Dragonfly Song

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Dragonfly Song

By Wendy Orr
Juvenile Fiction Ages 10-14
ISBN: 978-1-77278-037-6
List Price: $19.95 CAD / $17.95 USD
Hardcover with laminated case
Trim Size: 13.97 x 20.32 cm / 5.5 x 8 inches
Pages: 408

Canadian Publication Date: October 13, 2017
U.S. Publication Date: October 27, 2017

Distributed in the U.S. by Ingram Publisher Services

A gripping upper-middle-grade fantasy from Nim’s Island author Wendy Orr

A new fantasy for older middle-grade readers from Wendy Orr, author of Nim’s Island, which was made into the 2008 feature film of the same name, followed by the 2013 sequel, Return to Nim’s Island. In Dragonfly Song, Orr weaves an intriguing mythological portrayal of the Bronze Age Minoan civilization on the island of Crete, where subject nations are forced to send youths each year to dance with bulls in the god-king’s bloody ceremonies. Inspired by Crete’s frescoes showing figures leaping over the backs of bulls, and by the legend of the Minotaur, Orr spins a gripping story of danger and destiny that will appeal to fans of Percy Jackson and The Hunger Games.

Aissa is a resourceful and resilient heroine who possesses a mysterious bond with animals. Mute since the traumatic raider attack that took the only family she ever knew, and spurned by a community that thinks she carries bad luck, Aissa takes her survival, identity, and destiny into her own hands. In a world where the gods demand perfection, Aissa—scarred, silent, and rejected—dares to fight for her own worth.

Awards and Honours:
2018 TD Canadian Literature Award finalist
2018 Austin Waldorf School Children’s Choice Awards: Seventh Grade Honor Book
2019 Rocky Mountain Book Award nominee
2018 Sunburst Award: Young Adult Fiction shortlist
2018 Bank Street Best Children’s Books of the Year – Ages Twelve to Fourteen selection
2018 CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens Spring selection
2018 Maine Student Book Award nominee
2017 Kirkus Best Middle-Grade Books selection
2017 Junior Library Guild selection

Awards and Honours for the Australian Edition:
2018 Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature: Children’s Literature Award Winner
2017 Prime Minister’s Literary Award: Children’s category Joint Winner
2017 Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Honour Book selection

★ “Orr tells her tale in both narrative poetry and prose for an effect that is both fanciful and urgent, drawing a rich fantasy landscape filled with people and creatures worthy of knowing. An introductory note describes Orr’s inspiration in the legend of the Minotaur, but her story is no retelling but a meditation on rejection and acceptance, on determination and self-determination. The shifts between poetry and prose build tension just as surely as the bull dances do. As mesmerizing as a mermaid’s kiss, the story dances with emotion, fire, and promise.”—Kirkus ★ Starred Review

“The Bronze Age setting makes for a unique backdrop, and Aissa is a sympathetic character. Her struggles are heartrending, and made more so by the lyrical storytelling style. The descriptions of the dances are especially vivid. VERDICT Hand-sell this unusual tale to fans of Shannon Hale’s historical fantasies.”—School Library Journal

“A retelling of the legend of the Minotaur, Orr tells Aissa’s tale in a lyrical mix of narrative poetry and prose, using lush, vivid language to create an unparalleled fantasy world full of life and lively characters. While young readers with a special interest in history will immediately be drawn into this meticulously researched, literary story, its fast-paced, adventurous, epic feel will undoubtedly appeal to all readers.”—Booklist

“The narrative style shifts between straightforward, lyrical prose and imagistic free-verse poetry, a technique that infuses the story with a dreamlike atmosphere. Both forms advance the action, but the poetry enhances the sense of intimacy by focusing attention on Aissa’s impressionistic views of the world and her sense of isolation among the people who fear, bully, and reject her. Her ultimate triumph is credibly compromised, making this an unusually thoughtful offering in the middle-school mythology genre.”—Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

