Albuquerque author Cynthia Star has so far published three chapter books in her ongoing “The Dragon Flyers” series for ages 7 to 12.
Before kids check out any of these adventure books, they may want to peek inside two picture books Star wrote. Though aimed at ages 3 to 7, the picture books can serve as lead-ins to the chapter books.
The first picture book is titled “What Color is Your Dragon?” It tells how David, a young boy and the main character in the series, finds his dragon. He isn’t identified by name until late in the book.
The question posed by the book’s title is the same question that David’s friend Joe asks him. Joe is surprised when David tells him he doesn’t have a dragon and insists that dragons aren’t real.
Of course, Joe disputes that. He says they are indeed real, and you can see them if you believe in them.
Joe’s assertion sets David on a search for his very own dragon because, as Joe states, a person can’t see their dragon unless the seeker finds it by himself.
Eleven pages into his intensive search, David, lying on his back on a grassy hill, finally spots the outline of a dragon’s head and its wings in a cloud. Could that be his own dragon companion?
The second picture book is “The Moonlit Dragon.” It explains how David names his dragon. While thinking of the appropriate name, he and his dragon train for a flying dragon race.
But can David and his blue dragon fly faster than Joe and his green dragon, Dart? In a race with multiple pairs of kids and their dragons, Joe suddenly screams for help. David to the rescue. But David also wants to win the race.
David names his dragon Moonlight because, according to Joe, the dragon has the superpower to travel at the speed of moonlight.
Though these two volumes are indeed picture books, some of the words and sentence structures in them may be tough for beginning readers to manage on their own.
Star said she switched from the picture book format to chapter books when she realized that good picture books are expensive.
She gave another reason for the switch to chapter books: As they grew older, beginning readers who liked the two picture books would be able to make the transition to the chapter books.
Though heavy on adventure, the chapter books also offer young readers character-building qualities. Among those qualities are friendship, perseverance, loyalty, bravery, honesty, overcoming fear, love and self-sacrifice, Star said.
Star said she was drawn to the idea of kids and dragons flying together.
“I’m a kid at heart. I have a huge imagination that is overactive all the time. And I was inspired to write books that my six grandsons might enjoy,” she said.
The first three chapter books in the adventure series are “The Dragon Flyers,” “The Dragon Flyers: City of Dragons” and “The Dragon Flyers: Land of Giants.” Besides David and Joe there are other boys and girls – and their dragons – who are members of the Dragon Flyers Team.
Cynthia Star is the pen name of Cynthia Miller. Asked why she picked it, she said, “Cynthia Star is who I aspire to be. Star is a great name. Miller is a boring name.”
Her website is cynthiastarbooks.com.
Raised on a farm in Nebraska, Star lived in Wyoming for 30 years, moved to Flagstaff, Arizona, and came to Albuquerque almost six years ago.
“I like the weather here, the blue sky, a whole new culture and I wanted a completely new adventure in life, and I got it,” she said.