Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Kids choose Rick Riordan as top author

By Bob Minzesheimer, USA TODAY

NEW YORK � Rick Riordan, whose best-selling adventure books, including The Red Pyramid and The Lost Hero, have found new uses for mythology, was named author of the year in voting by 524,000 young readers Monday night.

  • Rick Riordan has been named author of the year by the Children's Choice Book Awards.

    By Marty Umans

    Rick Riordan has been named author of the year by the Children's Choice Book Awards.

By Marty Umans

Rick Riordan has been named author of the year by the Children's Choice Book Awards.

The Children's Choice Book Awards gala, hosted by the Children's Book Council, also honored David Wiesner (Art and Max) as illustrator of the year.

The other winners, each named book of the year for their age groups, are:

?Kindergarten to second grade: Johanna Kerby's Little Pink Pup.

?Third to fourth grade: Jarrett Krosoczka's Lunch Lady and the Summer Camp Shakedown.

?Fifth to sixth grade: Riordan's The Red Pyramid (The Kane Chronicles: Book 1).

?Teen: John Green and David Levithan's Will Grayson, Will Grayson.

One award wasn't given. The beleaguered best-selling author Greg Mortenson (Three Cups of Tea) had been previously selected to receive The Impact Award for "raising awareness of important issues and encouraging global understanding."

But after CBS' 60 Minutes and fellow mountain climber and author Jon Krakauer (Into The Wild) questioned Mortenson's credibility and the financial management of his charity, which builds schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the book council changed its mind.

Robin Adelson, the council's president, said "too many questions remain unanswered to present the award. That doesn't mean he won't get the award someday, but not at this time."

Riordan, who's best known for his Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, joked that his son, noting the competition, which included Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games) and Jeff Kinney (Diary of a Wimpy Kid), had told him not to worry about preparing an acceptance speech in the author-of-the-year category.

Riordan, a former teacher, said he's "emerging from manuscript land."

His latest book, The Thorn of Fire, the second in his Kane Chronicles series that involves Egyptian gods, is being published Tuesday. And he said he's just about finished with The Son of Neptune, the second book in his Heroes of Olympus series, a spinoff to Percy Jackson. It'll be released in October.

Writing two books a year for two different series "hasn't been easy," he said. "But no one made me do it."

In a program organized by the Children's Book Council and the International Reading Association, students pick the finalists for younger readers. Teen readers at Teenreads.com choose the teen finalists.

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