Monday, June 5, 2017

Reading the classics, reimagined

Born June 5, 1964, Rick Riordan has made his mark on the young adult literary scene and helped bring classical mythology to a new generation.

It all started as a bedtime story.

What would spawn a multi-million dollar franchise, including books, movies, and graphic novels, first came to Rick Riordan as an idea to entertain his son. Now the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series has been translated into 42 languages and sold more than 30 million copies. With a background in teaching Greek mythology to middle schoolers, Riordan has brought the classic stories of monsters, gods, and heroes to a young, modern audience.

When Haley (his son) asked him to create a new Greek myth, Riordan spun a tale over the course of three nights about gods and their descendants living in modern times. Originally inspired by his son who was diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia, Riordan wrote the titular character as ADHD/dyslexic to recognize children with similar conditions and to remind them that being different is not bad.

The wild popularity of his books caught Riordan off guard. While word-of-mouth recommendations helped grow the series’ recognition, Riordan credits librarians with helping to spread the news of a series based in Greek mythology. “I owe a special debt to the librarians of Texas, who embraced the books early on and did a huge amount of book-talking with their kids. Without them, I doubt the momentum would've built nearly as much or as quickly.” (Rick

The Lightening Thief book cover shows Percy Jackson fighting at the seaside. Riordan has since branched out and written other series of books based on Norse and Egyptian mythology, Magnus Chase and the Kane Chronicles, respectively.

Start your summer reading with The Lightning Thief, book one in the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series.

-Ariel Slick

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