Dear Rick Riordan,
I'm pausing in the middle of reading your latest-published book (The Hidden Oracle) to write about my appreciation for you as a YA author and a person.
The way you write child characters from marginalized groups is so important. Kids of color, girls, gay kids, fat kids, kids with disabilities, etc. don't usually get to see themselves represented sympathetically and routinely in fiction, and not as tokens. Not until your books, anyway.
Not only are you an inclusive writer, but you're getting even better at it. I heard/read that you created Percy because your own kid had some learning disabilities. You're a great dad and PJO is a great series. But then you went and did the same for other types of kids, and that's why I love you. The Kane kids were your first main characters of color, right? Those books were fun. You touched on Carter's experience as a Black boy in America, and it was poignant. He wears preppy clothes as a shield. Sadie doesn't even get it (the punk :)), but Carter's khakis and button-downs are a signal to all the White adults around him that say, "Don't target me. I'm no threat to you, I'm like you." Broadcasting that message to white people is something Black Americans are having to teach their sons to do, and now your White readers know a little more. So, thanks.
Your multi-racial cast of characters in The Heroes of Olympus is even better. They're so busy adventuring, but their backstories are deftly handled. I mean, they aren't perfect, but they are a darn sight better than what we've seen in bestselling YA fiction before. For example, this spoken word poem; To JK Rowling, from Cho Chang hits upon a few of the problems that even well-meaning White authors perpetuate. (Oh, gosh, Riordan - I love Rowling. I bet you do as well, I mean, her stories are awesome. But her recent Pottermore thing, History of Magic in North America is so cringe-worthy.)
I love that you're history buff enough to either do history justice, or leave it alone.
You're responsive to the fan community and you know your internet backward and forward. (Apollo as the original mansplainer - *snerk*) I stopped reading to write this letter when I found the character of Kayla's dad. Kayla's other dad, as in, she has two! Thank you for representing gay parenting (even if one of the dads is a god, who are known deadbeats).
Of course there are more types of people that you haven't represented yet. Can you write some lesbians? How about #GiveReynaAGirlfriend? Or do a couple of new characters. I love Meg, btw.
Keep up the good work, sir.