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The Lightning Thief

Kid Reporter talks to author Rick Riordan

By Virginia Reed | June 20 , 2007
Scholastic Kid Reporter Virginia Reed and author Rick Riordan. (Photo: Suzanne Freeman)
Scholastic Kid Reporter Virginia Reed and author Rick Riordan. (Photo: Suzanne Freeman)

Have you ever imagined what it would be like to have a Greek god or goddess for a parent? Well, Percy Jackson doesn't have to imagine it. In Rick Riordan’s book The Lightning Thief, Percy learns that he is the son of Poseidon—god of the sea.

The Lightning Thief
is the latest choice in Al Roker's Book Club for Kids. I recently had the chance to talk with Riordan, who said he was happy to be chosen for Al's book club.

"It's great," Riordan said. "Anything people can do to get kids reading books they really enjoy, that's very important to me."

Riordan also told me how he came up with this unique story and how some of the story's twists are actually inspired by his real life.

Percy has to develop ways to deal with certain situations. He has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and dyslexia, or difficulty in using language. Both make it hard for Percy to do well in school, and often result in his expulsion, or removal, from schools.

"I was thinking of my son when I wrote this," Riordan said. "Like Percy, he has ADHD and dyslexia, and so I wanted Percy to be something he could relate to."

As the son of a god, Percy has to face many challenges. Because Percy is a "demigod," monsters are frequently attracted to him. He has to fight a Minotaur and a Fury on his journey to Camp Half-Blood.

Plus, Percy still has to deal with normal kid-issues. He feels alone at school and doesn't have many friends.

"I kind of always felt like an outsider in school like Percy does," Riordan explained. "Fortunately, I never had to fight a Greek monster!"

At Camp Half-Blood, Percy learns battle skills such as sword-fighting and archery. Riordan explained that he liked the idea of setting the book in a camp because of his own experiences as a camp counselor.

A few days after Percy arrives at Half-Blood, he learns that Zeus's lightning bolt has been stolen. He has only 10 days to find it, or the kingdom of the gods will be in big trouble!

What happens to Percy? Does Zeus get his lightning bolt back? To find out, you'll just have to read the book!


Do you need help picking out what book to read next?  Let Scholastic News Online be your guide! Find out what Kid Reporters are saying about all the latest books by reading their book reviews in this special report .

About the Author

Virginia Reed is a member of the Scholastic Kids Press Corps.

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