Olympians, Gods and Dyslexia: Rick Riordan Talks About Fiction and Family

Oct 12, 2016

If you have a child between the ages of nine and fifteen, or if you’re just a fan of mythology, it’s likely that you’ve heard of author Rick Riordan.

The New York Times bestselling author is most famous for his Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, which follows the adventures of demi-god teens as they navigate the world of the Greek gods, monsters and the challenges of middle school.

When my son was about seven years old, he was really struggling in school. He had just been diagnosed as ADHD and dyslexic, and about the only thing he liked in school was Greek mythology. -Rick Riordan

Riordan drew his inspiration for the series from his fifteen years as a middle school English and History teacher, as well as from his older son.

“When my son was about seven years old, he was really struggling in school. He had just been diagnosed as ADHD and dyslexic, and about the only thing he liked in school was Greek mythology,” Riordan says. “So I began telling him bedtime stories based on the Greek myths, and when I ran out of the original myths, he asked me to make up a new one and Percy Jackson came out of that. The next thing I know, I’m writing it down, and it became a children’s book.”

From learning disorders such as ADHD and dyslexia, to LGBT awareness, Riordan has used his books as a platform to introduce his young readership, and their parents, to issues that they may not expect from a children’s series.

"The world is not going to wait for us to be ready to talk about these issues, we have to be prepared to talk about them,” Riordan says, “And that can mean whatever it means for each family, but I would hope that it is seen as an opportunity to sit down with your kids and discuss these in the same way you would discuss any difficult issue."

During this hour of Talk of Iowa host Charity Nebbe speaks with Rick Riordan, author of series such as Percy Jackson and the Olympians, The Kane Chronicles, and The Heroes of Olympus. His most recent book is The Hammer of Thor the second book in his Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard trilogy.