Multicultural Mythology Recommendations for YA Readers
Myths are often at the foundation of many cultures – they have formed stories, rituals, and events that are relevant today. They illustrate the need to preserve our traditions and histories. Throughout time, myths and folklore have been the cornerstone of many cultures and connected generations.
Young readers are drawn to mythology for the excitement, world building, and connection to culture. Often, the stories that are represented in mainstream novels only portray a small percentage of the cultures in our society.
This list of Multicultural Mythology Recommendations for YA Readers will excite readers even more; they will see themselves and their peers showcased and learn more about cultures that are often underrepresented.
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Prophecy (Book 1 of 3)
Author: Ellen Oh | Publisher: HarperTeen
In this exciting and riveting fantasy novel by author Ellen Oh, outcast Kira defies the odds by being the only female in the King’s army. She also is the Prince’s bodyguard, a dragon slayer, and the city of Hansong’s only hope as a demon invasion threatens their kingdom. Faced with an ambiguous prophecy, an evil shaman, and the Demon Lord, Kira and the Prince must try to survive while on the run.
Don't miss the next books in this series, Warrior and King.
You might also be interested in the book of short stories called, A Thousand Beginnings and Endings. Fifteen best selling authors reimagine the mythology and folklore of East and South Asia.
Zhara: Guardians of Dawn
Author: S. Jae-Jones | Publisher: Wednesday Books
"Sailor Moon meets Cinder in Guardians of Dawn: Zhara, the start of a new, richly imagined fantasy series from S. Jae-Jones, the New York Times bestselling author of Wintersong."
Lies We Sing to the Sea
Author: Sarah Underwood | Publisher: HarperTeen
"This dazzling sapphic fantasy inspired by Greek mythology will captivate fans of Circe and The Song of Achilles."
Wicked Fox (Book 1 of 2)
Author: Kat Cho | Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
"An addictive fantasy-romance set in modern-day Seoul."
The second book in this series, Vicious Spirits, is out now!
The Bright & the Pale (Book 1 of 2)
Author: Jessica Rubinkowski | Publisher: Quill Tree Books
"Debut author Jessica Rubinkowski delivers the thrilling first book in an epic Russian folklore–inspired fantasy duology filled with page-turning romance, tragedy, magic, and monsters. Perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo and Sara Raasch!"
Wrath and Mercy is out now!
A Thousand Steps into Night
Author: Traci Chee | Publisher: Clarion Books
A Thousand Steps into Night is a Japanese-influenced fantasy novel full of adventure, gods, monsters, curses, and complications for main character Miuko.
Miuko is an ordinary girl resigned to a safe life as an innkeepers daughter in a realm where gods, monsters, and humans all exist together. Just as she begins to realize her life, although safe, may be uneventful, Miuko is cursed and begins to change into a demon with a deadly touch. As she commences a quest to reverse the curse, she is dealt tricksters, demon hunters, a demon prince, and feral gods, that she must escape if she wants to return home to her normal life. But the more she changes, the more power and freedom she receives - is saving her soul worth reverting back to her ordinary life that she may have never belonged to fully in the first place?
A Snake Falls to Earth
Author: Darcie Little Badger | Publisher: Levine Querido
"A Snake Falls to Earth is a breathtaking work of Indigenous futurism. Darcie Little Badger draws on traditional Lipan Apache storytelling structure to weave another unforgettable tale of monsters, magic, and family. It is not to be missed."
Author: Aaron Paquette | Publisher: Kegedonce Press
From Cree and Métis author and artist Aaron Paquette comes a story of love, loss, growing up, and a “millenia old struggle for the future of life on earth.”
When Aisling, a young Cree woman, sets out with her Kokum (grandmother), Aunty, and two young men to rescue her runaway younger brother she faces more than she ever expected. Aisling begins to learn that the legends of her people just might be real and that she has budding powers inside of her as well.
