On Percy Jackson and the Olympians

Not Even the Gods Are Perfect

Disability as the Mark of a Hero

By Elizabeth E. Wein

Maybe your brain is hardwired to read Ancient Greek. Maybe you’re struggling to read this book. You wish it was in an alphabet you recognized. You wish the words didn’t look like brainteaser puzzles.

It’s far more likely that if you’re reading this, reading comes easy to you. Maybe you look at the kid in your class with learning disabilities and you think, “Must be stupid–he can barely read.”

Maybe you feel sorry for him. Maybe you’re interested in finding out more, but you’re shy and embarrassed and avoid making eye contact or talking to him, because he’s so different and you don’t know what it’s like and you don’t want to say the wrong thing.

Maybe you make fun of him. Maybe behind his back, so he won’t know.

Maybe to his face. “Hey, here’s a hard one for you, what’s two plus two?” It’s got nothing to do with reading, but it’ll still hurt. It’s an easy insult.

I wish I had made it up for this essay. Unfortunately, someone said it last week to a dyslexic sixth grader at our local school.

Now, what if that kid had the power to sweep you off your feet with a wave of water, dump you upside down in a fountain, and leave you drenched, without ever touching you?

It’s less likely you’d do any more easy teasing.

And maybe more likely you’d want that kid on your side.

In the Percy Jackson books, the half-blood children of the Olympian gods are almost always marked by learning difficulties, specifically  …

More from Elizabeth E. Wein

Stay Updated

on our daily essay, giveaways, and other special deals

Our Books

Subscribe via RSS