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Joan Holub , Craig Phillips , Suzanne Williams

Heroes in Training (Series, Book 3): Hades and the Helm of Darkness

YEAR: 2013

COUNTRY: United States of America

Cateogry icon

Title of the work

Heroes in Training (Series, Book 3): Hades and the Helm of Darkness

Country of the First Edition

Country/countries of popularity

Worldwide

Original Language

English

First Edition Date

2013

First Edition Details

Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams, Heroes in Training: Hades and the Helm of Darkness. Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division. New York: Aladdin Press, 2013, 128 pp.

ISBN

9781442452671 (paperback)

Genre

Action and adventure fiction
Alternative histories (Fiction)
Bildungsromans (Coming-of-age fiction)
Humor
Illustrated works
Mythological fiction
Novels

Target Audience

Children (Older children, 8-14 yrs)

Cover

Missing cover

We are still trying to obtain permission for posting the original cover.


Author of the Entry:

Ayelet Peer, Bar Ilan University, ayelet.peer@gmail.com 

Peer-reviewer of the Entry:

Lisa Maurice, Bar-Ilan University, lisa.maurice@biu.ac.il

Daniel Nkemleke, University of Yaoundé 1, nkemlekedan@yahoo.com

Photo courtesy of Joan Holub.

Joan Holub , b. 1956
(Author)

Joan Holub is a prolific children's author from the USA. Graduated from college in Texas with a fine arts degree. Worked as an art director at Scholastic trade books in New York. She has written and/or illustrated over 150 children's books. She has developed a range of series for teenagers on mythological themes: Goddess Girls, set in Mount Olympus Academy, Grimmtastic Tales series, set in Grimm Academy, Thunder Girls, about Norse gods set in Asgard Academy, and Heroes in Training, in which the male Greek gods, as very young men, set out on a range of adventures. For pre-school children, Jan Holub has written on a range of topics including several works with religious and historical themes. These include: This Little President; This Little Trailblazer, Hooray for St. Patrick’s Day!, and Light the Candles: A Hanukkah Lift-the-Flap Book. Joan Holub trained in fine art and worked as an art director at a graphic design company before becoming a children's illustrator and then author.

 

Sources:

Official website (accessed: July 2, 2018).

Profile at the penguinrandomhouse.com (accessed: July 2, 2018).

Profile at the simonandschuster.com (accessed: July 2, 2018).


Bio prepared by Sonya Nevin, University of Roehampton, sonya.nevin@roehampton.ac.uk, and Allison Rosenblum, Bar Ilan University, allie.rose89@gmail.com, and Ayelet Peer, Bar Ilan University,  ayelet.peer@gmail.com

Questionnaire

1. What drew you to writing/working with Classical Antiquity and what challenges did you face in selecting, representing, or adapting particular myths or stories?

I learned to love Greek and Norse mythology in elementary school. I’m very comfortable adapting the framework of an existing myth or fairy tale by pushing it into a different setting, adding humor, and/or building in a nonfiction component. Staying true to the essential core of each myth along the way is important to me. A young Goddess Girls reader once told me she enjoyed the series because she “learned something”. In other words, while she liked being entertained, she appreciated that her familiarity and factual understanding of the original myths was broadened at the same time. 


2. Why do you think classical / ancient myths, history, and literature continue to resonate with young audiences?

Kids have questions about their world. So it’s interesting to them to learn how ancient Greeks and other cultures answered questions about how their world worked in exciting tales of heroes and beasts. How did the sun cross the sky? In a chariot drawn by the god Helios. What caused night? The goddess Nyx’s starry cape covered the sky. Thrilling stories of courage and danger, such as Heracles’ twelve labors, the Trojan Horse, and the Argonauts never go out of style. 


3. Do you have a background in classical education (Latin or Greek at school or classes at the University?) What sources are you using? Scholarly work? Wikipedia? Are there any books that made an impact on you in this respect?

I have an entire shelf of mythology resource books. Some of my favorite go-to sources are the Scholastic Mythlopedia series, Edith Hamilton’s Mythology, Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes, and www.theoi.com (accessed: May 28, 2018).


4. How concerned were you with "accuracy" or "fidelity" to the original? (another way of saying that might be—that I think writers are often more "faithful" to originals in adapting its spirit rather than being tied down at the level of detail—is this something you thought about?)

