Epics are oral narratives that have travelled to the ages, adapting to different times, to reach us as an inheritance of literature but also as a compendium of knowledge. It is important to introduce kids to these as early on as possible, because they carry narrative as well as cultural, historical and moral value. Today we have selected epic books for kids. So without much delay let us look at 10 all time classic retellings of epics for kids.
Epic Books For Kids: 10 All Time Classic Retellings of Epics For Kids –
- The Serpent’s Revenge by Sudha Murty
- Lights for the Blue Prince by Soumya Ayer
- The Odyssey by Gareth Hinds
- Stories from the Iliad by Jeanie Lang
- The Story of Beowulf by Henrietta Elizabeth Marshall
- Gilgamesh the Hero by Geraldine McCaughrean
- Shahnameh: The Persian Book of Kings by Elizabeth Laird
- Stories by Roland by H E Marshall
- The Aeneid: A Graphic Novel by Agrimbau Diego
- The Boy Who Could Fly by Ursula Dubosarsky
The Serpent’s Revenge by Sudha Murty
This is a collection of unusual tales from the Mahabharata. The epic may seem daunting for kids considering the number of characters and complexity of plot as well as themes of violence, gore and power. But Murty picks and chooses stories from it that are enlightening, interesting and appropriate for children, as well as quirky and unheard of.
Lights for the Blue Prince by Soumya Ayer
Iyer’s story is a children’s retelling of the Ramayana. She recounts the story of the great king wronged by his stepmother and sent into exile. Here, she talks about the escapades of Ram in rescuing his abducted wife from the clutches of the demon-king Raavan. His return is the celebration of true kinghood, now called Diwali.
The Odyssey by Gareth Hinds
Homer’s Odyssey is the story of the return of a Greek hero from the Trojan war to his home in Ithaka. Encountering fantastical creatures like Cyclops, Odysseus recounts his past adventures. This retelling includes all the fun elements of the story, such as the fantastical creatures, and also makes Odysseus an endearing character.
Stories from the Iliad by Jeanie Lang
This is an illustrated retelling of the Greek classic Iliad, following which recounts the terrors, victories and escapades of the great Trojan war. On a magnanimous scale involving humans, gods and heroes alike, this epic traces a very important event in history. In this version, Lang tells the story, stripping it of gore for children and making it all the more accessible.
The Story of Beowulf by Henrietta Elizabeth Marshall
This Scandinavian epic brings to life the life and adventures of Beowulf for kids. This is not just Britain’s national novel and the book that birthed English literature, but is also a wonderful story in its own right. The heroic escapades of Beowulf will engross children while teaching them about Nordic history, mythology and culture.
Gilgamesh the Hero by Geraldine McCaughrean
The oldest Mesopotamian epic comes alive in this lively retelling, with special focus on the themes of bravery, royalty and friendship. The protagonist, Gilgamesh and his best friend, Enkidu travel the world, performing heroic acts. But lurking in the dark is one enemy who can defeat them. Now, the duo sets forth on a quest to vanquish him.
Shahnameh: The Persian Book of Kings by Elizabeth Laird
This book is a compilation and compendium of myths and stories from Ancient Percia, made accessible to children through beautiful illustrations. Spearheading the book is the Iranian epic Shahnameh about a great king Rustom who mistakenly kills his own son Sohrab. This is a fantastical account of Persia’s rich heritage, and a very lively and colourful book.
Stories by Roland by H E Marshall
One of the oldest French classics, ‘Song of Roland’ is a book that every child needs to read. This heroic account of Charlemagne and his heroic army, led by the valiant Roland. Together, they fight off Muslims in Spain, displaying heroism and chivalry. The best part about this children’s edition is that it contains original illustrations, and simple narration.
The Aeneid: A Graphic Novel by Agrimbau Diego
This illustrated book retells the Greek classic story of the Trojan hero, Aeneid. He leaves his city post its fall and founds the city of Rome. The illustrations are lifelike and engaging. Plus, the style of the story is simple enough to understand but complex enough for children to want to keep on reading.
The Boy Who Could Fly by Ursula Dubosarsky
This book invites young readers into the world of Ovid’s Metamorphosis through this illustrated retelling of Icarus’s story. Ursula writes the book conversationally, but also includes the dramatic flavour of the original. This impeccable balance serves to increase comprehensibility but also acquaint the children with classical literature.