This story time will be epic!
A Fort Greene author and illustrator will teach kids all about ancient Greek gods — then show the youngsters how to draw them — at a mini-tour of Brooklyn bookstores. George O’Connor will launch the latest addition to his Olympians graphic novel series with readings and live drawing demonstrations at the Community Bookstore in Park Slope on Feb. 6, and Greenlight Bookstore in Fort Greene on Feb. 7.
In the series, O’Conner tells the stories of the gods in the Olympic pantheon through action-packed, kid-friendly comics. O’Connor, who often visits elementary schools and libraries to talk to kids about the series, said educators are much more accepting than they once were about including graphic novels in their curriculum.
“Comics are going through a real golden age right now,” said O’Connor, who lives in Fort Greene. “In the last 10 years or so, teachers and librarians have gotten behind the idea of comics.”
O’Connor’s new Olympians book, “Ares: Bringer of War,” is a tumultuous tale centered on Ares, the god of war, and is the seventh edition in the compendium. Ares is not the most benevolent of gods, but O’Connor said the illustrated adventure is still appropriate for his kid clientele, because Ares is depicted as a cautionary character, not a hero.
“Ares is not meant to be an admirable figure,” said O’Connor, adding that he was able to balance war portrayals without being overly graphic by showing some bloodshed but also relying on silhouette characters. “There is a lot of mayhem hinted.”
O’Connor said his favorite part of teaching youngsters about Greek mythology is opening them up to the intricacies of the characters — especially in his favorite book in the Olympians series, “Hera: The Goddess and her Glory.” Hera, the queen of the gods, is often portrayed negatively as the jealous wife of Zeus. But O’Connor said he used his book to show readers why she behaved like she did — namely that Zeus was a lousy spouse, who fathered a small army of children with dozens of mistresses.
“She has the worst husband who ever lived,” he said. “She is allowed to be jealous.”
O’Connor said he was just an elementary student when he first started learning about Greek mythology, and he hopes his stories open as many doors for the youngsters who read them as they did for him.
“I got introduced to a whole other world,” he said.
George O’Connor at the Community Bookstore [143 Seventh Ave. between Carroll Street and Garfield Place in Park Slope, (718) 783–3075, www.communitybookstore.net]. Feb. 6 at 4 pm. Free.
And at Greenlight Bookstore [696 Fulton St. between S. Elliot Place and S. Portland Avenue in Fort Greene, (718) 246-0200, www.greenlightbookstore.com]. Feb. 7 at 11 am. Free.