About the BookTitle: Diego's Dragon, Book 1: Spirits of the Sun | Author: Kevin Gerard | Publication Date: September 30, 2011 | Publisher: Crying Cougar Press | Pages: 186 | Recommended Ages: 8+
Summary: An eleven-year-old Latino boy wins a district-wide writing contest for sixth graders. When an author visits his school to award his prize, Diego Ramirez has no idea how much his life is about to change. Nathan Sullivan hands Diego his statue, a handsome, glistening black dragon. He shakes his hand and leaves him to his friends. The students crowd around Diego, asking for permission to hold it.
After hearing the name Magnifico spoken aloud by family and friends, Diego awards it to his new dragon. If he only knew how fitting the name was, he might have known what lay ahead. Magnifico is the leader of the Sol Dragones, dragons that live within the magical fires of the sun. Nathan Sullivan is the earth's connection to the mysterious creatures. It is his task to find Magnifico’s guide.
As Magnifico comes to life he becomes quite mischievous, playing tricks on Diego to embarrass him. As he discovers his bloodline, however, Diego assumes greater control over his dragon and his destiny. In the climactic journey, he frees his people and suffers a terrible loss by guiding Magnifico to their goal.
"Every book by this author is amazing. My son, who is very picky has bought every book. He has read them without putting them down and even asked me to organize having Kevin come to his school. Kevin, the Author is a person doing what he loves to do and it shows in his work and his interactions with the kids. You will not regret your purchase!" ~ 5 Star Review, Adina F., Amazon
"My 4th grade daughter is obsessed with dragon books. When I discovered Diego's Dragon, I jumped at it--and now Kevin Gerard is her new favorite author! For a voracious reader like my daughter, that is the highest of compliments, especially considering her love for Erin Hunter's Warrior Cats series. Her enthusiastic commentary about book one, and her pleading for book 2, had me eager to read it for myself. All I can say is . . . my daughter was right. For any fans of middle grade adventure or fantasy or dragons or boy books or epic awesomeness, this is the perfect story." ~ 5 Star Review, S. O'Donnell, Amazon
"Kids who like dragon stories will love this adventure series. Those who liked Harry Potter, kids and adults, will like this series. I truly believe the Diego’s Dragon series will have readers anticipating new releases and then devouring the books immediately upon release. Spirits of the Sun is a great book for boys, and girls—and adults. Without gushing too much, I believe Spirits of the Sun is one of the best books I have read. If the series holds up, I will be its number one fan, though many others will claim that title. Kids, get this book." ~ 5 Star Review, Sue M., Amazon
My Review: I have enjoyed reading Diego's Dragon by Kevin Gerard. The author has a very laid-back style and obviously has spent time around kids himself. I like the characters, especially Diego and Magnifico. Neither is portrayed as perfect, in fact, Magnifico can be quite spiteful at times and loves nothing better than to make Diego squirm. Of course, could you blame him after Diego left him to be crushed at the dump? Diego must grow up a little during the novel. Responsibilities are thrust on him at a young age that he is not ready to accept, but he does come to terms with these to become the book's hero. Diego's Dragon can be edgy at times, showing Diego's family, like all families, as having its own issues, such as Diego's alcoholic older brother. I salute Mr. Gerard for not making them the "Brady Bunch" family types. Diego's parents are well-rounded minor characters who have very frank dialog with each other as well as their children. I really enjoyed the Latino cultural aspects of this book, as well as the Spanish language being included. The reader is also introduced to a quick glimpse into Latino history, something that will be of interest to readers of historical fiction. Mr. Gerard has given us a book for young children of all nationalities to enjoy. There are funny moments laced with moments of fear for Diego and his friends. I would definitely recommend this book to children, 5th - 8th grade. Some of the subject matter, such as alcoholism may not be desirable to parents of younger children. On the other hand, Diego's Dragon, if read by parent and child, could certainly open up many discussions about real life as well as the fantasy world portrayed in the book.
About the Author: Kevin Gerard
Kevin Gerard lives in San Diego, California, with two feline friends, Jesse the WonderCat and Little Man. When not writing or teaching statistics at Cal State San Marcos, he enjoys walking the grounds at the San Diego Zoo, hitting the waves at Cardiff State Beach, and hanging with his brother, nieces and nephews at the local Pizza Port. He also enjoys playing Halo on the internet; look for him in the rocket games as one of the characters from Diego’s Dragon or Conor and the Crossworlds.
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