Friday, June 20, 2014

When Reading Spreads Like "Wings of Fire"

I've talked before about how much Nat enjoys reading, but this last year at school, something amazing happened. Reading actually opened doors for her.

She has absolutely fallen in love with fantasy novels. (For some good options, check out her list!) One of the most recent addictions is a series called "Wings of Fire" by Tui T. Sutherland. The series includes five books written for young readers which profile five dragons of prophecy, destined to end a generation's old war. The dragons are engaging and the story compelling. So much so, that when Nat took the first book to school, the passion for the story spread like wildfire. First one friend borrowed the first book, then another, and another and another... Soon, she took in the second book, only for that one to begin making the rounds as well.

By the end of the year, most of her class had read the series, most of them reading her copy of the first book. When the final day ended and the lockers were cleaned out, she brought book one, "The Dragonet Prophecy" home. Needless to say, it had seen better days.

The back cover is completely torn off, the front ripped at one corner. Pages are curled and dog-eared and ripped. In short, this book has been well used, if not well treated. When I saw the book, my first reaction was to be fairly angry about the state of the book, and if I'm honest, I still am a little. However, I know that it really did make the rounds, and many a paperback have lost their covers when read over and over again. I think it lived for several months in 4th grader's backpacks as well, which would certainly be of no help to it's condition.

I can look at it now, and feel sad that it wasn't treated better, while still holding a sense of pride over the passion for reading that this story lit in not only my daughter, but many of her classmates as well.

Dragons became the big thing for Nat and her circle of friends as the school year came to a close. They took drawing classes together and focused on drawing dragons. Nat did a research project, focusing on Komodo dragons, and when we went to Great Wolf Lodge to celebrate Godzilla's birthday (early) she negotiated a new MagiQuest wand and topper, each adorned with dragons. Her love of dragons has gone so deep, and my desire to share the world of fantasy is so great, that as I watched Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug I thought: "Nat would love this!" And then I remembered the other scenes with orcs and other grotesque creatures, and thought perhaps we'd wait a while to introduce it.

Next on her reading list is the next book in the Harry Potter series (Goblet of Fire, in which there are again, featured dragons!) but as she grows and moves on, there are so many more great books about dragons for her to discover (Dragonriders of Pern, Dragon Prince, The Inheritance Cycle, et al.) Perhaps she'll share some of these with her friends as she discovers them as well!

In the meantime, I'm going to have to see if she'll write a review for the Wings of Fire to post up here and add to her "Reading Reviews with Nat" selection.

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