Posts Tagged percy jackson

10 middle grade books made into movies

With winter break coming up, and hopefully some down time in your household, get kids psyched to watch great films and read great books with these middle grade books-made-into-movies combos. 

Anne of Green Gables by  L. M. Montgomery
This beloved book, originally published over 100 years ago, features the charming and spirited Anne Shirley, an 11-year-old orphan adopted by a brother and sister who thought they were adopting a son to help them on their farm. Instead, Anne arrives, and the lives of all three are changed (for the better!). Stream it on iTunes

 

The BFG by Roald Dahl
At first BFG (Big Friendly Giant) doesn’t seem all that friendly to Sophie, not when he snatches her out of her bed one night, but soon the two are fast friends, and working together to stop the other, meaner giants from swollomping young children.
Stream it on Amazon

 

 

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants By Ann Brashares

This lovely novel about the friendship between four girls and the introduction of a pair of magical jeans into their lives was made into a fantastic flick with now-big-name stars Amber Tamblyn, America Ferrera, Blake Lively and Alexis Bledel. Stream it on Amazon

 

 

Sounder by William H. Armstrong
Set in the Depression-era, this American classic about an African-American family dealing with racism and poverty is moving and powerful, and the film, with powerhouse actors including Cicely Tyson, Paul Winfield, will touch your entire family.
Stream it on Amazon

 

 

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
Four siblings + a magical wardrobe = a tale that’s been thrilling readers for almost 70 years.
Stream it on Netflix 

 

 

 

 

Holes by Louis Sachar
Sachar’s novel, which won the Newbery Medal and the National Book Award, is about a boy named Stanley Yelnats, who’s sent to Camp Green Lake, a detention center. There, he and other boys spend all their time digging holes exactly five feet wide and five feet deep, until Stanley decides to figure out just what they’re digging for… and why.
Stream it on iTunes

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
Poor Greg, stuck in the middle of three brothers, stuck in middle school, and generally stuck. His suffering sure is hilarious for the rest of us, as evidenced by the sound of giggles that emit from kids as they read their way through Kinney’s block-buster series.
Stream it on iTunes

 

 

The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern’s Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure by William Goldman
Delightful and playful and all sorts of perfection. Definitely not inconceivable! Stream it on Netflix

 

 

 

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
A modern quest story, with a twelve-year-old demigod named Percy Jackson at the center. When Percy is sent to Camp Half-Blood, he discovers that he’s half immortal, and that his father is Poseidon, the ruler of the sea.
Stream it on iTunes

 

 

 

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
Maybe you’ve heard of this book? A little something about a boy wizard? Read this blockbuster phenom of a novel together, then watch the films as a family. Stream it on iTunes

Stay tuned for more books into movies: next up is a film adaptation of Sherman Alexie’s amazing YA book, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. Cannot wait!

Andrea Pyros is the author of My Year of Epic Rock, a middle grade novel about friends, crushes, food allergies, and a rock band named The EpiPens.

Literary Descendants of Classic Characters + Giveaway

Throughout history, there have always been characters, fictional or otherwise, who capture our collective imaginations. Usually these characters possess supernatural powers of some sort, but sometimes they’re mere mortals, who have somehow fascinated us. In recent years, several middle-grade authors have been inspired by the gene pools of cultural icons. The most recent of these is Annabelle Fisher, whose novel The Secret Destiny of Pixie Piper, is out now from Greenwillow Books.

9780062393777Annabelle has generously donated an autographed copy of her book. Keep reading to learn how to win it and to read about other fabulous middle-grade novels about fictional descendants.

In  The Secret Destiny of Pixie Piperan ordinary fifth grader with a talent for coming up with rhymes and poems without even trying discovers she is a direct descendant of Mother Goose. Pixie’s flair for poetry sometimes leads to unexpected challenges. But, eventually, she comes to accept and appreciate her uniqueness. The novel mixes charming literary allusions with magic, humor, and issues about family and friendship.

 

9781484720974Melissa de la Cruz’s well-known Descendants Series about the offspring of Disney villains is a favorite of many middle-grade readers. The Isle of the Lost and Return to the Isle of the Lost follow the adventures of Mal, whose mother is the evil fairy, Maleficent, from Sleeping Beauty. Mal is accompanied by Evie, Jay, and Carlos, who are descended from Jafar, Cruella De Vil, and The Evil Queen. These descendants of villainous characters are coming of age on the Isle of the Lost, where their parents have been banished.

 

9780062004963It’s not just the villains who fascinate us in fairy tales. In Sleeping Beauty’s Daughters, Diane Zahler takes readers to a time where Sleeping Beauty is married with two daughters, one of whom has been cursed similarly to her mother. When Aurora begins to struggle not slip into an enchanted sleep, the sisters accept the help of a young fisherman and embark on an ocean voyage to find their good fairy aunt who might be able to reverse the magic. They encounter beasts, storms, and  other dangers, but they can’t give up. If they do, Aurora could end up taking a one-hundred-year nap.

