Rick's reading recommendations

I've been getting many emails from kids and parents asking if I could recommend other books to read for those who are waiting for the next Percy Jackson book to be published. I'm honored to be asked!

There are so many good books to choose from, but I'll try to mention a few that my sons and I have enjoyed. Everybody's taste is different. Not every title here will work for every young reader, but hopefully if you liked Percy Jackson, you will like some of these too.

Gregor the Overlander, by Suzanne Collins. A great adventure fantasy with plenty of humor. A fast read and the beginning of a series about Gregor.

The Wee Free Men, by Terry Pratchett. This guy writes so many books! This was one of the funniest. It took about fifty pages to get into, so give it time, but once we were into the story, my son and I were laughing out loud and he didn't want to stop reading. It would be a great one to try on audiobooks.

Airborn, by Kenneth Oppel. A swashbuckling adventure set in a world where airships rule the skies. The story moves fast, with lots of action.

Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher, by Bruce Coville. This and the rest of Coville's Magic Shop books are short, easy reads with humor and fantasy, great for reluctant readers (like my sons!). I highly recommend them.

The Thief Lord, by Cornelia Funke. I liked Inkheart as well, but honestly I thought it was about three hundred pages too long. For my money, The Thief Lord is a tighter story and a better read.

The Bartimaeus Trilogy, by Jonathan Stroud. Three fantastic fantasies set in an alternate London, where magicians summon djinni and other spirits to do their bidding.

Peter and the Starcatchers, by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. A wonderful adventure story. These guys know how to keep you turning the pages. The sequel, Peter and the Shadow Thieves, is on the way, too.

The Alex Rider series, by Anthony Horowitz. These are definitely "guy" books, featuring a young spy a la James Bond. Great for reluctant readers, lots of action and suspense.

For those interested specifically in mythology:

Heroes, Gods and Monsters of the Greek Myths, by Bernard Evslin. This is the first mythology book I ever read in middle school, and it's still one of my favorite versions. If you want to read the book that inspired Percy Jackson, this is it.

The Sea of Trolls, by Nancy Farmer. A fresh take on Norse mythology, which I love as much as Greek myths.

The Shadow Thieves, by Anne Ursu. A modern take on the Greek myths -- sound familiar? Honest, Anne and I did not discuss our books as we were writing them. It was total coincidence that we chose such similar approaches. Check out her version! It's the first book in the Cronus Chronicles.

The Pig Scrolls, by Paul Shipton. The story is narrated by Gryllus, one of Odysseus's shipmates who is turned into a pig on Circe's island and must (reluctantly) save the world. Lots of mythology and humor. What's not to like?

I hope that helps, and happy summer reading to all!