Hero’s Journey Children’s Book Project

Download printable directions as a PDF here. 

Project Overview

The Hero’s Journey Archetype has appeared all over the world for thousands of years. From The Odyssey to Star Wars to Finding Nemo, it is a pattern that has consistently mesmerized audiences of all ages, interests, and backgrounds. For the grand finale of our unit on The Odyssey, you will write and illustrate a children’s book that follows the Hero’s Journey Archetype.

Project Objectives

  • Apply the Hero’s Journey Archetype to your own writing by writing and illustrating a modern hero’s journey narrative.
  • Apply various literary devices to your own writing in order to enhance engagement and clearly and creatively express ideas.
  • Reflect on your learning experience by pulling textual evidence from your final product to support claims about your mastery of the learning goals.

Common Core Standards

RL.9-10.1: Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.

RL.9-10.2: Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.

W.9-10.3: Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.

W.9-10.3.B: Use narrative techniques such as dialogue, pacing, description, reflection, and multiple plot lines, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters.

W.9-10.3.C: Use precise words and phrases, telling details, and sensory language to convey a vivid picture of the experiences, events, setting, and/or characters.

W.9-10.3.E: Provide a conclusion that follows from and reflects on what is experienced, observed, or resolved over the course of the narrative.

W.9-10.4: Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

L.9-10.1: Demonstrate command of the conventions of Standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

L.9-10.2: Demonstrate command of the conventions of Standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

L.9-10.5: Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.

Project Requirements

Your narrative must have the following characteristics:

  • It must be appropriate for children of all ages. 9-10.4
  • It must follow the Hero’s Journey Archetype (numbers in parentheses are suggestions for the amount of pages dedicated to each step) 9-10.3:
    • Ordinary World (1)
    • Call to Adventure (1)
    • Refusal of the Call (1)
    • Meeting with the Mentor (1)
    • Crossing the First Threshold (1-2)
    • Tests, Allies, Enemies (3)
    • Approach (3 – mixed in with tests)
    • Ordeal (1-2)
    • Reward (1)
    • The Road Back (1)
    • Resurrection Hero (1-2)
    • Return with Elixir (1)
  • It must have characters who fill at least six of the nine of the character roles found in the Archetype (* indicates a required role) 9-10.3:
    • Hero*
    • Sidekick*
    • Maiden
    • Wise Old Man*
    • Villain*
    • Shape-Shifter
    • Trickster/Comic
    • Eternal Child
    • Adult-Like Child
  • It must have at least three/five of the literary devices often found in children’s books 9-10.5:
    • Hyperbole
    • Alliteration
    • Repetition
    • Refrains
    • Onomatopoeia
    • Simile
    • Oxymoron
    • Personification
    • Rhyme
    • Imagery
  • It must have at least two/three of the literary devices often found in heroic narratives 9-10.5:
    • Suspense
    • Foreshadowing
    • Symbolism
    • Biblical or Mythical Allusions
    • Metaphor
    • Irony
  • Every page must be illustrated. Illustrations can be hand drawn images, digital images, collages, pop-ups, or interactive.9-10.4
  • It must have a front and back cover:
    • The front cover must include the title, author, and an illustration9-10.4
    • The back cover must include a synopsis of the plot9-10.2 and a short About the Author sectionW.9-10.4
  • It must include a letter to the reader explaining:
    • How the story fits the hero’s journey archetype9-10.1-2
    • The theme of the story (complete with textual evidence) 9-10.1-2
    • An explanation of which five/eight literary devices you used and why 9-10.5
  • It must be free of all spelling and grammatical errors9-10.1-2

Project Presentation and Due Dates

  • Periods 2 and 6: November 9th and 10th
  • Periods 1, 3, 4, and 5: November 18th – 19th


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