Tuesday, March 28, 2006

I Thought So, Too

Yesterday Camille at Book Moot began a "gotta have" list for what she calls her "virtual" school library. The list included The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan, which I just happened to have read a week or so ago. As I was reading it, I kept thinking it belonged in classroom and school libraries, too.

The book might be considered a kid version of Neil Gaiman's American Gods in that it sets up a world in which the gods of the past are real and have a very definite presence here in the good old U.S. of A. It's also a buddy/journey story since our hero, a twelve-year-old boy of mysterious birth who learns he's the son of a god, has to make his way across the country on a quest. And then I'm sure there are those who are going to compare it to Harry Potter because of the summer camp for demi-gods that no one knows about and the two buddies, one of whom is a girl much feistier than poor Hermione ever dreamed of being.

I have a vague recollection of enjoying Greek mythology back when I was in junior high school, though I can't say it's a big interest now. I think this book would be a great supplement to an English curriculum that included mythology. It would be a treat for the kids who like the subject (as I used to) and would enjoy this fantasy about gods in their own time. It might also make mythology more palatable for kids who don't like the subject (closer to my feelings now).

I recognized a couple of the kids' stops on their cross-country trip as being updated scenes from The Odyssey. I suspect (though I may be wrong) that if I remembered more about that book, I would have recognized more.

I've noticed that a number of the adventure stories I've read these last few months involve kids right around twelve-years-old. I often have trouble believing twelve-year-olds can pull off the stunts these kids are asked to pull off in these books. Oddly enough, I didn't have any trouble believing Percy could fight gods and furies. He was the son of a god, after all. What I found difficult to buy was that these poor kids could manage traveling across country with so little money.

Rick Riordan taught middle school for fifteen years. A quick look at his blog Myth & Mystery suggests he's still interested in education.

More About Me, Me, Me

I received a very nice rejection e-mail today. I had sent an essay to a magazine directed toward writers. The essay was about my experiences with self-promotion and my gut feeling that I never know whether spending time on marketing does any good, that perhaps I'd be better off just doing more writing. (You guys have heard all this from me before.)

Well, the essay was turned down. But the editor said that given my background in children’s writing, he'd be willing to look at queries related to that area, especially on topics that could be discussed in a how-to format. And he also attached some guidelines.

Now, he's assuming I know "how-to" something, which is probably not the case. Nonetheless, I thought it was a painless rejection.

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