Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Calling All Fans of the Percy Jackson Series

Today the cover for the final book in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series was revealed. The book itself -- The Last Olympian, by Rick Riordan -- will be published on May 5th. The previous books in the series have seen the half-bloods preparing for battle against the Titans, led by a resurrected Kronos, whose army is stronger than ever. Now it's up to Percy Jackson and an army of young demigods to stop the evil lord. In this final book of the series, the long-awaited prophecy surrounding Percy's sixteenth birthday unfolds, and Percy faces a terrifying suspicion that he may be fighting against his own fate.

Although The Last Olympian will be the final book in this particular series, the author has promised a new series based out of Camp Half-Blood and involving some familiar faces, but they won't be the main characters. The four books leading up to this finale (The Lightning Thief, The Sea of Monsters, The Titan's Curse, and The Battle of the Labyrinth) have been wildly popular. Riordan is also the author of the story arc for the new multimedia series by Scholastic, The 39 Clues, and the writer of the first book in that series: The Maze of Bones.

When asked how he got the idea for the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, Riordan, a former middle-school teacher told this story: My son Haley was studying the Greek myths in second grade and asked me to tell him some bedtime stories about the gods and heroes. When I ran out of myths, I remembered a creative writing project I used to do with my sixth graders: I would let them create their own demigod hero, the son or daughter of any god they wanted, and have them describe a Greek-style quest for that hero. Making up my own demigod story on the spot led to the creation of the first Percy Jackson book.

Mr. Riordan gives this advice to young people who might want to be writers: First, get a mentor -- find a teacher you respect or write to an author or just ask for help. Second, read a lot -- everything you can get your hands on. Third, write every day. Keep a journal and write down interesting stories you hear or descriptions or whatever comes to mind. Finally, don't get discouraged. Rejection is a part of writing, but don't give up!

If you've read the first four books and aren't sure what to read between now and May 5th, we just got in The Demigod Files, by Rick Riordan, which includes three previously unpublished Percy Jackson escapades, interviews with characters from the book, and other half-blood-related activities.

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