From the Mailbag

I’ve spent the last two days trying to catch up on my mail, writing responses to piles of letters that have come in since Thanksgiving. I do try to respond personally to (almost) all letters from kids, though sometimes I feel like Sisyphus rolling the stone uphill only to have it roll back down again!

Among my favorites, a packet of cool stuff from Mrs. Supovitz’s fifth grade class in Parkland, Florida. Mrs. S does a Greek mythology unit every year, and just recently added the Lightning Thief to her curriculum. Her kids researched individual gods and goddesses and became those gods. I got a great picture of the kids in costume, a CD of mythology “greatest hits,” and a bound anthology of their research presentations. Fantastic stuff! I’m sending them all signed book plates. Hopefully I don’t miss anybody!

In another letter, Evan from St. Petersburg writes that he just moved to Florida from Iowa, and has been reading the Percy books to make the transition a little easier. Evan is very interested in the meaning of names, and asked what Perseus means. If you’re curious, it means Avenger. He also said he liked all of the gods except that blacksmith guy Hepatitis. I think he meant Hephaestus, but I don’t like hepatitis much either! Thanks for your great questions, Evan.

Andres from Lawrenceville, Georgia made the kind of comment every writer lives for: “This book was a rare book because it changed me. I didn’t always like adventure books but when I read your book, there was a little tingle inside me that wanted me to read more adventure books.” That’s awesome, Andres. Keep reading those adventures!

Finally, Michael from Natick, Massachusetts had some comments about summer reading that made me laugh: “It was the best because all the other summer reading books have to do with some nerd or challenged kid who has a bad life and it just keeps on getting boring from there. I think that these books are picked to teach us some life lesson that barely anyone gets because they either don’t finish the book because it is so boring or they do finish it and couldn’t get one thing out of it because they just wanted to finish it. But your book did teach lessons but in a cool, sword-fighting, Greek god way.” As a student, I felt the same way about many of the books I was made to read, and I have a lot of sympathy for you, Michael! Too often, the school curriculum is guilty as charged, but I hope you find plenty of other books that teach in a cool way. I’m glad you liked Lightning Thief.

That’s just a sampling of the mail from the last few weeks. I’ve gotten so many other great comments from all over the U.S., Canada, the UK, and beyond. Finally, a special shout-out to Tarang and his friends in Mumbai, who are wondering when I will come visit India. Maybe some day, Tarang, but until then, keep reading and holding the mythological monsters at bay!

Rick Riordan