Rick Riordan Breathes New Life Into Diverse Myths and Legends

Did you love Percy Jackson? Have a kid who’s obsessed with the new show? If so, read on to learn about the publishing imprint “Rick Riordan Presents.”

Author's Corner Diverse Voices Diversity Recommendations Young Readers
A rainbox-shimmer background with an image of Rick Riordan in the middle, slightly raised. To the left is a book cover with a father and son on it, ready to fight, with the title "Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky". To the right is an image of a green book cover with a woman and a snake on it, both zoomed in and front and center. It is entitled "A Drop of Venom".

Pretty much everyone has heard of the Percy Jackson series, especially with the release of the new Disney+ show. Rick Riordan’s middle-grade series took the reading world by storm after its initial 2005 publication, praised for its mix of emotion and humor as well as its ADHD and dyslexia representation.

A teal book cover with white drawn clouds in a v-shape at the bottom. Coming up from the bottom is a drawing of the empire state building, a trident, a lightning bolt, and a Greek helmet. At the top it says "Rick Riordan" in red-orange letters, and "Percy Jackson and the Olympians" underneath it in a stylized font.

There have been some occasional complaints about the lack of diversity in the first few books, but one thing the series did was make kids with ADHD and/or dyslexia go from feeling dejected (because they were different) to feeling special (because they were different). Making young readers feel good about their differences is one of the most important parts of fiction novels and should be the mission of all middle-grade authors. This is why the Rick Riordan Presents imprint is so important.

But what is it?

A dark blue book cover with several spirit figures of animals in purple, teal, and gold. In the middle is a drawing of a young girl with a braid holding something white and glowing.

This Disney-Hyperion imprint is a way for authors from underrepresented cultures to be seen and heard. Rick Riordan uses his influential platform at Disney to publish authors who write diverse stories about traditional myths and legends. Honestly, there has been some backlash about Riordan writing about only mainstream myths from ancient Greece or Rome, and I think what he’s done here is exactly appropriate for the situation. He acknowledged that these underrepresented myths and legends deserve to be told just as much as others but that he just isn’t the person to write them. That’s why he’s using his fame and privilege to promote the voices of those who can tell these stories.

[I] want to help kids have a wider variety of great books to choose from, especially those that deal with world mythology, and for all kinds of young readers to see themselves reflected in the books that they read.

Rick Riordan, Rick Riordan Presents

Why should we read these books?

A mom holds a picture book titled "Earth!" while her three young kids are on her lap. The middle kid looks like she is mid sentence, the younger kid on the left is focused on touching the book, and another kid on the right is yawning.

With these books, middle-grade readers can learn about myths and legends from other cultures while also becoming invested in the adventures these cool heroes go on. Filled with classic Riordan-style witty characters and fascinating mysteries to unravel, the books published from this imprint can (and should!) be read by young and older readers alike. Some of the most highly rated books include a Hindu culture-inspired series, books about African-American legends and ancient African gods, Maya legends, Korean folklore, Cuban sci-fi, Native American culture, Indian mythology, and SO much more.

A kid wearing a garbage bag as a cape looks up at a cloudy sky with his mouth slightly open. He is wearing large orange sunglasses.

Just like how we learned a ton about Greek mythology from the original Percy Jackson series, these books are an easy way to introduce yourself or your kid to the incredible stories that other cultures have to offer!

Read our article for more book recs about underrepresented cultures!

Want more fantasy/sci-fi for young readers? Check out our bookshelf.