My friend and fellow docent Conway Bracket teaches Latin and ancient Greek in Atlanta. This past
summer, she joined us at Little Shop of Stories in Decatur for our week-long Camp Half-Blood, based on the best-selling Percy Jackson series. She taught the kids ancient Greek because that's what they do at Camp Half-Blood. For the first time, she also taught Latin because Rick Riordan added a Roman element to his mythology action-adventure series.
In The Lost Hero, the Greek demigod kids learn that they have a competing camp of demigods whose parents were Roman gods. But wait, weren't the Roman gods just Romanized versions of the Greek gods? Yes, but they were also filtered through the unique Roman world-view of honor, duty, piousness, etc. Conway was able to keep their interest as she introduced them to both languages. The fact that she kept their attention during a summer (fun) camp shows you just how engaging she is. Check out her site at www.classicalprep.com.
I've also recently learned that one of my favorite authors, Caroline Lawrence, is creating two spin-offs from her popular Roman Mysteries series, one for younger readers and one for the young adult market. Yes!
The series for younger readers focuses on an eight year-old beggar boy in Ostia named Threptus. He was introduced in The Man from Pomegranate Street. The new series debuts in 2012. No word yet on when the YA series comes out but you can bet I'll be one of the first in line.
It's wonderful to see kids get so excited about the ancient past. It pains me that public schools in Georgia do not teach ancient history or Greek mythology at all (there's a smattering of ancient history here and there, but nothing substantial until high school).
These books demonstrate that the classical and ancient worlds continue to enthrall kids and teens. Many a kid has developed a lifelong passion for literature, history and/or art because of their early introduction to ancient history. Some of us just never outgrew it.