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Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Celebrity picks: Rick Riordan's favorite reads of 2019

Riordan_Rick_225W.jpgRick Riordan not only continues to thrill young readers with his own bestselling middle grade book series, but for the past year he's been bringing new authors to our attention with his Disney Books imprint, Rick Riordan Presents. 

Riordan is the master of combining mythology and magic with fast-paced action, creating stories where bravery and friendship can overcome even the biggest--and most terrifying--of obstacles.

In The Tyrant's Tomb, the fourth book of the Trials of Apollo series, the god Apollo, still stuck in the body of a human teenager, travels to Camp Jupiter in San Francisco, in order to help the Roman demigods in their quest to overthrow the powerful Triumvirate of Roman emperors.  The key to their success awaits in a forgotten tomb, and you can count on plenty of laughs and suspense in the latest adventure of Apollo and his demigod friends.

Now that he's getting tons of submissions for his publishing imprint, we wondered which books Riordan has loved lately.  His picture here gives you a hint at the books he told us about below.


Rick Riordan's favorite reads of 2019

This past year I've read more great middle grade fiction than ever, partly because I now get to help publish it with Rick Riordan Presents! While it's hard to pick favorites, here are four titles that absolutely everyone should try!


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Sal and Gabi Break the Universe by Carlos Hernandez

Wild and wacky, with crazy characters and mind-bending alternate realities, this book is also full of kindness, tenderness and optimism about the human spirit. Middle-schooler Sal discovers he can reach into other universes and pull things (or even people) into our own reality, but doing so causes all sorts of unintended problems. Once you’ve visited Sal and Gabi’s Miami school, Culeco Academy for the Arts, you will want to enroll immediately!


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Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia

To quote The Avengers, I love this book three thousand! Young Tristan is dealing with grief and self-doubt when he visits his grandparents’ farm for the summer. Then he accidentally punches a hole into the Midpass, a parallel reality where African American folk legends and West African gods live side by side, and Tristan must rise to become a hero. This book is so human, so tender, so powerful, but at the same time such a page-turning adventure. It puts a much-deserved and long-overdue spotlight on the mythology of Africa and the African diaspora. So many kids will relate to Tristan and fall in love with this book!


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The Fire Keeper: A Storm Runner Novel, Book 2 by J.C. Cervantes

It’s a rare sequel that is even better than the debut it follows, but that’s absolutely the case with J.C. Cervantes’ The Fire Keeper. The Storm Runner introduced us to Zane Obispo, a modern-day son of a Maya deity, and plunged us into the fabulous world of Maya mythology. The Fire Keeper, somehow, is even more riveting, bringing in elements of Aztec myth, ratcheting up the action, and giving us new insights into Zane and his whole fantastic cast of supporting characters. And Rosie the dog! My absolute favorite is back!


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Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee

This book is unlike anything I’ve ever read: a beautifully executed fusion of science fiction and Korean mythology that opens up whole universes for young readers to imagine. Min, a young fox spirit, has to go on a galaxy-spanning quest to find her lost brother and unravel the secret of the Dragon Pearl, a legendary magic item with the power to transform planets. I cannot wait to see what Yoon Ha Lee does in his next book about the Thousand Worlds!



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