Cover Image: Sleeping Spells and Dragon Scales

Sleeping Spells and Dragon Scales

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Member Reviews

When I was a middle-reader, there weren’t a lot of books about type 1 diabetes (then called juvenile diabetes). I know that because my older brother Jake was diagnosed with it when he was 4. Doctor and hospital visits were a way of life at our house, and I would have given anything to read more about the condition in a way that spoke to me. In fact, the first book I remember really addressing it was The Truth About Stacey, the third book in the Babysitters Club series.

Sleeping Spells and Dragon Scales is just one of a number of more recent offerings that really dive deep into the T1D, and it does so with honesty and heart.

*Spoiler Alert* The other condition central to the story is narcolepsy, which author Wendy S. Swore also approaches with great care.

While the bits about fairies and their different magic is entertaining and creates the framework for Swore’s book, it’s the way she conveys the fear and frustration and winning moments that come with “invisible” diseases. She gives those who suffer with them a voice, and that’s what really stands out.

Of course, there are also themes of family, friendship, empathy, and lack of understanding weaved throughout that lend to Sleeping Spells and Dragon Scales broader appeal. It’s not a particularly fast read, but a compelling one nonetheless.

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I really enjoyed this book. It was different than anything else I've read recently. I couldn't put it down! I will keep an eye out for this author's future work!

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Sleeping Spells and Dragon Scales is a clever, thought provoking middle grade fiction infused with fairytale and fantasy references. It’s the story of two friends whose relationship grows after each experiences huge challenges making them believe they’ve been cursed. This imaginative at times emotional story really brought to life the realities of those who suffer from chronic illnesses and impressed me with its ability to both educate and entertain. It’s the first book I’ve read by Wendy S. Swore and definitely won’t be my last.

Liam and Alaina have been friends since they were small. When they were in second grade though, a terrible incident happened involving Alaina’s dog, a fairy’s house, thorns, and a broken mirror. Since that time, Alaina believes she’s been cursed after developing Type 1 Diabetes. When Liam begins experiencing strange symptoms causing him to fall asleep all the time, Alaina thinks he’s been cursed too. Tasked by their middle grade English teacher to write their own personal fairytales, Alaina and Liam work together to find the answers to breaking Liam’s sleeping curse through studying fairytales.

I loved the way the author introduced readers to serious chronic illnesses in a thoughtful, gentle way. Those who suffer from chronic autoimmune conditions like Type 1 Diabetes will most likely appreciate the representation and relate to the main characters. The frustrations and emotions in dealing with these conditions were so realistic and will hopefully help kids who don’t suffer from these diseases have greater understanding and compassion for their friends who do.

Liam and Alaina both experience difficultly when trying to explain their conditions to others. For instance, Alaina has to educate a classmate who thinks her Type 1 Diabetes was caused by eating too much sugar. Liam especially has a hard time because it’s unclear what his diagnosis is until near the end. He experiences misunderstandings and even bullying by his soccer team when the explanation for his symptoms goes undiagnosed at first. Both Liam and Alaina grow throughout the story and learn to help and standup for each other. I loved the way their conditions were compared to invisible dragons they must fight. I also loved all the references to fairytales and fantasy books.

Highly recommend to middle grade readers especially those dealing with chronic medical conditions. Looking forward to reading more by this author. I received an advanced complimentary copy from the publisher. All opinions are my own and voluntarily provided. 4-4.5 stars!

