It’s that time of year again, when it behooves all generous adults to give gifts to the young people in their lives. As an avid reader, books were always my favorite presents. Now that I’m an adult and a fully-fledged classical scholar, I enjoy sharing my love of the past through interesting and innovative books about and inspired by the ancient world.
Do you know any kids? Do they like books? Do you want to lure them down the path of Classical Studies before paleontology fever sets in? The good news is that there’s a new resource in development to help you do just that. I’m please to introduce Calliope’s Library: Books for Young Readers.
Figure 1: Bone Gap, by Laura Ruby. Krishni Burns writes, “I appreciate a modern-day Persephone who sets the curtains on fire to get the fire department’s attention, because trapped isn’t the same as helpless.”
“Think of the Children! The Reception of the Ancient World in Children’s Media” was the Women’s Classical Caucus panel at the most recent AIA/SCS meeting. We (Melissa Funke and Victoria Austen, co-organizers) conceived of this panel as a far-reaching conversation about how children have historically engaged with ancient Greece and Rome and how they continue to do so today. In choosing the papers for this panel, we had two primary concerns in mind: to think about how various media use ancient Greek and Roman material for education and play alike, and to use girlhood as a lens to reconsider reception in those media. While more traditional forms of literature, such as storybooks and poetry, were featured as an important aspect of this conversation, the presenters also addressed these issues in primary textbooks, video games, and web comics.
Finishing my third trimester in the midst of a pandemic was not what I had planned for the last months of pregnancy. Since the Ides of March, we have sequestered ourselves in our house in Iowa City and cancelled any and all social gatherings––including the planned baby shower––as has almost everyone else across the globe. Although I lamented not being able to celebrate with family and friends in person, every day it seemed, small book-shaped cardboard boxes began to populate the front stoop. Their opening revealed that our academic friends had sent us their favorite books in hopes that reading to our little one might bring comfort, amusement, and maybe a little sleep into our lives.