The Dragon in the Bookshop by Ewa Jozefkowicz

Ewa has this incredible talent for creating characters and stories that lift, dive and lift again as, we the reader, tumble headlong into the hearts and minds of them. I am constantly in awe of her stories that highlight true emotion, the challenges of them and the empathy needed from the world to cope with them, all the while reading about a cooking club, a missing brother or a legendary dragon.

Her stories capture imaginations in such a powerful way that I am normally in floods of tears at the end, a mixture of happy and sad, disbelief and awe.

Kon has lost his father, 5 months, 2 weeks and several days ago and words no longer come easily- as though there is a blockage at his lips. There is much he could say but there is comfort in his own silence. His closest friends have stuck fast to him, filling these silences with their own words. His mum is cautious, worried and eager for him to share with her, especially as they needed to downsize and there is talk of selling his fathers beloved bookshop, A likely Story.

When Kon discovers a print in the ground, he wants to share the moment with his dad. Finding a young girl nearby, she shows Kon the nature she has discovered around her and her joy and peace bring Kon’s words out. He shares the legend of the dragon who terrorised a village. This was a favourite of his when he was younger and he knows it very well.

In re-telling it, Maya is disturbed that the dragon was killed, believing there to be a more peaceful resolution.

When Kon shares a book of legends with her in A Likely Story, their world melts away and they find themselves in the actual legend and in the village fearing for their lives. They are expected and welcomed and find familiarity within some residents, ones that will help both Kon and Maya to heal. This is their chance to save, not just the town but the dragon.

Can they save both and return to their world or will the dragon face its untimely end?

Powerful grief lives in Kon and the stages are evident in his actions. Perhaps stuck at anger, Kon needs to release this in order to heal. Maya, new to this town, has to persuade her parents she is ready for school, sharing her voice and friends.

Enchanting as well as compelling, again I was lost in Ewa’s writing and feel this book will stay with me long after I share it widely.

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