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I found the overall premise of this book to be interesting, but the execution of it wasn't quite as good as I hoped. Not being at all familiar with sleep disorders, this book was eye-opening for me in that regard. The diabetes info was more familar to me, but I still found it worthwhile. The fairy tale elements dragged the book down for me; I often found myself wanting to skim some of the book, especially the parts with Alaina's descriptions and plans for breaking "curses." I also found myself wondering whether the intended audience would be familiar with some of the references in the book--like, I don't know what a hagstone is or what the Cthulhu is, and I doubt either of my 11-year-old twins do, either. I have watched The Princess Bride so I caught those references, but my kids haven't, so they wouldn't. (I also felt like everything with the ferrets could have been left out, as the book was a bit wordy.)
I also found myself really ticked off with Liam's parents; it was so frustrating that they let him struggle for so long without pushing harder for answers (even if they thought he was "just" depression and anxious, they should have tried to help with that, not give him stupid lectures like "I understand the depression and anxiety makes you want to sleep, and we'l worth through this together, but your team is counting on you. You can't just not show up." Seriously?? Way to give the message that depression and anxiety aren't serious disorders but things you can just shake off at will!)

So, for me as a reader, it's was good but not great. I'll still pass it onto my kids for them to try, but based on what I know about their reading preferences, I'd say it'll also just be a good-not-great book for them as well.

I read an ARC provided by the publisher. All opinions are my own.

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I thought it was going to be an actual fantasy book but found it really good despite the surprise. I found the information for juvenile diabetes and narcolepsy presented in an intriguing manner. Also the relationship between the two old friends found new again made it possible for each child to learn and grow with their disease was a great way to present the illnesses.

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I enjoyed this book very much but docked a star because I felt it went on just a little too long. And I felt the resolution was lacking with the way the story was headed.

This is about two best friends who go an adventure when they are in the second grade and wind up breaking a mirror in what is thought to be a fairy forest. They grow apart as the years go by but are reunited when they are assigned to do a project on fairy tales together for their English class. Alaina, an avid D&D fan and hopeful future knight, has never outgrown her love of fairy tales and magic. She has never stopped believing in fairies and generally tries to see the best in the world. Liam, a star soccer player, has his feet planted firmly on the ground and his head in the game. Until he is tired all the time and turns to jello trying to kick the soccer ball.

I appreciated the in depth fairy tale suggestions (one of my passions) and the kids' writing their own tales to find the magic in their lives. The book also takes on type 1 diabetes and another mystery illness that has befallen Liam. I'm sure kids in those circumstances will appreciate seeing themselves on the page. Alaina is a true hero in grappling with something so big and so tough and still determined to live her life. She is to be admired and adored.

My thanks to Shadow Mountain and Netgalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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My thanks for the ARC goes to NetGalley and Shadow Mountain Publishing. I'm voluntarily leaving a review.

Genre: Children's Fiction, Fantasy
Audience: Middle-Grade (elementary school children)

From the title, I was expecting more magic. But I recognize that the author, Swore, writes heartfelt fiction about real issues.

To me, this book focuses more on the illness and the developing friendship (or reconnection of old friends) than magic. It was a little slow for me because I kept waiting for bigger magic.

Things I liked:

- The forge—Making swords
- How diabetes is handled
- The pets!
- Friendship
- Support of family
- Cozy, warm feelings
- Interaction with fairy tale research

I think fans of Swore's previous novels are going to love this! Kids that like realistic fiction will also enjoy it. IF someone is expecting a lot of magic, this isn't really that book.

Happy reading!

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#SleepingSpellsandDragonScales #NetGalley

Liam and Alaina are two friends who drifted apart. Two young friends who face health challenges. Alaina has type1 diabetes and is learning to monitor and face those challenges head on. When a teacher pairs Liam and Alaina up in a group assignment they find a renewed friendship. When Liam starts falling asleep at random times and loosing the skills he once had on the soccer field, he just wants an answer to what is happening to his body. Life can be scary at times seeing 1yourself in the middle of a fairy tale can bring unexpected answers.

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This book was delightful. It starts off with two imaginative kids who uncover a fairy nook and accidentally break a mirror. They drift apart for awhile, but a class assignment on fairy tales brings them back together. Both kids face challenges and together, come out stronger. Also, this book has active and caring parents. Highly recommend.

Thank you to Shadow Mountain for the ARC.

