The primary user group targeted by this collection will be children ages 7-12 years old who attend Elementary Schools A, B, C, and D, and Middle Schools E, F, and G within the Atlas School District, as well as those who attend Private Schools 1 and 2. This collection will be the primary source of mythology materials for homeschooled children in this age group.
There has been an increased interest in mythology by 7-12 year olds due to the popularity of the Lightening Thief series and other series books by author Rick Riordan. These books feature present-day children, descendents of Greek, Roman, or Egyptian gods/goddesses, who must learn to work with the gods/goddesses and battle mythological monsters to save the world.
In addition, this topic is especially interesting to boys in this age group. As Jen Robinson (2011) reports in her article “Boys and Summer Reading,” the results of studies by the U.S. Department of Education show that boys score lower than girls on reading at every age. Therefore, it is crucial for APL to develop collections that interest boys of this age group.
This collection will also serve a secondary group consisting of the parents and teachers of the above mentioned children. Greek, Roman, and Egyptian mythology is a topic covered by many teachers for this age group in social studies/social science classes. In many states, mythology is part of the required curriculum for specific courses. For example, the California State Board of Education includes Greek mythology in the curriculum standards for grade six history-social science content (1998, 21). Exposing children to mythology at this age will also provide a foundation for other topics in middle and high school, such as history, English, drama, art, etc.
- Encourage children to explore non-fiction materials by providing high quality print, non-print and electronic materials.
- Bridge the gap between fiction and non-fiction for children already interested in mythology-based narrative fiction.
- Provide supplemental support to core curriculum for homeschooling parents and children.
- Expand upon the mythology collections available to school children at their school library, not only providing books for recreational reading, but as additional sources for school assignments.
Rational for the Collection
The new collection will be funded by the Monsters to Heroes: Mythology for Kids Grant awarded by the American Library Association (ALA) and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The $2,000 grant stipulates that the funds be used to create a collection specifically designed to encourage children to explore Greek, Roman, and Egyptian mythology. The rationale behind applying for this grant was due to the increased demand for mythology books because of the recent popularity of Rick Riordan’s series books for kids. This interest has also led homeschooling parents to use mythology to supplement their core curriculum for history, art, drama, social studies/science, etc. Prior to this grant, the mythology collection for this age group was weak and outdated.
Additionally, APL has allocated funding for one children’s mythology database, which will complement and enhance the materials in this new collection. The database must meet the same criteria for inclusion as the rest of the collection materials (see Selection Criteria) and must be relevant to the collection, as well as the mission and goals of the library.