I love this story!
As an only child whose favorite book, at seven, was D’Aulaire’s exquisitely illustrated book of Greek myths, I find the idea of a whole new generation of kids geeking out over Hephaestus and Zeus and Hera and Aphrodite so cool.
From The New York Times:
The oracle sat with her back to the hill, a breeze riffling the ruby scarves tied to her folding camp chair.
One by one, the 12 boys approached. They stood straight as the oracle lowered her sunglasses and looked them over. Sorting through a pile of paper slips with burnt edges, the oracle, a middle-aged woman, selected one for each child.
“I will prophesize your quest,” she told Tom Leier, 9, before reciting a mysterious poem that would guide him for the week ahead.
That morning, the boys had been regular Brooklyn elementary school students at a summer camp in Prospect Park. But now each had been revealed to be a half-blood, with one mortal parent and one who was a god of Greek myth.
Children have always sought to act out elements of their favorite books, becoming part of the worlds that the works create. Now, organized role-playing literary camps, like the weeklong Camp Half-Blood in Brooklyn, are sprouting up around the nation.
Even though I don’t have kids, or even nieces or nephews, I think this is great. One of the trends that makes me despair over kids’ lives today is their attachment, literally, to technology. They don’t play with one another face to face. They don’t play outside. They don’t need to use their imaginations because so many buzzing things will do it for them.
The myths I read over and over as a child are as powerful as anything I’ve read since. I often wonder how the Fates are doing with my life — the one who spins, the one who measures and the one who cuts the thread of our lives. I loved the stories of Persephone and the harvest, of Hercules and of the Minotaur. Even then, perhaps, I knew there was another layer to these ancient tales and characters, that their struggles and quests might echo in my life as well. As they have.
I later read (and loved even more) the Norse myths — Loki is a hoot!
Is there a myth or a god that resonated for you?
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