The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan, author of the "Percy Jackson and the Olympians" series. All I knew was it was about "kids and Egyptian gods" instead of "kids and Greek gods." Fine. I know the basic gods; I was a kid during the big King Tut exhibit in the 1970s.
I kid you not when I say I did a double-take.
Like I said, I was a kid during the Seventies. Ever hear Steve Martin's "King Tut?" Listen to the lyrics at 1:04.
The Girl Who Fell from the Sky by Heidi W. Durrow. But in her gracious email back to me, she didn't know of any fiction about biracial boys. So finding books that reflect my kids' existence back to them will continue to be an uphill climb.
- People of color in the same family don't always have the same skin tones or hair
- Boys of African heritage are less likely to receive the benefit of the doubt from strangers
- Black parents often insist their children be appropriately groomed before going out in public, because of said suspicion around black kids.
A couple of quibbles with the book:
- It went all Disney and killed off the mom right away (yes, I know: Drama!)
- The brother is visibly ethnic and the sister looks white. Convenient -- no hair-related self-esteem issues! (Yes, I know it's an adventure story.)
There are other issues I wonder about (side-stepping the ethnic angle in the cover art and plot summary). But others have written about publishers' decisions which the author may not have had control over. And if the sequels sell well, maybe other publishers will realize Adventuring While Black or Biracial is not a barrier to a book's success.
Throne of Fire should be on our doorstep any day now. Riordan's site says the third (!) is due out in 2012.