Hero Training 101: Awakening the Hero Within

3-6 month In-School Program

Every year we partner with economically disadvantaged schools to awaken the heroes within their communities, providing books to each and every student in the programs.


Our performance readings complete with actors and props tie into the students’ curriculum that year, helping them to become empowered to find meaningful connections between themselves and all the subjects they study.


Learning Via Play

Research has shown that fluent oral reading learned through performance reading leads to engagement in and enjoyment of reading for students, and reading comprehension (Rasinski & Hoffman, 2003), and it is one of the goals established in the research report of the National Reading Panel (NICHD, 2000).


First, we match the chosen book to the culture of the school so that the children realize that heroes come from their own community. Each of our Narrative Thread Teams represents a different segment of our population. We are committed to each author’s work, being performed by actors from that community, to the children of that community.

For example, our LatinX Team performs Carlos Hernandez’s Sal and Gabby Break the Universe in our LatinX schools.  


Another black performance reading team performs, Kwame Mbalia’s Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky, for schools with large black student body populations.  


While our founder’s multicultural team performs Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief in many of our other local schools. 


Another black performance reading team performs, Kwame Mbalia’s Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky, for schools with large black student body populations.  

While our founder’s multicultural team performs Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief in many of our other local schools. 


We lead by example, showing our children that each culture is valued and you can become a voice for your community that CAN be heard.


Our trained actors then start with dramatic readings to bring the story to life from the dusty pages. As the team performs the entire book, the students follow along to develop competency in reading words in a text (accuracy), reading the words in a text correctly and with less effort (automaticity), and reading with an appropriate expression and phrasing to reflect the meaning of a passage (prosody).

The kids start to see story as play (rather than a chore) and begin taking over and reading the parts themselves, feeling themselves as the hero of the story.  


We perform with the students in the program for the entire time it takes to finish the book and the relevant discussions inspired by those performance readings. The teachers then take our curriculum guide to finish connecting the book to what they are learning in class that week.


Finally the students become the hero of their own stories as we help them write their own, original stories, where they are the hero and publish them in an anthology so that their voice is heard.

The program is relatable, immersive, and engaging. It is designed to entertain and meet the students where they are, educationally. 


It promotes creativity and divergent thinking by asking questions that inspire more than one correct answer with time for collaborative problem solving and discussion.

The Hero Training runs 3-6 months, depending on the needs of the schools, and is provided free of charge.


Book Your School by calling 512-970-7941.

Hero Training 101 Workshop

Bringing Books to Life...for Educators and Organizations!

45-90 Minute Interactive Workshop

“I hate books. Books are booooorrrinnnng!” to… “When are you coming back to read with us?! I can’t wait till my little brother is old enough to come too!”


For the past 15 years Camp Half-Blood Austin has been igniting a life-long love of reading by bringing books to life and showing the children that, yes, THEY can be the hero of their own story.


How do we do it?


Join us at the “Hero Training 101” workshop and let your inner child out to play as you jump into in the same literary roleplay our kids experience that is igniting childhood literacy and empowering our next generation of leaders. (45-90min)


Call 619-865-3691 to book a Hero Training 101 Workshop for your educators or organization.

Camp Half-Blood Austin

8 week Summer Camp - Both in the Park and Online!

Now training our 15th year of demigods!

Distributing over 12,342 Books and counting!

We make our campers the hero of their own story to build teamwork and personal confidence thru FUN!


In 2005, Rick Riordan published Percy Jackson and the Olympians to critical acclaim, and in 2006, Topher Bradfield brought the very first Camp Half-Blood to life, growing Camp Half-Blood Austin from 55 kids to over 1,200 campers by 2018.


For more than a decade of sell-out summers, thousands or Campers come online and in the park to experience sword training, archery, monster battles, music courses, spoken-word poetry, and epic quests for a week in a state park, living as “demigod” companions of Percy Jackson and his friends.

What is Camp Half-Blood Austin? 

