If you, like me, pored over Greek myths for fun, you are familiar with the tale of Theseus and his defeat of the Minotaur. It is a story that is told and retold across stories and artwork to uplift the heroism of Theseus and describe the cruelty of the Greek gods. Lifestyles of Gods and Monsters by Emily Roberson takes this familiar tale and shifts the focus to princess Ariadne and her role in Theseus’ heroic deed for a young adult audience.
Avatar: The Last Airbender was a show that was progressive like few others since. Set in a fantastical realm based on a variety of ancient Asian dynastic kingdoms and cultures, the show centers on the roles that power, compassion and love play in being a leader. The characters often disrupt gender binaries, and represent the experiences of people with disabilities, characters living with trauma, and the costs of revolution on ordinary citizens. Now, almost 20 years after the show’s finale aired, writer F.C. Lee and original showrunner Michael Dante DiMartino have co-created a YA novel, The Rise of Kyoshi, to tell the tale of Aang’s predecessor, Avatar Kyoshi of the Earth Kingdom.
Since the original conquests and subsequent waves of colonization, it has been a struggle for pre-Hispanic indigenous communities to keep their traditional stories alive; as elders pass on, oral stories can die with them. Most people outside of these communities will not hear of these stories outside of anthropology or world literature textbooks. Yet sharing these stories with others, while mixing in historical context and her own fantastical elements, is exactly what author Silvia Moreno-Garcia is doing in her latest novel, Gods of Jade and Shadow.
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