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Sleeping Spells and Dragon Scales offers a unique blend of fairy tales and reality.

The story follows two friends, Liam and Alaina, who both face health challenges, Liam's unknown at first. Using a school project on Fairy Tales, they explore possible solutions to Liam's issues. Alaina thinks that the idea of fairy tales and magic might hold real-life remedies for Liam's condition. Buried in books and stories, they have hope that maybe this could be the key to his recovery. Reflecting on her firsthand and courageous experience with Type 1 Diabetes, Alaina believes she can support Liam during this tough period. Many moments of heartache are spread throughout the book on their quest and their friendship goes through tremendous ups and downs.

Through its heartwarming narrative, this middle-grade novel teaches a valuable lesson on finding strength while dealing with adversity. Wendy S. Swore once again delivers a charming and thoughtful read for young audiences.

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This book was imaginative and fun!
It made for a really good read aloud with my kids. It kept my attention, and they loved the twisty adventure!!

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I loved that this book involved characters with medical issues and then used fairy-tales to subtly teach how important it is to use our imagination to help us get through life’s challenges. The story alternates between the 2 main character – Liam and Aliana. Aliana has a passion for fairy-tales and believing in magic. She struggles with her diabetes, but never lets her medical issues bring down her courage and ability to see how fairy-tales can be used to show us things about the real world. Liam on the other hand believes fairy-tales are just made-up nonsense and wants everyone to stop worrying so much about his health even though deep down he can tell his body is struggling with something but he doesn’t want to admit it, especially if it means giving up soccer. An excellent middle grade novel for all ages as the story teaches about finding courage in friendship with empathy, and sheds light on medical issues.

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First off, what a fun story!! Wendy crafts a story that any kid would enjoy. There's the magic of stories, mystery, and friendship. Mix it in with knowledge of fairytales! It's fantastic!

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I enjoyed reading Sleeping Spells and Dragon Scales. Sometimes things happen beyond our control. Instead of finding blame or excuses, find the magic in everyday life. There is hope and healing all around us. Family and friends are there for us. They may not understand at first. Each will try in their own way.

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I really enjoyed this children’s novel, it had everything that I was hoping for from the description. It had a great fairy tale feel to it and the characters were what I was expecting. Wendy S. Swore does a great job writing this and left me wanting to read more in this world.

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This a great book for teens who struggle with out of the norm medical issues. I loved the addiction of a 'fairy tale' curse being upon the teens that brought them bad luck but didn't take away the factual message of disease. One of the main characters has type 1 diabetes and her struggles to grow up and accept this fact is nicely documented without being over dramatic. The other main character has a 'mysterious' illness that no one can figure out or actually believe. He is eventually diagnosed and the two end up helping save each other when the need arises. It is a wonderful, coming of age friendship book between a girl and boy while shedding light on two diseases. A great addition to any classroom or middle schooler library!

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This was such a cute book! I loved the interesting storyline and the characters were great! Highly recommend!

I just reviewed Sleeping Spells and Dragon Scales by Wendy S. Swore. #SleepingSpellsandDragonScales #NetGalley

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Liam and Aliana are kids with unique health issues. Falling asleep at random times beyond his control leads to many frustrating moments for Liam in both his school work and soccer. For Aliana, low blood sugar in the form of diabetes forces her to be mindful of sugar levels on a daily basis.
Their assignment pairs them to evaluate and rewrite a fairy tale that reflects their lives. Liam is skeptical and believes there is no link with his random sleeping episodes. Aliana believes the opposite that Fairy Tales may have some truth in them. Through their assignment, they learn about one another's illness and its link to the world of Fairy Tales.

This well written story alternates between Liam and Aliana. We feel Liams frustration of knowing something isn't right with his random sleepiness but not having a diagnosis. Aliana is well aware of being on top of her sugar count. In her own right, she is a warrior living life to the fullest. The dialogue flows nicely between characters and chapters.

A recommended read.

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