Readers are introduced to Percy in the first book of the Olympians series, The Lightning Thief. Twelve-year-old Percy has been kicked out of every school he’s ever attended. He struggles with his work because of his dyslexia, and his ADHD makes it tough to focus. His dad isn’t around either; Percy has never met him. Things begin to get strange when one of Percy’s teachers turns into a Fury and attacks him on a class field trip. Percy learns that he is a half-blood: that is, half-human and half-god. His absentee father is actually Poseidon, god of the sea. His dyslexia? A result of the fact that he’s wired to read ancient Greek, not English. And his ADHD? An important hyper-awareness he’s developed to help him stay alive on the battlefield, of course. Monsters are fond of going after the half-children of gods and goddesses, so it’s best to be on one’s toes. It seems that although Percy wasn’t suited to sit in a classroom, he’s got a lot of qualities that make him outstanding in other arenas. Just as Percy is coming to terms with his identity at Camp Half-Blood, he’s sent on a quest to recover Zeus’s stolen lightning bolt with sidekicks Annabeth, daughter of Athena, and Grover, a satyr.
Percy and his pals grapple with the likes of Medusa and Hades, meet centaurs, consult with an oracle, swallow ambrosia and nectar when they’re injured, and duel Ares, and that’s just in the first book of this five-part series! The Lightning Thief and Sea of Monsters, its sequel, have been released as movies as well.
Once he’d completed the Percy Jackson series, Riordan began work on a second series, The Heroes of Olympus, which turns its focus to Roman mythology. The House of Hades, which he will discuss at Symphony Space on October 9th, is the fourth installment in the series.
A trip to see Rick Riordan speak will make for one enjoyable evening. But hooking kids on his dynamic, exciting books will provide them with enriching entertainment for months to come.