All About Adolescent Literacy

All about adolescent literacy. Resources for parents and educators of kids in grades 4-12.
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A video interview with

Rick Riordan

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Rick Riordan was born in San Antonio, Texas in 1964. His mom, dad, and grandparents were all teachers. Rick didn't like to read much until he discovered the Lord of the Rings trilogy and Greek and Norse mythology in middle school. In the eighth grade Rick submitted a fantasy story to a magazine but only received a rejection letter in return. At Alamo Heights High School he wrote and edited for the school newspaper.

During college Rick Riordan had long hair and played music in a folk rock band. But when his interest shifted from music to English and literature, he decided to become an English teacher. After graduating from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a double major in English and history, Riordan began teaching middle school. Riordan and his wife later moved to San Francisco, where he continued to teach and began writing mystery novels for adults on the side. Riordan's first book, Big Red Tequila, was published in 1997. It became the first book in a popular series won the top three awards in the adult mystery genre.

Naturally, Riordan's middle school students asked him why he wasn't writing books for kids their age. That opportunity presented itself one evening when Riordan's son asked him to make up a bedtime story. On a whim, Riordan told his son a story about the adventures of Percy Jackson, a boy who was half-human and half-god, living in modern-day America. When he finished, Riordan's son urged him to write the story down. That story became The Lightning Thief, the first of Riordan's best-selling Percy Jackson & the Olympians series. The series has become so popular that the fourth book, The Battle of the Labyrinth, began with a one million-copy print run. For its May 2008 release, kids lined up at bookstores around the country.

Today Rick Riordan and his family live in San Antonio, Texas. Even though he loved teaching, Riordan eventually left the classroom to focus on his books full-time.

Selected Books

from Rick Riordan

The Lightning Thief

Age Level: 9-12

Percy Jackson is a 21st century son of the ancient Greek god Poseidon on the biggest adventure of his young life — a quest to find out who stole Zeus's lightening bolt! Together with his trusted friends, Percy travels through the United States, battling monsters and hunting the elusive title character.

Buy The Lightning Thief

The Sea of Monsters

Age Level: 12-14

Percy continues his epic adventures, this time he's on the high seas and fighting to save Camp Half-Blood from monsters.

Buy The Sea of Monsters

The Titan's Curse

Age Level: 12-14

Kronos is at again and Olympus is threatened by an ancient monster. Percy and his friends must find the kidnapped Artemis — the only god who could hunt down the monster.

Buy The Titan's Curse

The Battle of the Labyrinth

Age Level: 12-14

Kronos's army is poised to invade Camp Half-Blood and demon cheerleaders turn up at freshman orientation — Percy has his hands full.

Buy The Battle of the Labyrinth

The 39 Clues: The Maze of Bones, Book 1

Age Level: 12-14

When Grace Cahill dies, her grandchildren, Amy and Dan, and seven other teams take up the challenge she left behind in her will: to search the globe for the 39 clues that will release the hidden power of the Cahills — a family filled with spies, scientists, artists and explorers — and make the winners the "richest, most important people in history."

Buy The 39 Clues: The Maze of Bones, Book 1