Outward Bound from Chicago

Weather permitting, I’ll be heading out of Chicago tonight for New York.

Yesterday I visisted two middle schools which were both wonderfully prepared. At Jefferson, most of the sixth graders had read at least part of a Percy Jackson book in class. They were an enthusiastic audience with a lot of good questions. I got to meet my long-lost cousin Mrs. Riordan, a science teacher. No, we’re not really related, but the kids were convinced we must be. Then it was off to Drauden Point MS in Plainfield. The students had gone all-out with Percy Jackson art decorating the halls. A student did the introduction. Others had prepared questions. Another presented the school’s author gift: a chess board with Greek mythology figures! Afterwards, we had a reception in the library. The tables were decorated like Camp Half-Blood cabins and the walls were adorned with artwork, including Thalia’s shield and the Oracle’s latest prophecy. Check out more pictures here. There was ambrosia and nectar, and the Oracle herself put in an appearance — a mummified figure made from Ace bandages, wearing a tie-dyed T-shirt. Special thanks to Fernando, who made the Oracle. He had himself wrapped in the bandages to get the form right, then somehow wriggled out and stuffed it with cotton. Now that is dedidcation! Fernando is demigod of the week for creating the Oracle of Drauden Point.

Last night, my signing at Anderson’s in Naperville went very well. We had well over a hundred people. Thanks to everyone who came out, some driving over two hours to get to the event. Naperville has a nice downtown area with old-fashioned store fronts and a river walk. I got to stroll around before the event and do some window-shopping, even though it was almost as hot as Texas. We passed 90 F in the afternoon.

Today, I’m doing a middle school visit in Skokie and a podcast recording for Barnes & Noble at the local radio station. Tonight, we’re supposed to get thunderstorms, right about the time I have to fly out. Fingers crossed I get to New York safely!

Rick Riordan