“Most people seem to realize that Greek mythology is part of our cultural heritage. Knowing about Classical Greece and Rome is part of being an educated person,” Rick Riordan said in an interview in 2010.
Riordan’s best-selling children’s series, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, chronicles the adventures of a 12-year-old demigod—half-human and half-Greek god—named Percy.
The first novel in Riordan’s five-book series, The Lightning Thief, was published in 2005 and follows how Percy’s fairly normal life as a sixth-grader is altered forever when he is attacked by a monster disguised as his math teacher, taken to a summer camp for demigods, and learns he is the son of the Greek god, Poseidon. In The Lightning Thief, Percy and his friends Annabeth and Grover must go on a quest across the United States to retrieve the god Zeus’ missing lightning bolt and stop an impending war between the gods. The novel concludes shortly after the characters return to camp and the summer ends, and Percy returns home to live with his mom for the school year.
Each consecutive book has a similar plot, for the most part. In book 2, The Sea of Monsters, Percy must go on a quest to rescue Grover. In book 3, The Titan’s Curse, Percy and his friends must rescue Annabeth and the goddess Artemis from their captors. In The Battle of the Labyrinth, book 4 of the series, Percy and his friends go on a quest through the ancient labyrinth, originally built by Daedalus. The final book in the series, The Last Olympian, follows Percy and his fellow half-bloods as they battle the Titan army in New York City.
Credits: Greek Mythology Tours
Percy Jackson in the Classroom
The Lightning Thief is often taught in schools, with a variety of curriculums based on various themes in the series. Having been a teacher for almost 15 years before he became a full-time author, Rick Riordan is a big supporter of his books being taught in the classroom.