Panel: Rick Riordan Presents

Grades 3 – 7 Moderated by Dr. Keshia Abraham, J.E.D.I. (Justice, Equality, Diversity, Inclusion) educator. In J.C. Cervantes’ Storm Runner #3: The Shadow Crosser, Zane Obispo has been searching for […]


Panel: Rick Riordan Presents

Authors:Tehlor Kay Mejia, Dr. Keshia Abraham , Kwame Mbalia, J. C. Cervantes


Grades 3 – 7

Moderated by Dr. Keshia Abraham, J.E.D.I. (Justice, Equality, Diversity, Inclusion) educator.

In J.C. CervantesStorm Runner #3: The Shadow Crosser, Zane Obispo has been searching for the remaining godborns with a nasty demon who can sniff them out (literally). But when Zane tracks down the last kid on his list, he’s in for a surprise: the “one” is actually a pair of twins, and they’re trying to prevent a mysterious object from falling into the wrong hands. So Zane and his friends embark on their most treacherous mission yet – a mission that, with one blunder, could change history as we know it, and worse, destroy the universe.

Tristan Strong, just back from a victorious but exhausting adventure in Alke, the land of African American folk heroes and African gods, is suffering from PTSD. But there’s no rest for the weary when his grandmother is abducted by a mysterious villain out for revenge. Tristan must return to Alke – and reunite with his loud-mouthed sidekick, Gum Baby – in order to rescue Nana and stop the culprit from creating further devastation in Kwame Mbalia’s Tristan Strong Destroys the World.

In Tehlor Kay Mejia’s Paola Santiago and the River of Tears, space-obsessed 12-year-old Paola Santiago and her two best friends, Emma and Dante, know the rule: Stay away from the river. Her mother is constantly warning her about La Llorona, the wailing ghost woman who wanders the banks of the Gila at night, looking for young people to drag into its murky depths. Pao organizes a meetup to test out her new telescope near the Gila, since it’s the best stargazing spot. But when Emma doesn’t arrive and Pao sees a shadowy figure in the reeds, it seems like maybe her mom was right …

Tehlor Kay Mejia

Tehlor Kay Mejia is the author of the young adult fantasy novel We Set the Dark on Fire, as well as its sequel, We Unleash the Merciless Storm, and Miss Meteor (co-written with National Book Award nominee Anna-Marie McLemore). Her work has been featured in Seventeen, Cosmopolitan, and O by Oprah Magazine’s. Paola Santiago and the River of Tears (Rick Riordan Presents) is a thrilling fantasy adventure based on the Mexican legend of La Llorona (the Crying Woman). Space-obsessed 12-year-old Paola “Pao” Santiago and her two best friends, Emma and Dante, know the rule: Stay away from the river. It’s all they’ve heard since a schoolmate of theirs drowned a year ago. Paola is embarrassed to admit that she has been told to stay away for even longer than that, because her mother is constantly warning her about La Llorona, the wailing ghost woman who wanders the banks of the Gila at night, looking for young people to drag into its murky depths. Pao hates her mother’s humiliating superstitions and knows that she and her friends would never venture into the water, so she organizes a meet-up to test out her new telescope near the river, the best stargazing spot. But when Emma never arrives and Pao sees a shadowy figure in the reeds, it seems like maybe her mom was right. Pao has always relied on science to face the world, but to find her friend she will have to enter the world of her nightmares, which include mind-bending monsters, and relentless spirits controlled by a terrifying force that defies both logic and legend. Booklist, in a starred review, said “This fast-paced journey into Latinx folklore, with its clever protagonist, is sure to keep readers turning pages into the night.”

Dr. Keshia Abraham

Dr. Keshia Abraham is a scholar and J.E.D.I (Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion) educator committed to facilitating personal and organizational development and intercultural growth especially in international education.  An elected Council member at the Forum on Education Abroad, Dr. Abraham has collaborated on working groups, presented at forums, seminars, and conferences on both international education and African (diaspora) literature all over the world.  She is a Fulbright scholar and Mellon fellow in addition to other academic accolades. Dr. Abraham earned a PhD in Comparative Literature with an emphasis on Postcolonial literature and culture (specifically African Diaspora Women’s Literature) and Popular Education and her Bachelor’s degree in English (emphasis on Women’s Studies) at Spelman College.

Kwame Mbalia

Kwame Mbalia is the New York Times best-selling author of Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky.  Tristan Strong Destroys the World (Rick Riordan Presents) is the second book in the trilogy. Just back from a victorious but exhausting adventure in Alke, the land of African American folk heroes and African gods, Tristan Strong is suffering from PTSD. But there’s no rest for the weary when his grandmother is abducted by a mysterious villain out for revenge. Tristan must return to Alke, reunite with his loud-mouthed sidekick, Gum Baby to rescue Nana and stop the culprit from creating further devastation. Anansi, now a “web developer” in Tristan’s phone, is close at hand to offer advice, and several new folk heroes will aid Tristan in his quest, but he will only succeed if he can figure out a way to sew broken souls back together. Kirkus Reviews, in a starred review, called it “Well-paced–just like the previous installment–this sequel focuses on themes such as the meaning of diaspora and the effects of trauma, making for a more nuanced and stronger story than the first.”

J. C. Cervantes

J.C. Cervantes is the New York Times best-selling author of The Storm Runner, The Fire Keeper, and The Shadow Crosser, a fantasy adventure trilogy based on Maya and Mexica mythology. Her first novel, Tortilla Sun, was a 2010 New Voices pick by the American Booksellers Association. Jen grew up in San Diego and was fascinated by stories about Maya gods and magic. Zane Obispo has been looking forward to his training at the Shaman Institute for Higher Order Magic where he’ll be reunited with his best friend, Brooks. Then again, anything would be better than how he has spent the last three months: searching for the remaining godborns with a nasty demon who can literally sniff them out. But when Zane tracks down the last kid on his list, he’s in for a surprise: the “one” is actually a pair of twins, and they’re trying to prevent a mysterious object from falling into the wrong hands. In The Shadow Crosser (Rick Riordan Presents/Disney)  Zane and his friends embark on their most treacherous mission yet–a mission that, with one blunder, could change history as we know it, and worse, destroy the universe.

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