It’s Not Rick Riordan Tackling Other World Mythologies, It’s Better

Next year, Rick Riordan’s Disney imprint will feature three new books by three different authors, each dealing with the mythology and folklore of “underrepresented cultures and backgrounds.” He writes,

Basically, our goal is to publish great books by middle grade authors from underrepresented cultures and backgrounds, to let them tell their own stories inspired by the mythology and folklore of their own heritage. Over the years, I’ve gotten so many questions from my fans: “Will you ever write about Hindu mythology? What about Native American? What about Chinese?” I saw that there was a lot of interest in reading fantasy adventures based on different world mythologies, but I also knew I wasn’t the best person to write them. Much better, I thought, to use my experience and my platform at Disney to put the spotlight on other great writers who are actually from those cultures and know the mythologies better than I do. Let them tell their own stories, and I would do whatever I could to help those books find a wide audience.

Who are these authors, you ask? Publishers Weekly introduces them as Yoon Ha Lee (Korean), Jennifer Cervantes (Maya), and Roshani Chokshi (Indian).

Can’t wait!

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And Now, a Public Service Announcement from Rick Riordan

I really, really get it. Those movies were horrible. Even so, isn’t this a cool problem to have?

This was so good I’m reproducing it in full from Mr. Riordan’s blog:

Dear Teacher,

Hi! I am so grateful that you are teaching Greek mythology to your kids and maybe reading my books with them. I hope it goes well! If you want some lesson plan ideas I have a ton of free stuff on my website, mostly pulled from my own fifteen years as a middle school teacher.

Now a plea: Please, for the love of multiple intelligences, DON’T show those “Percy Jackson” movies (ironic quotes intentional) in your classroom for a compare-contrast lesson or, gods forbid, a “reward” at the end of your unit. No group of students deserves to be subjected to that sort of mind-numbing punishment. The movies’ educational value is exactly zero. A better use of classroom time would be . . . well, pretty much anything, including staring at the second hand of the clock for fifty minutes or having a locker clean-out day.

If you need a break and are using the movie so you can have time to grade papers, hey, I totally get that. I was a teacher for a long time! May I suggest Clash of the Titans, or the cheesy old 1960s version of Jason and the Argonauts, or heck, even the animated Hercules from Disney, as bad as it is. Those movies have plenty of things to compare and contrast with the actual Greek myths. But my heart breaks every time I hear that classroom time is being thrown away watching those vapid Percy Jackson adaptations.

Maybe the kids want to watch them on their own. Fine. Whatever. Personally, I would rather have my teeth pulled with no anesthesia, but to each his or her own. Spending class time time on those movies, though? I’ve justified a lot of things in my years as a teacher. Once I did a barbecue pit sacrifice of prayers to the Greek gods with my sixth graders. Once I taught the kids a traditional Zulu game by rolling watermelons down a hill and spearing them with broomsticks. We took fencing classes when we studied Shakespeare, reenacted the entire Epic of Gilgamesh, and, yes, we watched some pretty great movies from time to time. But I can think of zero justification for watching the adaptations of my books as part of a school curriculum. (And please, don’t call them my movies. They are in no way mine.)

Thanks for listening. I hope you have a great school year. I hope your kids get excited about reading. And I hope you’ll consider this author’s plea. The kids don’t need classroom time to learn that movies can be really, really bad. They’ll find that out on their own!

Yours truly,

Rick Riordan

Percy Jackson’s Greek Heroes

Apparently a companion piece to Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods will be arriving next summer. According to Rick Riordan,

During the Blood of Olympus tour, we announced Percy Jackson’s Greek Heroes, which will be published on Percy’s birthday, Aug. 18, 2015. This is very much like Greek Gods, except about (you guessed it) the Greek heroes like Hercules, Theseus, Atalanta, Perseus, Orpheus, and all the rest. Filled with Percy’s snark and sass. Illustrated with full-color art by John Rocco. So heavy you won’t be able to lift it. Yes, it will be awesome!

So, there you go.

Magnus Chase

Rick Riordan has announced the title of his Norse mythology series: Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard. Book titles will be forthcoming, but…

And yes, I know what you’re wondering. Chase . . . hmm, where have I heard that name before? Isn’t that Annabeth’s last name? Yes, it is. And no, that’s not simply a coincidence. Beyond that, I’m afraid I’ll have to leave you guessing.

I know an eighth-grader who dressed as Annabeth for “spirit week” on Monday who may soon be jumping up and down.

The Staff of Serapis

I know someone who’s going to be very excited to hear this news from Rick Riordan:

As a Valentine’s Day treat for my fans, I’m announcing a new short story, “The Staff of Serapis,” that will appear in the paperback of THE MARK OF ATHENA, publishing onApril 8. In this adventure, Annabeth encounters more oddities in the subway than usual, including a two-headed monster and a younger blond girl who reminds her a little of herself. . . .

Yes, folks, this is the story you’ve asked for, in which Annabeth Chase teams up with Sadie Kane. Dang, it was fun to write the dialogue between those two! This story is a follow-up to “The Son of Sobek,” in which Carter met Percy. Staff of Serapis is even longer, sixty pages, and I hope you like it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Here’s an excerpt to whet your appetite!