A FEW OTHER EVENTS FOR
- Itâ€™s the birth date of Robert Kraus (1925-2001) Leo the Late Bloomer, Whose Mouse Are You? .
- Happy birthday, New Hampshire, which became the 9th state in the Union in 1788. Read The Trouble with Jeremy Chance by George Harrar and Lucyâ€™s Summer by Donald Hall, illustrated by Michael McCurdy.
- On this day in 2000, NASA reports evidence of possible ancient water on Mars. Read Mars Needs Moms! by Berkeley Breathed.
- Itâ€™s Go Skateboarding Day. Read Skateboard Tough by Matt Christopher.
- Itâ€™s also World Handshake Day. Read Sterkarm Handshake by Susan Price and Hands: Growing Up to be an Artist by Lois Ehlert.
Around this time of year we celebrate the longest day of the year, the summer solstice. This date looms large for the hero of our featured book, a kid who just canâ€™t get a break. Heâ€™s never seen his father and lives with an odious and repellent stepfather when not away at boarding school for disturbed kids. Heâ€™s ADHD, hyperactive, always in trouble, and to make matters worse, he gets kicked out of school, again. Even those who like him say â€śyou are not normal.â€ť And weird things happen to him; on a field trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, one of his teachers turns into a monster. Before she can kill him, he slays her with a ballpoint pen that miraculously turns into a sword.
Welcome to the world of Percy Jackson. In The Lightning Thief, the first volume of a series of gripping books, he discovers that he is a demi-god, the offspring of a mortal and a Greek god. His only safe haven turns out to be Camp Half Blood, where other demi-gods, kids his age, learn survival skills. To avoid a war among the Greek gods, Percy, son of Poseidon, must locate Zeusâ€™s stolen thunderbolt and deliver it to the annual family get together on the solstice. An inventive plot, engaging characters, non-stop action, and an unpredictable ending have helped make the stories of Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan some of the most beloved reading for ten- to fourteen-year-olds in the last few years. Riordan was just voted author of the year in the Childrenâ€™s Choice Book Awards administered by the Childrenâ€™s Book Council. And as young readers devour Percyâ€™s saga, they also learn a lot about Greek Mythology.
Much like Harry Potterâ€™s Hogwarts, Camp Half Blood sounds like so much fun that everyone wants to attend. Since 2006 the good folk at BookPeople, an amazing independent bookstore in Austin, Texas, where Rick Riordan lives, have hosted several summer sessions of Camp Half Blood, a day camp where participants act out their roles as demi-gods. Not only do they study history, mythology, and literature, but also chariot racing, archery, and lava wall climbing as well. How I wish I could be there! But if you canâ€™t this summer, you can at least curl up with The Lightning Thief and its sequels — a perfect time for a Percy Jackson readathon.
Hereâ€™s a passage from The Lightning Thief:
A word about my mother, before you meet her.
Her name is Sally Jackson and sheâ€™s the best person in the world, which just proves my theory that the best people have the rottenest luck. Her own parents died in a plane crash when she was five, and she was raised by an uncle who didnâ€™t care much about her. She wanted to be a novelist, so she spent high school working to save enough money for a college with a good creative-writing program. Then her uncle got cancer, and she had to quit school her senior year to take care of him. After he died, she was left with no money, no family, and no diploma.
The only good break she ever got was meeting my dad.
Originally posted June 21, 2011. Updated for .