When people think of the children’s author Rick Riordan, one particular name often comes to mind: Percy Jackson. Percy Jackson is he beloved hero of several of Riordan’s books. Percy is known for his loyalty, his courage, and his snarky sense of humor. What readers don’t always know about Percy Jackson, is that his challenges as a young kid with ADHD and dyslexia were inspired by Rick Riordan’s son.
Haley Riordan was diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia at a young age. For Haley reading was challenging and he refused to do it for a period of time. However, Haley enjoyed Greek mythology a great deal, which was a subject that Riordan taught in middle school. To encourage his son, Riordan began telling him bedtime stories about a hero named Percy Jackson who had ADHD and dyslexia and who was the son of a Greek god. Over time the stories grew longer. Soon it wasn’t just Riordan encouraging his son to read. It also became Haley encouraging his father to write.
Riordan went on to publish his Percy Jackon and the Olympian series. Since then, Riordan has consistently received thanks from fans and parents alike who relate to Percy’s learning challenges and can now see their learning differences as a gift and not a weakness.
One Riordan’s inspirations is to encourage children to read, not just from the perspective or a writer, but also as a reader. It serves to remember that all obstacles only make for better stories in the long run.