I have long been an admirer of Rick Riordan. After reading an ARC of The Lightning Thief and learning that the author was a middle school teacher, I checked him out and came across his comprehensive teacher’s guide for the book. (You can find it on this page.) Having also taught this content I was so impressed with his material — the lessons and more showed a sure understanding of the students he taught. And so I wrote him a letter expressing my admiration and appreciation and he wrote back. Sadly I have no idea what happened to that hand-written letter and the accompanying over-sized orange Camp Half-Blood t-shirt. I went on to read the following books, enjoying some more than others, but continuing to admire his ethos, the way his goodness came through in his writing. I was so glad when the 2017 Stonewall Committee gave Magnus Chase 2: The Hammer of Thor an award for Alex Fierro, a beautifully rendered genderfluid character. You can read Rick’s acceptance speech here. Another celebratory post of mine on the man is here.
I’m here today to comment on the new Rick Riordan Presents. It is described thus:
Rick Riordan Presents is one small branch of the Disney-Hyperion Publishing family. We aim to publish about four books a year. All these will be books that my editor Stephanie Lurie and I feel will appeal to kids who like my books. In other words, they will probably be some type of middle grade fantasy, with lots of humor and action, and probably draw on myth or folklore in some way.
I’ve read the first few books, some of which are out and some almost out, and can say that they will be enjoyed by fans of Rick’s books. Each is very much its own, but still offers the great adventure, teen characters, snark, and more that make his books so popular.
The Storm Runner by J. C. Cervantes features Mayan mythology, complicated and scary, and including a road trip.
Then there is Yoon Ha Lee’s forthcoming Dragon Pearl. I loved it! Probably my favorite thus far of the books in this imprint. A fast, funny, and furious space opera that involves terraforming, transforming foxes, and a smart and snarky main character — Min — it was a terrific read. At times made me think of Star Trek in the best way. Highly recommend this one!
Finally, I just finished the ARC for Sal and Gabi Break the Universe by Carlos Hernandez also sci-fi, this time playing with time, space, physics and more. Sal’s another snarky narrator, but such a good guy. Gabi is a delight in her own way. In this one, I especially enjoyed the cultural bits — lots of Cuban food, love, music, and laughter from some very blended and unconventional families.
Bravo Rick and company — can’t wait to see what else you bring to us in this worthy imprint.