 

9780786856299Another series based on descendants of the famous and powerful is the well-known Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, by Rick Riordan. These mega-popular books follow the exploits of Percy, who finds himself at a camp for demigods and learns he is the son of Poseidon the Greek god of the sea. His companions include Anabeth Chase, the daughter of Athena, and Luke Castellan, the son of Hermes. The series includes The Lightning Thief, The Sea of Monsters, The Titan’s Curse, The Battle of the Labyrinth, and The Last Olympian.

 

9780312602123A certain famous fictional detective has inspired a few series about his descendants. One of which is Tracy Barrett’s The Sherlock Files, which follows the adventures of Xena and Xander Holmes, who think living in London will be boring until they’re handed a cryptic note that leads them to a hidden room and a secret society. When they discover they’re related to Sherlock Holmes and inherit his unsolved casebook, life becomes more exciting. In the first installment, The 100-Year-Old Secret, the siblings set out to solve the cases their famous ancestor couldn’t, starting with the mystery of a prized painting that vanished more than a hundred years ago. Other titles in the series include: The Missing Heir, The Beast of Blackslope, and The Case That Time Forgot.

 

9780810993228Real-life brothers, Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm, who collected and published folklore in the nineteenth century, have inspired a series called The Sisters Grimm, written by Michael Buckley. In these books, orphaned siblings Sabrina and Daphne Grimm learn they are descended from the Brothers Grimm. The sisters soon find out it’s their legacy to keep a group known as the Everafters, a parallel race of magical beings, in line. Books in the series include The Fairy-Tale Detectives, The Unusual Suspects, The Problem Child, and more.

If you have any favorite novels about the descendants of famous fictional or historical characters, please tell us about them. And for a chance to win the autographed copy of Annabelle Fisher’s The Secret Destiny of Pixie Piper, share this post and let us know where you shared in the comments section. The deadline is Wednesday midnight. We’ll announce the winner on Thursday.

Dorian Cirrone has written several books for children and teens. Her recently published middle-grade novel, The First Last Day (Simon and Schuster/Aladdin) is available wherever books are sold. You can find her on Facebook and on Twitter as @DorianCirrone. She gives writing tips and does occasional giveaways on her blog at: http://doriancirrone.com/welcome/blog/

 

The timeless intrigue of Greek myths

athena the brain have a hot time hades hound of hades new olympians chronus chronicles

Bigger than life characters, epic battles, good versus evil, outlandish monsters and over-the-top family strife are just a few reasons Greek myths are now — just as they have been for generations — absolutely irresistible for middle grade readers. And while no kid wants to hear this now, getting a grounding in Greek tales will serve these young readers well the rest of their lives. So many references in literature (Shakespeare, for one) and pop culture have roots in these myths, and they’ll also provide fodder for kids’ own stories and interpretations.

If Percy Jackson and the Olympians first reeled your reader to Poseidon, Zeus, and Athena, you may be wondering what books to grab next. Or maybe your reader likes the idea of Greek myths, but isn’t really sold on the whole Percy Jackson thing. Either way, here are some ideas for what to read next:

Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams’ Goddess Girls series is pure delight. Readers can start with any in the series (and then devour all others); one of my favorites is Athena the Brain, which is also first in the series. Athena, 12, is ordered to go to Mount Olympus Academy (where Zeus is principal) where she juggles academics, her social life, and proving her intellect by ending the Trojan War.

Have a Hot Time, Hades! is a one of the many greats in Kate McMullan’s Myth-o-mania series. In this story with a modern twist, Hades tells his own version of how he became King of the Underworld and Zeus became King of the Gods.

Speaking of Hades, new this year in Lucy Coates’ Beasts of Olympus series is Hound of Hades. Having proven himself capable of caring for the mythical creatures that dwell on Olympus, eleven-year-old Demon is summoned by the great god Hades to the Underworld to tend to Cerberus, the three-headed dog Guardian of the Underworld, which has been beaten by Demon’s nemesis, Heracles.

In The New Olympians (Pegasus series) by Kate O’Hearn, Pegasus and Emily investigate a series of incidents back on Earth, and discover that the CRU has been cloning Olympians. Science (STEM) and myths!

One more don’t miss series is The Chronus Chronicles by Anne Ursu (where one of the doors to the Underworld is located under the Mall of America). The Shadow Thieves is first in the series: After her cousin Zee arrives from England, 13-year-old Charlotte and he must set out to save humankind from denizens of the underworld, Nightmares, Death, Pain, and a really nasty guy named Phil.

greek mythsThere are many nonfiction guides, but the gold standard is still D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths. It was published in 1962 — not quite as old as the myths themselves, but another one that stands the tests of time and interfering Greek gods and goddesses. And if you can get your hands on this spectacular audio book version, it’s read by Sidney Poitier, Kathleen Turner, Paul Newman, and Matthew Broderick. Best yet, use your local library card to get the downloadable version via OverDrive. Listen to a sample here.