How to Use Medusa: The Myth of Monsters in Your School or Homeschool Class

Are you a 3-7th grade teacher or homeschooling parent who has Percy Jackson, Greek myth-loving kids? Of course, you are! Kids love the Greek myths and, in many schools, learning them is a part of the Common Core, which is not my favorite pedagogy, but there are ways to enliven the standards.

I wrote Medusa: The Myth of Monsters for two reasons: 1) To get more upper elementary and middle-grade students reading with a fast-paced adventure series. 2) To give girls especially, but also other marginalized readers, a chance to find their voices and central roles in the Greek myth universe. (Like my National Book Award Finalist, The Lost Year, Medusa is about who gets to tell the story.)

All six of my husband’s close relatives are—or were (miss you, Donna)—K-12 teachers. I was briefly one myself. I even taught The Odyssey, and The Iliad! So, I’m excited to share some fun classroom activities for Medusa. These activities teach active reading and analytical and creative writing skills. They also help students think about point of view, influence, storytelling, and perspective.

Activity One: Medusa Journaling
(Grades 5-7)

Before your students start the book, have them journal about who they think Medusa is. They can include words and pictures. If they don’t know, have them do some research (D’Aulaires Book of Greek Myths is my favorite source). Remind them that there are often different versions of the same myths and origin stories.

Then, as they read Medusa, have them answer one of the following:

Activity Two: Get Me Rewrite!
(Grades 4-7)

Explain to students that since ancient times, writers have reinvented older stories to reflect their own eras, identities, cultures, and values. Ask your students: What is Katherine Marsh updating through her Medusa story? [Answer: Women’s and girls’ roles, voices, and representation.]

Then have your students rewrite a myth:

Activity Three: Monster Me
(Grades 3-5)

With your students, create a bestiary of monsters from the Greek myths. In one column, write the monster’s name; in the next, its power. Like this:

Then, have students write a paragraph answering the questions: Which monster would you be and why? How would you use your superpower in your everyday lives? What clever uses can you come up with for your power?

Activity Four: God/Goddess Me
(Grades 3-5)

Alternatively, if you were a god or goddess, what traits and special powers would you like to have? Why those? How would you use them? What are some potential positives and negatives that might come with those traits and powers?

Added bonus- use artwork to portray your physical characteristics, traits, and powers.

On a final note, please email any stories or artwork that come out of these Medusa activities to and I will write your kiddos back! If you’re interested in a school visit, I’m also available through How Now Booking. The Myth of Monsters Book 2 will be out in 2025!

About the Author

Katherine Marsh is the author of Medusa: The Myth of Monsters, a Kirkus Most Anticipated Book of 2024 and Amazon Editors' Pick; The Lost Year, a National Book Award finalist and winner of the Jane Addams and Golden Kite Awards; Nowhere Boy, winner of the Middle East Book Award; The Night Tourist, winner of the Edgar Award for Best Juvenile Mystery; as well as other books for middle grade readers. A former journalist and managing editor of The New Republic, Katherine lives in Washington, DC, with her husband, two children, three cats, a rabbit, and an assortment of exotic pets.

About the Book

Praise for Medusa

"It’s a treat to encounter a fearless heroine in Katherine Marsh’s Medusa. Here is a novel that casts young people as agents of that change, while acknowledging the risks they face when adults, or a pack of patriarchal gods, lie in wait to silence those who speak truth to power. In this feminist retelling, girls take the lead while boys support and trust them."
  — The New York Times Book Review

"A unique and distinctly feminist fantasy series launch set in a contemporary world. Marsh evokes powerful analogies about how girls and women can be taught to fear the world and themselves via a take-charge, intelligent heroine and her compassionate first-person voice."
  — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"A fast-paced adventure offering a fresh, feminist take on popular themes."
  — Kirkus Reviews