by Sarah Beth Durst, published 2019

“Different isn’t wrong,” Pixit said with such utter certainty that Mina couldn’t help but believe him…Mina said, “I just need to find a different way, a way that works for me.”

Children's Book - SparkAt face value, one might think this children’s book is yet another fantasy about dragons, and children as their caretakers. I certainly thought so when I opened the book. But perhaps about half-way through, or maybe more, it became obvious that the message offered in this children’s book is both universal and timely.

I don’t usually give synopsis of plots, but I’ll offer a short one so you can see for yourself if it resonates with something that is current today: Mina’s kingdom has perfect weather, using various dragons associated with the elements to control all the weather. However, Mina discovers this is at the deadly expense of the outside world. “The truth has faces… And graves.” The adults in charge know it but won’t admit it to the people of the realm. So Mina sets out to expose the truth, along the way discovering that there are many ways to speak out, and that one doesn’t need to become aggressive in order to reveal the lies.

Now, doesn’t this make you think of Greta, and other current political scenarios? And yet, this children’s book was not written as a social commentary. That’s the beauty of it. It is really written as an example of how one very shy girl found her voice. It’s an inspiring story about finding one’s way through the world without having to conform to other’s. And it’s a great story about loyalty and friendship.

I hope many young people get to read this children’s book…now. One voice can change the world.

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