Gary Paulsen, Rick Riordan and Mom

My kids read.

A lot.

If you were to get my kids a gift card to the book store, or a pre-paid Nook account, or say, their very own hardback series of Rick Riodan’s work, they’d pretty much think you were an angel from Heaven.

My eight-year old has been hauling around Great Expectations.

Yeah, they’re those kind of kids.


And they don’t mess around with junk. They can sniff out literature twaddle from a mile away and have z-e-r-o patience for it. They’ve brought me books from their Battle of the Books pile before, tossing it on the desk and rolling their eyes when I asked how it was. These are books chosen by our nation’s top librarians y’all.

If we wanted to label here, we could maybe go so far to say my kids are book snobs.

So when their mama’s book came in the mail this weekend, they naturally all wanted to grab a copy and go hole up and read it.

Now can I interject here that they’ve read the story already. Heck, they LIVED the story right? And as a family, we spent some time reading it aloud before it went off into the wilds of publication. They know this thing inside out.

But their very own copy of their very own Mama’s book?


What young reader could resist that right?

So last night, from the dog pile of kids and parents and prayers, all snuggaboo on the big bed before tuck-in, I was surprised that instead of the normal good-night talk, my oldest started a conversation by saying “Mom I did something I never thought I’d be able to do.”

“Ohhh? What’s that?”

“I just took myself out of our story and read it like I’d never heard the story before.”

“Wow. You were able to do that?”

“Yeah. I didn’t think I would be able to, but I did and I read it like I wasn’t in it and you know what? It’s a really good story!”

My face flushed a little like the sweet bakers on Cupcake Wars when the stingy-to-compliment-them Florian says youhr buttuhr cweam fhrosting dahnced like a balluhreena eenn my mowth.

“Wow son. That means a lot coming from you.”

“No, really Mom.” The kid keeps going and I’m standing there like an eager freshman when the senior decides to talk to you in the hall. “It just read like a really great story, like one I’d normally read even if my mom didn’t write it.”

I’m beaming now I’m sure and all this praise from my cut and dry twelve-year old man child is going to my head so I push it one more and prepare myself for the letdown.

“How would you compare it to say….Gary Paulsen?”

Gary Paulsen is this kid’s all time favorite author. There isn’t a book Gary’s written that my kid hasn’t read, most of them at least three times.

I feel bad that I’ve maybe pushed him too far and have forced him to put his loyalties to the test.

“Actually Mom, it reads a lot like Gary Paulsen’s stories do. You write a lot like him. It kinda felt like I was reading one of his books.”



My head spins a little and I steady myself with the help of the footboard and I’m sure I heard angels singing from just outside the door.

And as if that wasn’t enough to cement myself as an okay enough author, my daughter (also a true-blue-to-the-bone bona fide book snob) interjects, “Yeah. I think so too. Your book might not be quite as swashbuckling as some of his are, but they were a lot alike.”

I’m not sure what swashbuckling is, or how Gary does it, but to have two of my kids put me in the same league with a long-time bestseller whose work has graced our bookshelves for years has been the best review of my work I’ve ever had and I sit there beaming, glowing I’m sure, in the sincerity of their words.

These kids love this story. They love my writing and it kept them engaged and even if I wasn’t their mom, they’d pick it up and read it on through.

My artist’s heart is full up and my confidence is a little stronger and my author status is a little surer so that it doesn’t even hurt my feelings one iota when, before he heads off to bed, he looks at me imploringly and says, “But Mom? Please just don’t ask me to put it up against Rick Riordan. You won’t do that to me will you? Because I don’t think I could do that.”


No son, I won’t.

It doesn’t even matter. Because tonight you’ve given me a little (a lot) of extra added confidence and you’ve confirmed what I’ve known all along.

That God gave us one heckofa beautiful story when He gave us this dog.

That you are a discerning and wise reader.

That you have great taste in literature.

And that you are lovingly…and loyally…dedicated and faithful to your favorite authors.

2 thoughts on “Gary Paulsen, Rick Riordan and Mom

  1. Kate

    Well I don’t know about the other authors, but I do read a lot. I got to page 7 and I was overwhelmed with tears, it takes a special person to put aside monetary things to take care of someone special that most would not even think about. I am an animal person from way back. I have one of Annie’s puppies. He is the most wonderful thing that has happened to me in years. When checking out the puppies he was the first one to climb into my lap. He is an amazing dog. I cannot thank this wonderful family enough for being willing to share this beautiful dog with me. I will continue to read this book, I know I will love it all the way through. It takes a special person to love an animal so much that they would spend what ever it takes to take care of them. I love my boy, and I love the fact that God brought into my life a family that cares about others, even if it is an animal. God made them also, and I am glad He did. Thank you Cassie for my Riley!



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