Stacy A. Nyikos
art by Regan Johnson
Blooming Tree Press
Dragon Wishes by Stacy Nyikos is a wonderful book that mixes grief and hope to end with a realization that not only does life continue, but that joy is possible.
The story is the interweaving of Alex’s life as she goes to a new school after her parents die in a crash. She lives with her Auntie Ling and Uncle Norbert who have added Alex and her sister Isa to the their family. At first Alex is so busy trying to avoid her pain and just get through the day that she barely notices the people around her.
While Alex is living through her first days at the new school, her Aunt begins to tell her the story of Ran Shin Wa a girl of ancient China who sets out to find the legendary dragons. Alex latches onto the story, especially the Pearl of Wisdom, as the answer to her grief. The magic of the dragons will take her back home, to before IT happened.
As the story unfolds (Auntie Ling only tells a small part each night) Alex’s life becomes more complicated. She meets Maddie, a girl at school who talks until she is blue in the face, and the soccer teams. As she gradually opens herself to the world, she finally finds what she needs.
The age range listed for this book is 8-12. I think that this is one of those books that speaks to all ages. Anyone who has experienced loss will recognize the feelings that Alex fights. Younger people will hear the story in one way, but adults too will find themselves deeply moved. All the characters are delightful and original; and both adults and children learn from the events of the story.
I found Dragon Wishes a delightful and moving book and would recommend it to anyone.