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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Report: Rick Riordan visits Champaign

Benjamin meets Rick Riordan:We were lucky to be able to attend a Rick Riordan event at the Champaign Library on Monday March 9th. The author of the amazingly awesome Percy Jackson and The Olympians series came to the town to visit the library on Monday and do a few school visits on Tuesday.

He was scheduled to sign books from 6 to 7 p.m. after which he would make a presentation in the library's largest conference room for the next hour. Then he would sign books again. Since the library's largest room seated only 500, and since Rick Riordan and his series are so popular, the event was ticketed. Tickets were only available to students in grades 3-12 in Champaign schools. Needless to say, no one in our family qualified. However we had been told that the presentation would be live streamed into other parts of the library.

We arrived at the library around 5:40, full of hope and expectation. As we queued up to have our books signed, though, we noticed our camera was out of battery. So the shots you get are from Jacob's cell phone.

About 5 minutes later Rick (I can call you Rick, right Rick?) showed up to start signing books! More than punctual, this guy was early! And as we slowly made our way up the line I noticed how amicably the author greeted each fan and chatted with them before signing their book. Rick seemed especially adept at making nervous preteen boys open up for a little bit of conversation. I loved that he complimented one boy on his homemade Camp Half-Blood t-shirt, saying "That's better than the one I have. I always tell people, 'If you want a really good one, make it yourself.'"

On our way to the front we talked for a moment with Betsy Su (Champaign librarian extraordinaire and organizer of the event). She seemed happy that everything was going so well, and told us that we'd be able to watch the presentation from the cafe area of the library. Yes! :D If you love books and want to organize book signing events like Betsy, then see some librarian degrees offered by accredited institutions.

As Rick Riordan signed our books, we told him about how The Lightning Thief had been just perfect for our drive out from Utah when we moved here. (Thanks Laura!) We had a good little chat and got the picture above.

As we waited for the presentation to start we fed Benjamin the rest of his dinner, and I watched kid after kid emerge from the signing room grinning. Awesome job Mr. Riordan!

And the presentation itself was quite fun. It was geared well to his audience, complete with stories of his own school days, his first rejection letter (which he got in the 8th grade and which his mother framed. Odd thing: When his mother's house burned down the letter was untouched amongst the wreckage! She has since re-framed it.), upcoming movie news, and Greek mythology quiz with prizes! He really did an excellent job.

He also read a bit from the beginning of the 5th book, and if you know Rick Riordan, you know he gets straight to the action. I'm pretty much dying to read the rest already! Luckily for me book 5 comes out on 5-5.

Links:
Everead reviews of Percy Jackson Books
Rick Riordan's Website
Rick Riordan's Blog

3 comments:

  1. Lucky, lucky! (He's on my list of "authors I'd love to meet someday but I live in a totally uncool place so it'll probably never happen".) It's wonderful when authors are so gracious to their fans... :)

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  2. Sigh. Thanks for your comment Melissa. It made me remember that I AM lucky! See, right now I'm pining to get to Project Book Babe in Phoenix. But the chances are not good at all. Smaller events really kind of take the cake though, don't they?

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  3. Cool, cool! Now I'm wishing I'd gone. I could've borrowed one of your books and had him sign it, right? :)

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