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The Cursed Carnival and Other Calamities: New Stories About Mythic Heroes is an anthology of short stories written by Rick Riordan and the other Rick Riordan Presents authors (Roshani Chokshi, J.C. Cervantes, Yoon Ha Lee, Carlos Hernandez, Kwame Mbalia, Rebecca Roanhorse, Tehlor Kay Mejia, Sarwat Chadda, and Graci Kim) which center around both characters from their previous books, and new heroes.


On his Tower of Nero tour in October 2020, Rick Riordan announced[1] that he and the Rick Riordan Presents authors would be writing short mythology-based stories in an anthology focusing on the theme of heroes; later, on January 24 2021, Rick Riordan publicly revealed[2] the official title, and said that his short story would focus on Irish mythology and be titled, "My Life as a Child Outlaw".

On March 4, 2021, Becky Riordan revealed the cover-in-progress on Twitter.[3]

On March 5, 2021, Kwame Mbalia posted on Twitter about his upcoming projects, and retweeted a responder to tell them that Cursed Carnival would be an anthology where we would learn more about Gum Baby; he also revealed her middle initials.[4] Later that day, he also Tweeted two pics -- one of the cover, and one of the start of his story -- which revealed the name of his short story: The Gum Baby Files.[5]

On March 25, 2021, J.C. Cervantes posted on Instagram a picture of the cover and the first page of her story, showing it was titled 'The Cave of Doom', and in the caption she said she was excited to revisit Zane's world and create a bridge to Ren's spinoff, Throne of Sand.[6] On her story, she posted a picture of the cover and wrote the name of Brooks besides the hawk.

On April 8, 2021, Graci Kim retweeted[7] an image ReadRiordan had posted[8] about an hour earlier of the finalized Cursed Carnival cover, and added that her story would be titled "My Night at the Gifted Carnival" and would be set one year before The Last Fallen Star, acting almost like an origin story for Riley Oh.

On April 12, an interview on Color the Shelves with Graci Kim was published[9] in which she revealed that her story would be about Riley and Hattie going to the Gifted Carnival, a magical fair that only comes once a year, and the two girls finding themselves in a race against time to save the innocent children at the carnival from the evil grips of an egg ghost, despite Riley wanting to lay low.


Best-selling author Rick Riordan presents ten new stories--including one of his own--about beloved heroes that sprang from the imaginations of some of the best middle grade authors working today.

A cave monster . . . an abandoned demon . . . a ghost who wants to erase history . . . a killer commandant . . . These are just some of the challenges confronting the young heroes in this highly entertaining anthology. All but one of the heroes previously starred in a popular book from Rick Riordan Presents.

You'll be reunited with Aru Shah, Zane Obispo, Min the fox spirit, Sal and Gabi, Tristan Strong, Nizhoni Begay, Paola Santiago, Sikander Aziz, and Riley Oh. Who is the new hero? Read Rick Riordan's short story to find out!

Ten bestselling and award-winning middle grade authors contributed to this collection: Roshani Chokshi, J.C. Cervantes, Yoon Ha Lee, Carlos Hernandez, Kwame Mbalia, Rebecca Roanhorse, Tehlor Kay Mejia, Sarwat Chadda, Graci Kim, and Rick Riordan, who also served as the editor.

The cultures represented by these own-voices stories are: Indian, Mesoamerican, Korean, Cuban, Black American, African, Navajo, Mexican, Mesopotamian, and Celtic.

There's something for everyone in this collection of fast-paced and funny adventure stories that show what it takes to be a hero in any time, setting, and universe.


Calamity Juice (by Carlos Hernandez)

As Sal Vidón and Gabi Real are performing a skit they created for Mrs. Waked's class, The Malta Falcon, they are called by Principal Torres to hallway C3. They rush to meet her immediately and complain about a foul smell along the way. When they reach their destination, they find the hallway covered in rainbow mush. Sal goes to take a closer look, knowing exactly what it is.[10] They relaxed and fell into another universe.

Gabi accidentally landed in the chicken universe forcing Sal get her to the one he was in. The floor was covered in rainbow sludge fill with calamitrons. Suddenly, Yasmany Robles cried out saying he understood and loved this universe.

The Gum Baby Files (by Kwame Mbalia)

When in Jackson, Mississippi, Gum Baby is listening to Tristan's message to the displaced Alkeans as Ayanna scolds her for listening to the message out loud, fearing they would be seen. Gum Baby then rests on Junior's head and the bus they were hiding behind pulls away. The three see a group of campers are Junior and Ayanna's age about the enter the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum.


Calamity Juice

Beware the Grove of True Love

The Cave of Doom

The Initiation

The Gum Baby Files

The Demon Drum

Bruto and the Freaky Flower

The Loneliest Demon

My Night at the Gifted Carnival

My Life as a Child Outlaw


  • This is the first and only anthology book of Rick Riordan Presents
  • Carlos Hernandez's story will involve unicorns[11]
  • My Night at the Gifted Carnival is set a year before the events of The Last Fallen Star.[12]
  • In Calamity Juice Gum Baby from Tristan Strong appears.


Rick Riordan Presents
Pandava Quintet: Aru Shah and the End of Time | Aru Shah and the Song of Death | Aru Shah and the Tree of Wishes | Aru Shah and the City of Gold
Storm Runner Trilogy: The Storm Runner | The Fire Keeper | The Shadow Crosser
Throne of Sand Duology: Throne of Sand
Sal & Gabi Duology: Sal & Gabi Break the Universe | Sal & Gabi Fix the Universe
Tristan Strong Trilogy: Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky | Tristan Strong Destroys the World | Tristan Strong Keeps Punching
Paola Santiago series: Paola Santiago and the River of Tears | Paola Santiago and the Forest of Nightmares | Paola Santiago and the Sanctuary of Shadows
The Gifted Clans series: The Last Fallen Star | The Last Fallen Moon | The Last Fallen Realm
Serwa Boateng series: Serwa Boateng's Guide to Vampire Hunting
Outlaw Saints: Ballad & Dagger
Winston Chu Duology: Winston Chu Versus the Whimsies
Moko Magic Duology: Moko Magic
Stand Alone Novels: Dragon Pearl | Race to the Sun | City of the Plague God | Pahua and the Soul Stealer
Others: The Cursed Carnival and Other Calamities: New Stories About Mythic Heroes