[4/4 stars]…Wendy Orr’s Dragonfly Song is a work of beauty. From the stunning cover to the mythological imagery and lyrical prose, readers are drawn in and carried along on an intense ride….Orr’s language is gripping and enchanting, and Dragonfly Song would make a perfect read-aloud chapter book for middle grade teachers. While the academic cross curricular subject areas are obvious, including history, mythology, religion, spirituality, even bullying, I enjoyed this story simply as a pleasure read. Readers will find that Dragonfly Song and its fearless heroine will stick with them long after the final chapter. Highly Recommended.—CM Magazine

Dragonfly Song is an impressive work of middle-grade historical fiction. Aissa is a brave, tenacious girl, who rebels against the constraints of her life without appearing anachronistic. There isn’t a lot of young people’s fiction set in the Bronze Age, and the details here are lovingly researched, creating a transportive world. Especially noteworthy is the representation of religion in a pre-Christian setting, as the book explores both its beauty and brutality.”—Quill & Quire

Dragonfly Song takes readers on a magical journey…The novel’s narrative structure is exceptional with sections in poetry revealing Aissa’s thoughts and feelings. The cover graphic is vibrant and innovative showing images which represent the major themes of the novel. Overall, this is simply a beautiful book which will definitely appeal to readers who appreciate a good adventure in a mystical setting!”—Resource Links

“This historic novel… is beautifully written in prose and verse. The style is easy to understand and eloquently adds to the captivating story…Author Wendy Orr does a wonderful job creating an enthralling plot for her readers to read.”­—Brigham Young University, Children’s Book and Media Reviews

“Rating: (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5…This is a fascinating story, well-told. The kingdom is so realistically drawn that it feels more like history than fantasy.”—Youth Services Book Review

“Wendy Orr, author of Nim’s Island, uses her formidable writing skills, poetic prose and narrative poetry to bring this historical fiction to life, juxtaposing the old ways of Crete with the changes brought by the invading Minoans. Highly recommended for middle, high school, and public library collections.”—Oregon Coast Youth Preview Center

“Part fantasy, part fairy tale, and part myth, DRAGONFLY SONG is completely gorgeous….Aissa is a heroine to be admired….Aissa is wonderfully resilient, and although my heart broke for her constantly as I read, I never doubted that this fierce, smart, loving girl would triumph despite the many forces working against her. I cannot recommend DRAGONFLY SONG enough. I was sad to turn the final page and leave Aissa behind, but I suspect she’ll stay with me for a long while.”—Kristie Lowry, YA Books Central

“[Dragonfly Song] was very original and creative….I also like that the book was partially written in poetry and partially written in prose. Books are usually one or the other, so I like how the author wove them together. I love how this story was very detailed, as I could picture almost everything. Overall, Dragonfly Song was an amazing book.”—Farrah – Age 11, Kids’ BookBuzz

Dragonfly Song was all what I expected it to be – and, at the same time, completely different. Is that a good thing? Definitely! Dragonfly Song is a magnificent, magical book for teens and young adults. During a sleepless night, I couldn’t put the book down. I suffered, laughed and, yes, cried….Dragonfly Song is more than just a good read. It’s a saga, not just a retelling of the legend of the Minotaur, but a tale of fighting for one’s identity. It’s the story of a strong girl taking her life in her own hands, finding her way against all odds….Dragonfly Song – an outstanding book for young (and old) adults!”—The Reading Castle

“I love the gentleness and the vulnerability in this story. I also love the hope, the knowing that there is more in store for Aissa. And I love Aissa’s sense of good and her perseverance. My goodness, she certainly perseveres….This is a book to give readers that love being absorbed in another world.”—Blue Stocking Thinking

“Thrilling to say the least.”—Log Cabin Library

“[A] well written, interesting read and one that has introduced me to a good author I will keep an eye on.”—David Stringer, NetGalley

Rating: ★★★★  Orr does a great job of weaving verse in with the prose of the story. Many other aspects of Greek mythology also appear in the story, such as sacrifice and animal imagery. Though Aissa’s story is happening centuries ago, she still faces issues that contemporary children have to deal with.”—Jill Jemmett

“With the poetry of Aissa’s thoughts combined with all of the other elements of story, this would be a rich classroom experience.”—Kiss the Book

“This is one of those books that I can’t believe we almost missed….Wow – this is really something….The book was part prose and part poetic narrative and was beautifully done.”—Reading by the Pond