Joan Holub


Joan Holub: Award-Winning Author’s Impact on Children’s Literature

Joan Holub is a prominent figure in the world of children’s literature, esteemed for her dual contributions as both an author and illustrator. With a prolific output of over 180 books, her work is a cornerstone in many young readers’ experiences. Notably, she has found success in a range of genres from picture books to middle-grade series, demonstrating a versatility that appeals to a broad audience. Her talent in bringing stories to life is complemented by her skills as an illustrator, often merging words and visuals in an engaging and accessible manner.

Her distinguished body of work includes the acclaimed “Goddess Girls” series, co-written with Suzanne Williams, which offers a playful and educational twist on Greek mythology, along with the “Heroes in Training” series. Both collections have been celebrated for encouraging an interest in classical stories reimagined for a young audience. These series, along with titles such as “This Little Trailblazer: A Girl Power Primer” and “Zero the Hero,” showcase Holub’s commitment to creating content that is not only entertaining but also inspiring and educational.

Holub maintains an interactive connection with her readers through her website and social media platforms, which feature updates on her latest projects and insights into her creative process. Her online presence is an extension of her dedication to her craft and her readership, providing an inviting space for engagement with her work. Visitors to her website can discover a portfolio rich with a variety of offerings that solidify Joan Holub’s status as a beloved and respected name in children’s literature.

Books and Series

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Joan Holub is a prolific children’s book author with series published by esteemed houses such as Penguin Random House, Simon and Schuster, and Scholastic. Her work often features figures from mythology and is recognized for both its educational and entertainment value.

Goddess Girls Series

The Goddess Girls series, co-authored with Suzanne Williams and published by Simon and Schuster’s Aladdin imprint, reimagines classic Greek goddesses as modern-day youth navigating life at Mount Olympus Academy. Athena the Brain, the first book in the series, introduces Athena, daughter of Principal Zeus, showcasing her struggles and strengths. Notable titles include:

  • Aphrodite the Beauty
  • Persephone the Phony
  • Artemis the Brave
  • Athena the Wise
  • Aphrodite the Diva
  • Medusa the Mean
  • Artemis the Loyal
  • Pandora the Curious

Characters such as Persephone, Aphrodite, and Artemis are given relatable storylines that intertwine with mythology, aiming to connect young readers to ancient tales.

Heroes In Training Series

The Heroes In Training series is similarly co-written with Suzanne Williams and presents young versions of Greek heroes on adventures that lead them to discover their true heroic selves. With characters like Zeus and Hestia, the books combine action, humor, and mythology. Titles in the series include:

  • Zeus and the Thunderbolt of Doom
  • Poseidon and the Sea of Fury
  • Hades and the Helm of Darkness

These stories are set in ancient Greece and cater to middle-grade readers, offering an engaging experience with mythology.

Stand-Alone Titles

Apart from her series, Holub has authored stand-alone titles that have gained critical acclaim. Little Red Writing, illustrated by Melissa Sweet, puts a unique twist on the classic fairy tale, featuring a brave pencil on her storytelling journey. Zero the Hero, also illustrated by Sweet, is a humorous tale that uses a superhero theme to teach children about the concept of the number zero. I am the Shark, with colorful illustrations, humorously explores the undersea world, and Runaway Signs injects whimsy into a story about signs that have had enough of telling people what to do. These titles showcase Holub’s range and ability to make learning playful and fun.


Joan Holub’s literary collaborations are testament to her dynamic range as an author, particularly her partnership with co-author Suzanne Williams and various illustrators that bring their shared stories to life.

With Suzanne Williams

Holub and Williams have co-authored the Goddess Girls series, a well-loved collection of books aimed at middle graders which brings classical Greek mythology to a contemporary setting. Key titles include Athena the Proud, Persephone the Daring, Pheme the Gossip, and Cassandra the Lucky. The series notably includes books like The Girl Games, which focuses on characters Medea and Iris, and Aphrodite the Fair, showcasing a unique educational twist to these classic tales. Their work collectively captures the adventures and friendships of young goddesses attending Mount Olympus Academy.

  • Notable titles co-authored with Suzanne Williams:
    • The Girl Games
    • Persephone the Daring
    • Athena the Proud
    • Pheme the Gossip
    • Cassandra the Lucky
    • Iris the Colorful
    • Aphrodite the Fair

With Other Illustrators

In her broader collaborations, Joan Holub works with various illustrators. For instance, James Dean partnered with Holub on this little engineer and this little trailblazer, part of a series aimed at introducing young readers to historic figures. Illustrators play a significant role in these projects, as their artwork brings Joan’s words to vivid life, accessible to her young audience. These collaborations often focus on important societal figures and concepts, making them relatable and understandable for children.

  • Collaborative works with illustrators:
    • this little engineer (Illustrator: James Dean)
    • this little trailblazer (Illustrator: James Dean)

By partnering with other creative professionals, Joan Holub has greatly contributed to children’s literature, offering stories that are both engaging and educational.

Educational Material

Joan Holub has made significant contributions to educational materials through her thoughtful children’s books, which often combine historical facts with engaging storytelling. She has authored and illustrated a wide range of books for young readers.

Biographical Works

Joan Holub has authored numerous biographical works intended for children, keenly focusing on historical figures and significant events. Her children’s book “Who Was Babe Ruth?” is a prime example of her ability to present biographical information in an accessible and compelling manner. This book, like many in her prolific body of work, provides young readers with a detailed look at the life and impact of the legendary baseball player Babe Ruth.

In her commitment to educational material, Holub’s range extends to books like “What Was the First Thanksgiving?”, where she offers a detailed account of historical events which allows children to learn about important milestones in American history. Her ability to create educational resources extends from historical biographies to fun, empowering, and imaginative stories such as “Mighty Dads” and “Tool School”, both of which playfully use themes of construction and tools to teach kids about collaboration, hard work, and creativity.

Other notable educational titles from Holub include “Bears Are Best!” which may serve as a tool for teaching children about different types of bears in a fun, interactive way and “I Love You a Latke”, which could be used to introduce young readers to cultural diversity and celebrations through a lighthearted story.

Joan Holub’s educational books are widely recognized for their ability to combine clear learning objectives with entertainment, thus providing a robust platform for children to learn and grow through reading.