The Odyssey is a very old work and it can therefore be extremely difficult for some kids to understand or even get through. It is the same with most classic literature. The story, however, is an important one that teens can learn from.
Homer's tale of overcoming obstacles and enduring is one that is taught in a lot of schools which makes it important for your kids to be able to understand it. The key to helping teens understand a harder work of literature, is helping them learn to enjoy it. By creating a bridge between The Odyssey, an old and difficult story, and The Sea of Monsters, a book that is extremely popular among teens and that is both easier to read and much more enjoyable, you open a door to deeper insights within both books.
The Sea of Monsters is The Odyssey re-told. Though there are bits and pieces of story line from other Greek myths, the basis of the plot is taken straight from Homer's story. Whether the classic or the Young Adult novel is read first depends on the teen. Whichever order they read it in, the easiest way to get them thinking is to have them looking for connections within both books. Where are the similarities? Where are the differences? For instance, the golden fleece in the Percy Jackson book is actually not a part of The Odyssey, but it is a part of another Greek Myth.
It is very rewarding for a young teen when they are able to make these connections on their own. They get excited about what they have discovered, without the help of a teacher or parent, and they want to find more. This is what making bridges is all about. You want your children to love learning and to hunger for those deeper meanings and connections in literature.
There will be several different classic bridges mentioned over this next month, but this is a good one to start with because teens love Percy Jackson and this love has awakened a curiosity about Greek Mythology. Teens want to know more about the history and the myth that fuels their favorite novel, so now is the time to hand them other literature that will not only give them what they want, but that will also strengthen their minds.