Each book in the Goddess Girls series (ages 8-12, Simon and Schuster) and Heroes in Training series (ages 7-10, Simon and Schuster) is a retelling of one or two Greek myths, with a twist. We stay as true as possible to the core bones of an original myth in order to give young readers a good understanding, but we include kid situations and humor to entertain. As an example, in Goddess Girls #1: Athena the Brain, Athena is summoned to attend Mount Olympus Academy, where Zeus is the principal. MOA teachers include Mr. Cyclops, who teaches Hero-ology, a class where students are graded on their abilities to maneuver small hero figures such as Odysseus, around a gameboard to enact the Trojan War, etc. Meanwhile, Athena, who is the goddess of invention among other things, inadvertently turns mean-girl Medusa’s hair to snakes and gives her the power to turn mortals to stone by means of a shampoo-like invention called Snakeypoo at the MOA invention fair.


5. Are you planning any further forays into classical material? 

Suzanne Williams and I have written a new middle grade series called Thunder Girls (accessed: May 28, 2018), which is a twist on Norse mythology featuring strong girl characters. The first book Freya and the Magic Jewel releases May 2018 for ages 8-12, published by Simon and Schuster. 


Prepared by Allison Rosenblum, Bar Ilan University, allie.rose89@gmail.com, and Ayelet Peer, Bar Ilan University,  ayelet.peer@gmail.com


Male portrait

Craig Phillips (Illustrator)

Phillips is an Australian award winning illustrator who works with various publishers, including Random House, Simon & Schuster, Penguin, Scholastic, Bloomsbury, Egmont, Hardie Grant, and many more. As a child he was inspired by mythology and cartoons, and fantasy novels such as the Hobbit and Conan the Barbarian. He is still fascinated by the cartoons, comics, novels and stories that he enjoyed as a child and tries to capture that feeling in my work. His comics have been serialised in children’s literary magazines and will be collected and published in one large volume 2016 by Allen Unwin. He lives in New Zealand.


Official website (accessed: October 12, 2018).


Bio prepared by Ayelet Peer, Bar Ilan University, ayelet.peer@gmail.com 


Curtesy of the Author form her personal website.

Suzanne Williams , b. 1953
(Author)

Suzanne Williams is an American prolific children's author and former elementary school librarian. She has written over 60 books for children.

She grew up in Oregon and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a master’s in library science from the University of Oregon. She currently lives in Reno, Washington.


Source: 

Official website (accessed: May 29, 2018).

 

Bio prepared by Ayelet Peer, Bar Ilan University, ayelet.peer@gmail.com

Questionnaire

1. What drew you to writing/working with Classical Antiquity and what challenges did you face in selecting, representing, or adapting particular myths or stories?

Writing about Greek mythology was my co-author, Joan Holub’s idea. She's loved mythology since childhood. Her enthusiasm for the subject got me excited about it too. Goddess Girls (ages 8 – 12) was our very first collaboration. Soon there will be 26 books in that series. One of the challenges we’ve faced in writing our (soon to be four) myth-based series for young readers is how to handle the sexual and violent content of many of the myths. 

To downplay the violence, we often make it cartoonish and lighten it with humor. Since most of our gods and goddesses are pre-teens (as are our readers!), we deal with inappropriate sexual content by making changes that still allow us to keep to the spirit of the myth. For example: in introducing the Adonis myth, in which Aphrodite and Persephone fight over a beautiful youth they both desire, we decided to make Adonis a kitten, rather than a young man. 

Another challenge has involved familial relationships among the various gods and goddesses. In Goddess Girls, Zeus is an adult, the principal of Mount Olympus Academy, the school attended by our “goddessgirls” and “godboys”. In mythology he would likely have fathered a good portion of the student body! So we made a decision that only Athena would call him “Dad”. (Until Hebe popped forth from a lettuce in Book 21, that is.) We do acknowledge many other family relationships. For example: Apollo and Artemis as brother and sister. Medusa and her sisters Euryale and Stheno. Persephone and her mother, Demeter.

 

2. Why do you think classical / ancient myths, history, and literature continue to resonate with young audiences?

Myths have got all the elements that draw us to stories: action, conflict, drama, humor, etc. What’s not to like?


3. Do you have a background in classical education (Latin or Greek at school or classes at the University?) What sources are you using? Scholarly work? Wikipedia? Are there any books that made an impact on you in this respect?

Neither Joan nor I have a classical education. I did take an online Greek and Roman mythology class a few years ago, however. (Taught by Peter Struck, University of Pennsylvania.) Terrific class!

