Sleeping Spells And Dragon Scales by Wendy S. Swore

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Book Review of Sleeping Spells and Dragon Scales by Wendy S. Swore

I love the way Wendy S. Swore takes difficult issues and puts them in stories that allow children to learn about the issues in a nonthreatening way. Medical issues are especially challenging, and her newest book Sleeping Spells and Dragon Scales does a wonderful job introducing children to type 1 diabetes and narcolepsy. Swore makes the story fun by including fairy tales and allowing children to look at difficult things from a different perspective. 



From the award-winning author Wendy S. Swore, a contemporary middle-grade novel in the tradition of A Monster Like Me, in which two friends must solve the mystery of Liam’s illness using their knowledge of fairy tales.  

Something is wrong with Liam. He collapses during soccer practice, he can’t stay awake in class, and he’s starting to see a ghostly white fox that disappears into smoke. His parents and teachers accuse him of being lazy and staying up too late, but he knows it’s something worse. He feels like he’s disappearing bit by bit: his strength, his skills, his mind. 

No one believes him except for Alaina, a friend and self-proclaimed expert in fantasy and fairy tales. She’s seen this sort of thing before and believes Liam has been cursed with a powerful sleeping spell. Her journal is full of possible ways to break a curse—stand in a circle of salt, trick a troll, or wish on a falling star. Liam is skeptical, but with his normal life slipping farther away, he agrees to try her potential cures. 

As they search for answers in stories, Alaina shares that she also is dealing with something no one else can see: type 1 diabetes. It rears its head like an invisible dragon, and she carries her medical equipment as a knight’s lance and dragon-scale shield to battle it. 

As Liam’s mystery illness worsens, he will need Alaina’s friendship—and perhaps a bit of fairy magic—to find a way to understand the truth of what is happening and regain the pieces of himself that are lost. 

Sleeping Spells and Dragon Scales is a story about finding courage in friendship with empathy, and how a powerful imagination can help someone get through hard times. 


My Book Review:

I have read and enjoyed Wendy S. Swore’s previous middle-grader books. She’s written A Monster Like Me, The Wish and the Peacock, and Strong Like the Sea. You may read my reviews of each of these books by clicking on their images at the bottom of this page. Swore has a wonderful way of telling a story and making it a safe place to explore difficult topics and ideas. Sleeping Spells and Dragon Scales, her newest book, is no different. 

Liam and Alaina have been friends for a long time. They have become more distant in recent years but have a rich history of friendship. Liam loves soccer. He lives for soccer. Up until recently, he’s been the star of the team—the leader. Something is happening, though, and he does not feel like himself. He gets so tired and has trouble connecting with the ball. Liam feels a lot of pressure to perform in school and on the field and feels like he is failing at both. 

Alaina has been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Although she’s known for a while, she is still learning her limits and learning how to correctly take care of herself. Alaina loves fairy tales! She sees them everywhere. When she and Liam are paired together for a school project, she takes the lead and works with Liam to complete the project and to help him find answers to his questions. 

I love these characters! They are so cute. Liam is determined, strong, stubborn, a hard worker, and tries so hard to do his best. You can feel his emotion oozing through the pages. He tries so hard, but is a little too stubborn, which causes problems. Alaina is so sweet. She loves fairy tales and believes in their reality and magic. I think she explains a lot of life through fairy tales. She is helpful, smart, loving, and determined. When she wants something, she doesn’t stop until she has it. 

Sleeping Spells and Dragon Scales is such a cute book! I enjoyed it. I love how Wendy S. Swore seamlessly weaves these hard issues into a fun and relatable story. It’s great to introduce these difficult topics into a story where they can be learned about and safely explored. Along with the two medical issues, this story also delves into reaching out for help, not being embarrassed about medical issues, being kind to others with medical issues, and the grief that comes with learning you have a medical issue you will have for the remainder of your life. 

PG Rating

Content Rating: PG

  • Profanity: None
  • Intimacy: None
  • Violence: None

Age Recommendation: Middle-Graders (4th-6th)+

My Rating: 4/5

4 Star Review

Click HERE to purchase Sleeping Spells and Dragon Scales by Wendy S. Swore




Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

Strong Like the Sea by Wendy S. Swore The Wish and the Peacock by Wendy S. Swore A Monster Like Me by Wendy S. Swore
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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