I think every person who calls themselves a reader has a book (or series) that they remember being “the one”. The one that opened up a whole new world for them, the world of imagination. For me that series was the Little House Books. In recent years kids have been discovering the joy of reading along with Harry Potter. But for my eight year old daughter, the books that have transformed her are from the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan.
How do I know she is a real reader now? I catch her with a flashlight under the covers, at close to midnight, eager to get through the next chapter. Everything she sees, she considers in terms of the books she is reading – “Hey Mommy, if you were a goddess, which one would you be?”
We started reading this excellent series with The Lightning Thief, which we read as a family. You can check out the first chapter for free, online. The premise is simple – the Greek myths are not so mythical, as there are Greek gods among us still and their half human offspring are in constant jeopardy and at the center of worldwide chaos. In order to keep them safe and teach them what they need to know, they have been sent to Camp Half Blood, a summer camp specifically for their kind. Great adventures (and a new appreciation for the ancient myths) ensue.
If you are looking for a good hook for your young readers this summer and/or if you miss the thrill of a new Harry Potter and want another imaginative series to get into, and a whole new magical world for them (and you too! ) to explore, I cannot recommend the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series enough.