Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers. ~Charles W. Eliot

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Who shares your spirit?

Per, the word of the day is "congenial". The definition is "having the same nature, disposition or tastes: kindred" or, alternatively, "existing together harmoniously: social or genial". Did you know that according to ancient Roman and Greek mythology, each person at birth was assigned a guardian spirit? The Latin name for this attendant spirit was "genius." Two people who get along well together can be thought of as sharing a similar spirit; they might even be described by a word combining the Latin prefix "com-" (meaning "with, together") and "genius." And, indeed, it was this "com-genius" combination that gave rise in the 17th century to the English word "congenial."I'm not sure how I feel about sharing my guardian spirit! I wonder if I'm sharing that spirit with one of my kids and, if so, whose side is it on when we fight? Let me rethink that - my kids, as you may recall, are teens and tweens. While there was a time that you could say "Two people who get along well together" could have referred to any one of the three of them and myself, these days there are often times when that is not the case. I think I might share a spirit with our dog!

It's hard to think of mythology in the children's book world without acknowledging the amazing role author Rick Riordan has played over the last several years in bringing Greek and now Egyptian mythology to middle graders through the Percy Jackson, The Heroes of Olympus and the Kane Chronicles series. I love the fact that every time Rick Riordan publishes a new book, our middle school daughters declare it to be the best book ever. These books have culture, history, action, adventure, romance - truly, something for everyone. As a mom, I am equally appreciative of the great storytelling and the introduction to Greek and Egyptian gods in an accessible way that helps kids develop an interest that they're able to pursue beyond these books.


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