Dear Rick Roden,
These books are awesome. As a teacher, sometimes I come across boring children's lit with sad plots and unlikeable characters. Then I find smart books with good characters and a plot I can enjoy. The Percy Jackson books are smart, enjoyable, with great characters and teach Greek Mythology in a way that you don't realize you are learning. I couldn't ask for more.
I had this student when I taught 6th grade, will call her H. H was the kind of student you only get once in a career. She was sweet, smart, kind, bright and soaked up her education like a sponge. She was genuinely interested in writing and went at it with an enthusiasm and zest that made you excited as a teacher. I had many good students, some great students but only two as gifted as she. One day she confessed to me that when she was in trouble, her parents took away her books. I had noticed that like many of the other girls she was carrying Breaking Dawn with her where ever she went. This was not something unusual but the fact that she was carrying it with her for a few months was. She read quickly and it was unlike her to linger over a book. When I asked how she liked the book, she told me, "I love it. This is my seventh time reading it." Now, as an educator I am thrilled to hear a love of reading, but isn't there only so much Bella and Edward love making one can take? I told her that was great, but why didn't she read something else before her eight turn. She asked for a suggestion and a few other of my students had raved about Lightning Thief. When I told her that, she asked if I had read it because she wanted someone to talk to about it, so I told her I would read it too. At first I expected it to be just another teen lit but then I couldn't put it down. It was fast paced with a complex story and had me guessing which mythological creature would be next. I finished the first story before H did and we raved about it when she finished. She was off to the library for the next and I was off to target to "add to my classroom library" of course. Eventually we both finished the series and got another student enchanted with it as well. It was a fun mini book club that overall helped each girl with their writing as well. Fantasy always spices up writing, in my opinion.
I feel this series is on par with the Harry Potter series but I don't think it gets enough respect. I saw the movie and was pleasantly surprised. From the trailers, I didn't think it would do the book justice, but on the contrary it was smart and funny and followed a good chunk of the story. I don't know what happened then. Was it bad advertising or a missed age group? When I moved to fourth grade, I read the first few chapters out loud. The students enjoyed it a lot and a few even went to get the book from the library themselves. I'm not sure why it hasn't the fan base of the boy wizard. I hope that eventually as the new Lost Heroes series grows so will it's fan base and the interest of others. There are so many qualities that kids can relate to and adults who remember what it was like to be in that awkward middle school age.
After I read this story, I wish I could have gone with Percy, Annabeth and Grover on their adventures. To me that is a great fiction story and one that I will continue to pass on to my students. And when the next Lost Hero book comes out in October, I know I will just have to make a run to Target to add to my classroom library.
Percy Jackson and the Olympians Paperback Boxed Set (Books 1-3)
The Heroes of Olympus, Book One: The Lost Hero