I never thought this would happen. For years, my younger son Patrick didn’t want anything to do with my stories. Patrick would much rather tell stories to me. He’s got a great imagination, and his favorite thing to do is make up games and fantasy adventures with me as his audience. We’ve written a whole shelf-full of comic books together, sharing the illustrations and words, but he’s never had much patience for listening to my stories. He was four years old when I began writing Percy Jackson, and I think he saw it as his big brother’s thing.
Then something interesting happened. Right before Thanksgiving, I was taking Patrick to school on my way to an author visit. When we got to Saint Mary’s Hall, we found out the water main had busted and school was cancelled. Given the short notice, I didn’t have any choice but take Patrick to my author visit. He became my assistant for the day. Now Patrick is a pretty shy kid. He doesn’t like attention or big crowds, so he sat quietly at the back of the audience during my two presentations and tried not to draw much attention to himself. It was the first time he’d ever seen Dad do his author spiel. I wasn’t sure what he thought about it, but a few days later he asked if I would read him The Lightning Thief. We had tried it before, and he decided he just wasn’t ready for it. He was eight now, the same age his brother was when I first told him the story. Still, I was nervous. I didn’t know if he’d like it, and I didn’t want him to read it just because he felt he should.
In a week, we finished the book. Patrick had us reading to him at least two hours a day (which is very unusual for him) and would pick up the book after we were through and keep reading on his own. His teacher wasn’t sure what was going on. Suddenly Patrick went from 115 minutes a week in his reading log to 390 minutes. He actually enjoyed the story! I can’t tell you what a relief that was, and how amazing it is to read my son a story I wrote and know that he liked it. I feel like we’ve shared a new world together. Since then, we’ve moved on to the Sea of Monsters, and Patrick’s imaginative play has some new elements. He now includes the Chimera and Echidna in his stories and has even made Sculpee models of some of the monsters from the book. I guess it just proves that different kids are ready for books like Percy Jackson at different ages, and Patrick knew the time had come for him!