Authors: Rivers Solomon with Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, and Jonathan Snipes | Publisher: Saga Press / Gallery Books
"Octavia E. Butler meets Marvel’s Black Panther in The Deep, a story rich with Afrofuturism, folklore, and the power of memory, inspired by the Hugo Award–nominated song “The Deep” from Daveed Diggs’s rap group Clipping."
The Chaos of Stars
Author: Kierstin White | Publisher: HarperTeen
"A captivating novel of first love, Egyptian mythology, and family, from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of And I Darken"
A Song of Wraiths and Ruin (Duology)
Author: Roseanne A. Brown | Publisher: Balzer + Bray
"The first in a gripping fantasy duology inspired by West African folklore in which a grieving crown princess and a desperate refugee find themselves on a collision course to murder each other despite their growing attraction—from debut author Roseanne A. Brown. This New York Times bestseller is perfect for fans of Tomi Adeyemi, Renée Ahdieh, and Sabaa Tahir."
Akata Witch (Book 1 or 3)
Author: Nnedi Okorafor | Publisher: Viking Children’s
"Affectionately dubbed "the Nigerian Harry Potter," Akata Witch weaves together a heart-pounding tale of magic, mystery, and finding one's place in the world. Perfect for fans of Children of Blood and Bone!"
Children of Blood and Bone (Book 1 of 3)
Author: Tomi Adeyemi | Publisher: Henry Holt Company
"With five starred reviews, Tomi Adeyemi’s West African-inspired fantasy debut, and instant #1 New York Times Bestseller, conjures a world of magic and danger, perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo and Sabaa Tahir."
The Tiger at Midnight (Book 1 of 3)
Author: Swati Teerdhala | Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Teerdhala draws inspiration from Hindu mythology and Indian history in this action-filled, romantic, and captivating book. The readers follow two characters – Esha, a secret rebel assassin dedicated to taking down General Hotha, and Kunal, the General’s nephew who was raised to do nothing but train and fight beside the King of Vardaan. When the two meet, they are forced to consider their own beliefs and make choices that they may not be able to come back from.
Wicked as you Wish
Author: Rin Chupeco | Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
"Gripping, fantastical, and delightfully funny, Wicked As You Wish is perfect for readers looking for:
young adult magic, mythology, and folklore
creative new takes on classic stories
fresh and dazzling world building"
This Woven Kingdom (Book 1 of 3)
Author: Tahereh Mafi | Publisher: HarperCollins
"New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly bestseller! Clashing empires, forbidden romance, and a long-forgotten queen destined to save her people—Tahereh Mafi’s first in an epic, romantic trilogy inspired by Persian mythology."
Author: Romina Garber| Publisher: Wednesday Books
Manu’s life has turned upside down: after fleeing from her father’s Argentinian crime-family, Manu and her mother settle in Miami, Florida. But that’s just the beginning of Manu’s story. After arriving in Miami, her surrogate grandmother is attacked and her mother is arrested by ICE. Now completely by herself, Manu begins to investigate her past with the only clue she possesses, an emblem with just one letter – “Z.” She discovers that Argentinian folklore may not be just folklore. Brujas and lobizóns may exist after all. Manu needs to find her place as not only her citizenship is labeled “illegal” but also her entire being.
The Wrath and the Dawn (Book 1 of 2)
Author: Renee Ahdieh | Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
“A riveting Game of Thrones meets Arabian Nights love story.” - US Weekly
The Candle and the Flame
Author: Nafiza Azad | Publisher: Scholastic
"Azad's sumptuous debut YA fantasy is set in a city along the Silk Road that is a refuge for those of all faiths, where a young woman is threatened by the war between two clans of powerful djinn."
Summer of the Mariposas
Author: Guadalupe Garcia McCall | Publisher: Tu Books
"Summer of the Mariposas is not just a magical Mexican American retelling of The Odyssey, it is a celebration of sisterhood and maternal love. Check out the Vamos a Leer Educator's Guide for Summer of the Mariposas created by the staff at the Latin American & Iberian Institute (LAII). "