For our Greek mythology-based series, Edith Hamilton’s Mythology is the reference we rely on the most. My co-author and I do consult Wikipedia and other online resources, especially for lists of monsters and maps and general information about ancient Greece. References for Thunder Girls, our soon-to-be-published Norse mythology-based series include: The Norse Myths by Kevin Crossley-Holland, D’Aulaires’ Book of Norse Myths, Norse Mythology: A Guide to the Gods, Heroes, Rituals, and Beliefs by John Lindow, The Poetic Edda (translated and edited by Jackson Crawford), and The Prose Edda by Snorri Sturluson (Penguin Classics).


4. Are you planning any further forays into classical material?

In addition to Goddess Girls, my co-author and I have also collaborated on a second Greek mythology- based series called Heroes in Training (ages 6 – 9). It’s a humorous quest/adventure series with Zeus, Poseidon, Hades and other Olympians as ten-year-olds on the run from King Cronus and the Titans. Freya and the Magic Jewel, the first book in Thunder Girls, our Norse mythology-based series, publishes May 1, 2018. I travel to Norway frequently to visit my daughter, granddaughter, and Norwegian son-in-law, so I am very excited to be doing a Norse-myth series. Aladdin (Simon & Schuster) publishes all three of Joan’s and my mythology-based series. We will be doing a fourth myth-based series with them soon – for ages 5 – 8. Tentative title is Little Goddess Girls, and it will be another Greek myth-based series.


Prepared by Ayelet Peer, Bar Ilan University, ayelet.peer@gmail.com


Summary

This is the third book in the Heroes in Training series (see entry about Heroes in Training: Zeus and the Thunderbolt of Doom). The saved Olympians continue their journey following the Oracle’s directions. They now head to the underworld where they encounter the Titans Oceanus, Mnemosyne and the Furies. They are even almost captured by Thanatos. In the process they will discover who the real lord of the underworld is and Zeus gets another step close to understanding his own identity. Hades will discover his true calling and will finally realize why he loves the dark and unsavory smells; he will discover his own magical object as well, a special invisibility helm. Hades will also learn how to control his fears in order to tame Cerberus, the three-headed guardian of the underworld.

Analysis

The Olympians’ quest continues and in each installment each of the gods discovers his/her special abilities and another piece of the puzzle is found. In this installment the emphasis is on team work. In the first book in the series Zeus was alone, but now with each adventure the children must learn to get along. If they wish to defeat the Titans, they must stand united against them.

Zeus gradually becomes the leader by the force of his confidence, caring character and sense of responsibility. He is very different form the usual depictions of Zeus as a strong yet uncaring god. Zeus only finds out at the end of the book that he is an Olympian after believing he was a nobody all along. Yet this discovery does not change him, he just wishes to find his own path.

The aim of these quests is not just to retrieve a special magical object such as a trident or a helmet; they are intended to uncover the inner nature of each god/child, so that they learn their strengths and weaknesses. Furthermore the quests force the children o work together as a team and care for each other as a family. Thus they learn responsibility and how to be caring adults. There are no parents or guiding adults here. The only caring adult who gives the children any kind of direction is the Oracle; other than her, they are on their own and the adults even pose a danger to them (like Cronus and the Titans). This is a coming-of-age story to which children can relate because, although the powers are there to spice up the adventures, at the heart of the story are themes of friendship and self-discovery.


Yellow cloud
Leaf pattern
Leaf pattern

Title of the work

Heroes in Training (Series, Book 3): Hades and the Helm of Darkness

Country of the First Edition

Country/countries of popularity

Worldwide

Original Language

English

First Edition Date

2013

First Edition Details

Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams, Heroes in Training: Hades and the Helm of Darkness. Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division. New York: Aladdin Press, 2013, 128 pp.

ISBN

9781442452671 (paperback)

Genre

Action and adventure fiction
Alternative histories (Fiction)
Bildungsromans (Coming-of-age fiction)
Humor
Illustrated works
Mythological fiction
Novels

Target Audience

Children (Older children, 8-14 yrs)

Cover

Missing cover

We are still trying to obtain permission for posting the original cover.


Author of the Entry:

Ayelet Peer, Bar Ilan University, ayelet.peer@gmail.com 

Peer-reviewer of the Entry:

Lisa Maurice, Bar-Ilan University, lisa.maurice@biu.ac.il

Daniel Nkemleke, University of Yaoundé 1, nkemlekedan@yahoo.com

Photo courtesy of Joan Holub.

