athena. 2012.
Spinner, Stephanie. Quicksilver. 2005.
A novelization of the Greek myths involving Hermes.
Ursu, Anne. Shadow Thieves. 2006.
Thirteen-old Charlotte and her cousin Zee set out to save humanity from the Nightmares, Death, Pain, and a nasty guy named Phil. A humorous look at Hades.
Sequels (Cronus Chronicles):
The Siren Song. 2007.
Immortal Fire. 2009.
Whitman, Emily. Radiant Darkness. 2009.
Persephone runs off to the Underworld with Hades, with whom she has fallen in love, but when her mother Demeter threatens to destroy the earth to save her, Persephone finds a way to come back once a year, bringing spring.
Yolen, Jane and Robert J. Harris. Odysseus in the Serpent Maze. 2001.
Thirteen-year-old Odysseus, who longs to be a hero, has many opportunities to prove himself during an adventure which involves pirates and satyrs, a trip to Crete’s Labyrinth, and the two young girls, Penelope and Helen, who play a major role in his future life.
Sequels (Young Heroes):
Hippolyta and the Curse of the Amazons. 2002.
Atalanta and the Arcadian Beast. 2003.
Not Available at UIUC
Hippolyta and the Lost Amazon City. 2003.
Jason and the Gorgon's Blood. 2004.
Barnhouse, Rebecca. The Coming of the Dragon. 2010.
Barnhouse weaves Norse gods, blood feuds, and a terrifying dragon into this spectacular retelling of the end of the Old English poem Beowulf.
Coville, Bruce. Thor's Wedding Day by Thialfi the Goat Boy. 2005.
The stealing and retrieval of Thor's hammer as told by his goat boy, Thialfi. A humorous look at an episode in Norse mythology.
Farmer, Nancy. Sea of Trolls. 2004.
Jack, captured by Viking berserkers, goes on a quest to Jotunheim, home of the trolls.
Sequels (Sea of Trolls):
The Land of the Silver Apples. 2007.
The Islands of the Blessed. 2009.
Gaiman, Neil. Odd and the Frost Giants. 2009.
An unlucky twelve-year-old Norwegian boy named Odd leads the Norse gods Loki, Thor, and Odin in an attempt to outwit evil Frost Giants who have taken over Asgard.
Harris, Joanne. Runemarks. 2008.
Maddy Smith, who bears the mysterious mark of a rune on her hand, learns that she is destined to join the gods of Norse mythology and play a role in the fate of the world.
Jones, Carrie. Captivate. 2010.
High school junior Zara and her friends continue to try to contain the pixies that threaten their small Maine town, but when a Valkyrie takes Zara’s boyfriend, Nick, to Valhalla, the only way to save him is to trust a pixie king, Astley.
Jones, Diana Wynne. Eight Days of Luke. 1975.
A boy’s new friend turns out to be more complicated – and dangerous – than he had imagined when "Luke" is revealed as Loki.
Not Available at UIUC
Lake, A.J. The Coming of Dragons. 2006.
A king’s son and sea captain’s tomboy daughter journey across magical lands and face the Norse god Loki.
Sequels (Darkest Age):
The Book of the Sword. 2007.
The Circle of Stone. 2008.
Q. S.398.2 L972a
Lunge-Larsen, Lise. The Adventures of Thor the Thunder God. 2007.
Stories of Norse Thunder God Thor, adapted for modern young audiences.