I’m not going to do a New Year Resolutions post. I’m certainly not going to put in writing that I intend to blog more in 2010 – though I do – or post the mental lists of goals that are growing ever-longer in my head.

Instead, I’ll post my list of books coming out in 2010 that I am truly, truly impatient to read. Squirmy, fidget-pants impatient. Exasperated sigh, is-it-release-day-yet? impatient. IMPATIENT!

Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers (1/5)

All Unquiet Things by Anna Jarzab (1/12)

After Ever After by Jordan Sonnenblick (2/1)

Eleventh Grade Burns by Heather Brewer (2/9)

Gone by Lisa McMann (2/9)

Heist Society by Ally Carter (2/9)

Scarlett Fever by Maureen Johnson (3/1)

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver (3/2)

Dragon Factory by Jonathan Maberry (3/2)

The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan (3/9)

Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken (3/23)

Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean (3/30)

This World We Live In by Susan Beth Pfeffer (4/1)

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan (4/6)

Radiant Shadows by Melissa Marr (4/20)

Sisters Grimm Book 8: The Inside Story by Michael Buckley (5/1)

The Kane Chronicles, Book One: The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan (5/4)

White Cat by Holly Black (5/4)

The Rise of Renegade X by Chelsea Campbell (5/11)

Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead (5/18)

Perchance to Dream by Lisa Mantchev (5/25)

Sea by Heidi Kling (6/10)

Only the Good Spy Young by Ally Carter (6/15)

The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman (7/8)

Linger by Maggie Stiefvader (7/20)

Jealously by Lili St. Crow (7/29)

Guardian of the Gate by Michelle Zink (8/1)

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (8/24)

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare (8/31)

Ascendant by Diane Peterfreund (9/?)

Wired by Robin Wasserman (9/14)

Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry (10/5)

Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld (10/?)

Fixing Delilah Hannaford by Sarah Ockler (fall ’10)

The DUFF by Kody Keplinger (fall ’10)

So, what have I forgotten?

I’m sure there are heaps more that should be on this list. Meanwhile, St. Matt is looking hopefully at its brevity and making a New Year’s Resolution that this will be the year he figures out a way to convince me to buy less books…

Good luck to him.

~Happy 2010~

p.s. Books I foolishly overlooked or didn’t know about ’til later – I’ll add in orange. Books I’ve read will be changed to purple.

Everyone needs a hero: Lessons from Rick Riordan

647 tickets were sold for Rick Riordan’s book signing in New Jersey last night. Run by the Clinton Bookshop, the event began with Riordan speaking about his inspiration for the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series and concluded with a seemingly endless line of kiddos and parents queued up with books to be autographed.

(Thanks, T.O.T., for your picture (again!) You’re far more photographically-talented than me!)

If you’re not familiar with the Percy Jackson series – is that possible? If so, go become familiar.

I guess I can just tell you… If you’re not familiar with the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, the title character is an adolescent with ADHD and dyslexia. He’s been kicked out of every school he’s attended and he has a knack for creating catastrophes and destroying things.

And he’s the hero.

Riordan spoke about how he created Percy Jackson for his son. The tales were bedtime stories long before they were transcribed and best-seller’d. Why give Percy characteristics many would consider unheroic? Because his son has learning difficulties too.

My first thought was: that’s so sweet!

My second thought was: I always loved that Percy wasn’t the cookie-cutter hero; how cool to know why.

My third thought on the subject occurred while I was helping organize the gagillion kiddos into line for autographs. As I queued and checked books for post-its, I chattered. This is not a surprise, but what did surprise me was the number of kiddos who told me that Percy’s learning differences were why they liked the book.

He’s like me.

I’ve got ADHD too.

I’m dyslexic. I can’t read Greek though. How cool would that be?

I never liked reading; these books are my favorite! Best books in the whole world!

And the moms and dads? I had the same conversation over and over – but it was the type of conversation you want to have on repeat – “Can you believe they’re so excited to see an author? I never thought Johnny/Andrew/Luke/Megan/Sarah/… would be a reader!” The parent would take some steadying breaths, dab an eye, or look around in wonder until the formerly-non-reader kiddo interrupted or tugged a sleeve.

I was in writer/teacher heaven.

Everyone needs a hero they can identify with. Why did women best-sellerize Bridget Jones? Not because she was the epitome of grace, achievement, and beauty, because we related to her gaffes, weight battles, and perseverance.

Percy Jackson? He may be a dyslexic protagonist with ADHD, but more importantly, he’s loyal, brave, committed and compassionate. In short, he’s a hero.

My life and class are full of kiddos and heroes just like Percy… and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I hope Riordan’s books help them recognize their own inner-heroes as well!