Monday, November 02, 2009

Thank You Mr. Riordan

My kids have gone mad. They've turned into glazed-eyed zombies. They've shut out the physical world and ventured into a realm in which shouts, prods, invitations to dine and threats of punishment cannot reach them. What's caused this?

Rick Riordan and his creation Percy Jackson. They're the culprits. Because of them my kids have spent the last three weeks inhaling tales of Greek gods run amuck in the modern world. It's been wild, and very cool to watch.

My kids have always had books read to them. Pretty much everyday of their lives, starting with picture books and then early chapter books, and then stuff like Harry and Eragon and Kay Meyer's series. They've listened to tons of audiobooks, and Maya (age 10) has been reading on her own for awhile now, starting with Lily Quench series, into the Mistmantle Chronicles and Varjak Paw (one of her favorites). But there's something about Riordan's Percy Jackson and the Olympians series that clicked for them in a different way.

Perhaps part of it is that Sage (age 8) is right there behind her, sharing the same series with her. Sage was somewhat more hesitant coming to reading. He still remembers and talks about when he feared he'd never be a very good reader. We're homeschooling them, but we make sure to check the school curriculum to see what they'd be doing in school. Looking at the books he'd be reading in school this fall was a bit depressing. They didn't look very... interesting, fun, challenging. They looked dead boring, really. I'm sure that's not the case in total, but it was the impression that we walked away from - and I think it's the impression Sage himself had.

Fast forward a few months, put a book in his hands that 1) he sees his sister enjoying and 2) is filled with action and adventure and 3) he makes the breakthrough. He reads! He doesn't even notice that the series is for 6th to 9th graders, while he's the equivalent of a 3rd grader! He just devours the rather large books like he's starving and they're just the food he's been dreaming about.

Which I guess they are, really.

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8 Comments:

Anonymous Josiah said...

Good for him, next stop: Tolkien.

Then George R.R. Martin right? lols

Maybe they have a couple years till then lol.

10:47 AM  
Blogger Janeite42 said...

Very cool. It's fun to see a kid click with certain books. I'll have to check out that series.

11:05 AM  
Blogger Ink said...

That's how old I was when the reading obsession hit. I'd been a little math wizard until I was seven or eight and my mother made me read The Hobbit. And then Lord of the Rings, The Prydain Chronicles, Watership Down, Duncton Wood... and so on.

I'll have to remember the Riordan books when my kids get a little older.

Thanks,
Bryan

2:20 PM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

Josiah,

Well, they've had a lot of exposure to Tolkein already. My wife read The Hobbit to them and they've seen Jackson's LOTR films many, many times. I imagine Sage will read LOTR soon, but I don't think it'll have the same complete effect as Riordan's books have this time. It's known territory already.

As for GRRM... let's give them a long while before that. They have met him, though, and he's a fan of theirs - since they helped created the Wild Cards character that I'm using for that series.

Janeite42, yeah, do check them out. What's probably striking to me is that this is the first time the kids have brought a series into the house completely on their own.

Ink, you all have me beat. I was a good few years behind them (and you) as a reader. I've tried to make up time since, though! ;)

7:54 AM  
Blogger Ink said...

(And I quite recommend Lloyd Alexander's Prydain Chronicles for smart 8 and up kids like yours. It's a great series. And a series that adults can still enjoy, too, as it's always held up well to rereading for me)

2:43 PM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

Ink,

Agreed. I loved it. So did my kids. They listened to the entire series. I think Maya might have read some of them on her own too.

2:58 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

My guilty secret - these were some of my favorite books I read this past year. And the fact that my 9 year old daughter and 12 year old son both loved them as well was great. We could all share it together.

Plus, I have a rule that my kids cannot see a movie until they have read the book, and the movie is coming out in February.

3:38 PM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

I think I'm going to try an audio version myself.

Brian,

I didn't know about the movie! Thanks for alerting me to that. I'll go look into it...

11:33 AM  

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