The Dragon in the Bookshop is a beautifully told story by Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize shortlisted author, Ewa Jozefkowicz, published by Zephr. I’m delighted to be hosting today’s stop on the blog tour celebrating the publication of the book, and sharing a short guest post by the author with an exclusive extract.
The Dragon in the Bookshop by Ewa Jozefkowicz
Inside the pages of a Polish legend, a hungry dragon stirs…The town of Krakow is in danger! Konrad and Maya’s quest to rewrite the ending of the legend and save the townspeople leads them on a magical adventure that sizzles with myth, mystery, dragons and dinosaurs. Will they find the right words and the power of stories to heal broken hearts?
Moving and magical, this wonderful adventure will captivate readers everywhere, and demonstrates the power of stories to bring hope and healing. We will all experience grief at some point in our lives, and stories like this that raise awareness are just what is needed to bring empathy and understanding.
Polish author Ewa Jozefkowicz’s Dad was a bookseller who inspired her love of reading and storytelling. He died when Ewa was a teenager and she became selectively mute in response to her grief. The Dragon in the Bookshop is Ewa’s exploration of the bereavement she experienced as a child and a tribute to the memory of her Dad. In her role working for a school support service, Ewa has experienced first-hand the life-affirming work of charity Grief Encounter (www.griefencounter.org.uk) who support children and young people who have experienced the death of someone close to them – this is one child in every UK classroom by the time they reach 16 years old.
Grief Encounter did not exist when Ewa lost her dad. Ewa and Zephyr are partnering with Grief Encounter to raise awareness of the charity and the book will help promote their work. As a charity, Grief Encounter work closely with individuals, families, schools and professionals to offer a way through the anxiety, fear and isolation so often caused by the grief of losing someone close.
I am really pleased to welcome author Ewa to the blog today with a guest post and an extract from the story. Welcome to the blog Ewa!
“The Dragon in the Bookshop is a story about grief, hope, the healing power of nature, and the realisation that the people we love are never truly gone. They’re in so many elements of what we do every day – in the things we say, the decisions we make, even the books we read. The main character in the story is Kon, who stops speaking after his dad’s death and is struggling at school. But things begin to change when he meets Maya on the beach that he used to explore with Dad. Later, they go to visit his Dad’s bookshop together, and get whisked away on a magical adventure through one of the books that Kon used to enjoy reading with him.
Below is an extract from the story, which describes the moment in which they find themselves in the bookshop, before strange things begin to happen.”
Being in the bookshop with Maya was fun. I was rediscovering the magic that Dad always spoke about.
“What’s this one?” she asked, pulling out a book from the middle of the pile, “Look at it – it’s beautiful.”
She handed it to me and I ran my fingers over the silky green cover. It shimmered in the light. And then my heart stopped. There were tiny footprints embossed in gold round the edge of it, shaped just like the print that I’d found. I turned the book over and checked the spine, but there was no title. It was obvious that the book wasn’t new, like all the others in this bookshop. In fact, it looked very old. When I dared to open the cover, I found thinned, yellow paper and a sweet, musty smell.
I flipped over to the title page and there I saw a picture of the dragon. It was so detailed and intricate that you could see every muscle in its body. Just looking at its eyes made my stomach suddenly heavy with fear. It wasn’t just any dragon – it was the one from Vavel Castle. The legend that Dad had always read to me. He must have somehow found a special edition. Maybe he’d been waiting to give it to me for my birthday.
I turned the pages greedily, recognising every word of the story, but seeing it somehow in a new light. Maybe it was something about the illustrations at the end of every paragraph, or the strange print that looked like old fashioned writing. I had a peculiar sense that the light around me was changing as I read, but all I knew is that I desperately wanted to get to the end.
“Konrad?” It was Maya’s voice but at the same time it didn’t sound like her at all. It wasn’t cheerful and carefree. It was small and shaky and scared.
I glanced up. She was still there next to me. I was still standing holding a book. There were still shelves of other books around us and a wooden floor beneath our feet, but we weren’t in Dad’s bookshop anymore. We were somewhere else entirely.
Find out more here readzephyr.com/books/9781801109185 .
Grief Encounter provide immediate support with a FREEPHONE Grieftalk helpline 0808 802 0111 open Mon-Fri 9am-9pm, a live chat via their website or support by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
With thanks to Fritha and the team at Zephr for inviting me to participate in the blog tour. Follow the rest of the tour here: