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A library staff member walked into my office. She says, “A book you put on hold is here.”

“Yay!” I screamed, because I knew exactly what book it was.

She frowned: “But you don’t really want to. It’s a children’s book. »

I learned a long time ago that if you’re a people manager, it’s never a good thing to frown at your staff. I frowned.

“What do you mean?” I frowned.

“The book you have waiting for is The Aurelia Curse. It’s a children’s book by Cornelia Funke. she replied.

And she was serious. She honestly thought I had made a mistake (I put my own book on hold by mistake!) and couldn’t want to read a children’s book.

I sighed looking at her over the rim of my glasses.

“No mistake. I want it. And I want it now.

I sounded like an irritable child, but if I could have gone home early to start reading it, I would have.

It’s a great metaphor for many of our clients. Many patrons appreciate the appearance of a book when they see it in the library’s online card catalog. But, when they realize it’s a children’s book, they’re too embarrassed to read it.

To be honest, children’s books are awesome. They are short, for the most part (Cornelia Funke’s books can be long), they can be touching and funny at the same time. The characters are often quite the character.

Take Cornelia Funke, for example. She has written many books, including Aurelia Curse, which is the third in the Dragon Rider series. The first book, Dragon Rider, is such a fun book. I couldn’t put it down when I read it in 2011. It’s what I call a Journey Book. The characters go on a journey and throughout the book they meet exciting new characters.

Firedrake, one of the main characters, fears that humans will enter the valley of dragons, which will lead to the discovery and hunting of dragons. The other dragons are scared but refuse to leave. So Firedrake sets off with his grumpy friend Sorrell, who is a magical furry creature, to find the mysterious Rim of Heaven, the birthplace of all dragons. But Firedrake is warned by one of the oldest dragons to beware of the Golden One, a horrible creature that hunts dragons.

Along the way, Firedrake and Sorrell meet Ben, an orphan boy who accompanies them, and Gilbert, a genius rat who gives them a map. They travel from Europe to Egypt where they meet a homunculus (a tiny, mechanical man-made man), a basilisk, a genie, another rat who can fly an airplane, and another brownie (but this one has four arms) before finally finding the Rim, somewhere in the Himalayas, another dragon and the Golden One.

Can they defeat such a terrible monster, made of metal stronger than anything on earth?

This book had scary moments and heartbreaking moments and at 544 pages there is a lot more going on than what I write here. Funke wrote a second book in the series, The Griffin’s Feather, in 2019. In the stories, only two years have passed instead of eleven.

If you’re looking for something different to read this summer, I encourage you to read this series; in order is better – this way you are introduced to all the characters. And read this series even if you are an adult.

If you’re not a fan of fantasy, you might like to read another children’s book. You can be glad you did.

•••

Susan Miriello is the executive director of the Mifflin County Library. She is currently reading Dragon Rider No. 3: The Aurelia Curse by Cornelia Funke.




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