Joan Holub (Author)

Joan Holub is a prolific children's author from the USA. Graduated from college in Texas with a fine arts degree. Worked as an art director at Scholastic trade books in New York. She has written and/or illustrated over 150 children's books. She has developed a range of series for teenagers on mythological themes: Goddess Girls, set in Mount Olympus Academy, Grimmtastic Tales series, set in Grimm Academy, Thunder Girls, about Norse gods set in Asgard Academy, and Heroes in Training, in which the male Greek gods, as very young men, set out on a range of adventures. For pre-school children, Jan Holub has written on a range of topics including several works with religious and historical themes. These include: This Little President; This Little Trailblazer, Hooray for St. Patrick’s Day!, and Light the Candles: A Hanukkah Lift-the-Flap Book. Joan Holub trained in fine art and worked as an art director at a graphic design company before becoming a children's illustrator and then author.

 

Sources:

Official website (accessed: July 2, 2018).

Profile at the penguinrandomhouse.com (accessed: July 2, 2018).

Profile at the simonandschuster.com (accessed: July 2, 2018).


Bio prepared by Sonya Nevin, University of Roehampton, sonya.nevin@roehampton.ac.uk, and Allison Rosenblum, Bar Ilan University, allie.rose89@gmail.com, and Ayelet Peer, Bar Ilan University,  ayelet.peer@gmail.com


Male portrait

Craig Phillips (Illustrator)

Phillips is an Australian award winning illustrator who works with various publishers, including Random House, Simon & Schuster, Penguin, Scholastic, Bloomsbury, Egmont, Hardie Grant, and many more. As a child he was inspired by mythology and cartoons, and fantasy novels such as the Hobbit and Conan the Barbarian. He is still fascinated by the cartoons, comics, novels and stories that he enjoyed as a child and tries to capture that feeling in my work. His comics have been serialised in children’s literary magazines and will be collected and published in one large volume 2016 by Allen Unwin. He lives in New Zealand.


Official website (accessed: October 12, 2018).


Bio prepared by Ayelet Peer, Bar Ilan University, ayelet.peer@gmail.com 


Curtesy of the Author form her personal website.

Suzanne Williams (Author)

Suzanne Williams is an American prolific children's author and former elementary school librarian. She has written over 60 books for children.

She grew up in Oregon and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a master’s in library science from the University of Oregon. She currently lives in Reno, Washington.


Source: 

Official website (accessed: May 29, 2018).

 

Bio prepared by Ayelet Peer, Bar Ilan University, ayelet.peer@gmail.com


Summary

This is the third book in the Heroes in Training series (see entry about Heroes in Training: Zeus and the Thunderbolt of Doom). The saved Olympians continue their journey following the Oracle’s directions. They now head to the underworld where they encounter the Titans Oceanus, Mnemosyne and the Furies. They are even almost captured by Thanatos. In the process they will discover who the real lord of the underworld is and Zeus gets another step close to understanding his own identity. Hades will discover his true calling and will finally realize why he loves the dark and unsavory smells; he will discover his own magical object as well, a special invisibility helm. Hades will also learn how to control his fears in order to tame Cerberus, the three-headed guardian of the underworld.

Analysis

The Olympians’ quest continues and in each installment each of the gods discovers his/her special abilities and another piece of the puzzle is found. In this installment the emphasis is on team work. In the first book in the series Zeus was alone, but now with each adventure the children must learn to get along. If they wish to defeat the Titans, they must stand united against them.

Zeus gradually becomes the leader by the force of his confidence, caring character and sense of responsibility. He is very different form the usual depictions of Zeus as a strong yet uncaring god. Zeus only finds out at the end of the book that he is an Olympian after believing he was a nobody all along. Yet this discovery does not change him, he just wishes to find his own path.

The aim of these quests is not just to retrieve a special magical object such as a trident or a helmet; they are intended to uncover the inner nature of each god/child, so that they learn their strengths and weaknesses. Furthermore the quests force the children o work together as a team and care for each other as a family. Thus they learn responsibility and how to be caring adults. There are no parents or guiding adults here. The only caring adult who gives the children any kind of direction is the Oracle; other than her, they are on their own and the adults even pose a danger to them (like Cronus and the Titans). This is a coming-of-age story to which children can relate because, although the powers are there to spice up the adventures, at the heart of the story are themes of friendship and self-discovery.


Yellow cloud