In a world of many pressures to be labeled many different ways, Camp Half-Blood Austin is a safe space where you can be YOU and finally start figuring out who you really are.

It’s a totally, immersive roleplay camp where each Camper experiences themselves as the hero of the original story. The summer story arc is unique every summer and each week is a different chapter. Camp is designed so that each week has a beginning and resolution that all feed the overall storyline for the summer. Demigods can come to multiple weeks to engage in more of the story and help save the day.  

We quest live in small groups led by trained Counselors both online (via zoom) and in the Park at McKinney Falls State Park.


Like Hangout, Camp allows the demigods to try on their heroism, expressing it in a way that is meaningful to them, in a positive, supportive environment.


Studies show that we learn best through natural, organic connections. Bringing in history, science, music, art, current events, books and music, we create meaningful connections that pull it all together and foster a life-long love of learning.

What we’ve seen over the past 15 years, is the Next Generation of Leaders emerging to shape our world (see case studies below).

Book Club!

52 Weeks a Year!

For over 16 years, our founder and Creative Director, Topher Bradfield, has gone into school libraries to share our free Book Talks – where he shares his favorite books in the hopes they will become the kids favorite books. Studies show that talk around the book can be as important as the book itself.


A favorite with the Austin, TX area librarians, he has taken these talks online with a weekly, live zoom Book Club.


Not only do the kids come to see Topher and engage in the weekly, creative contests, the Talks have formed a supportive community of book lovers where the kids are excited to share the new books they have read themselves.

Older readers encourage younger readers and all share their cosplay, art and creativity every week. No matter what’s going on in the world, our kids come together this special time each week to share our love of literature and fun!

Experience a TopherTalk…

Book a Topher Talk for your school at 512-970-7941 or join him online every Tues at 5pm central time.

Half-Blood Hangout

365 Days a Year!

Our private social media platform allows our kids to actively support each other all year long! From Writing and Art Contests to sharing pictures of our pets and favorite books, our kids, who used to only connect with their friends at our summer camp, now have connection and support the entire year!


The world can be a scary place. Sometimes you just need a place to shut it all out and be a literary geek for a while.  Sometimes you need to explore your expanding understanding of who you are and your place in this world. Hangout provides a safe, positive space for all this and more – with a G friendly culture for all our heroes.


Being online has allowed us to reach far more campers than ever as our demigods have welcomed in kids who never had the opportunity to join us at Camp. 

Whether the demigods didn’t have the time or resources to get to Camp, now they are able to join in what had always seemed out of reach. We have demigods who were too sick to run around the park, others who could not afford the tuition or just lived too far away – like Ohio or Wales or Brazil!


We had no idea that going online would allow us to reach those hungering for this kind of connection and we see them sharing books and ideas and blossoming.

Moderated by our trained counselors and staff, we encourage the kids to explore the hero within this safe, judgement free environment.


See Demigods in Action…

Digital Quests Promoting Authors


While in the past, all of our quests had happened in person at McKinney Falls State Park, social distancing gave us an opportunity to stretch our imaginations to bring the immersive magic of our unique stories to a digital format.


For the first time ever, we’ve created digital – choose your own path – quests!


It’s the Camp stories, heroes, monsters and villains our demigods have come to know and love, in a digital story book where they call the shots


Many demigods who had never heard of Camp Half-Blood Austin joined us thru our first quest – The Apple of Discord – and went on to join us in our Online Camp and seasonal events.


The quest has been so popular, that we’ve partnered with some of our favorite authors to write future Camp Half-Blood Austin quests for us! We can’t tell you who they are yet, but they are some of your favorite authors and even Austin local writers!


We love how this new format allows us to reach even more demigods and to foster the love of reading even more authors.


Join the Quest for FREE…

Our Heroes Case Studies

Imagination, teamwork, problem solving and above all kindness are the qualities that set our kids up for success. From Social Activists to Musicians, Biomedical Engineers and Harvard graduates, let me introduce you to some of our heroes in action!