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Book Trailer Premier: Silver Batal and the Water Dragon Races by K.D. Halbrook

When I was a kid I didn’t actually use my public library much. Like a lot of kids, it was the school library where I discovered the books that would be most beloved to me. And in one particular case, I found a book that stayed with me a very long time. I’m not sure whose idea it was to put Dragonsong by Anne McCaffrey in an elementary school library, but boy was I glad that they did. Though I never would have pegged myself as a dragon person, I just adored that book. It actually led me to the other Pern books with their dragons, which means I’ve a soft spot in my heart for those big fire-snorting beasties.

All the more reason I’d be presenting to you K.D. Halbrook’s Silver Batal and the Water Dragon Races. Here’s the description:

SilverBatalTwelve-year-old Silver Batal calls the desert home, but her heart belongs to the waters. Although she’s expected to become a jeweler like her father, Silver harbors a secret and forbidden wish to race water dragons. Destiny comes calling when her friendship with a mysterious old woman leads her to Hiyyan, a baby dragon that can swim and fly.

Risking everything, Silver, Hiyyan, and her resourceful cousin Brajon set off across the desert to join the legendary races in the royal city. But the road to Calidia is filled with danger, and the trio must band together as they encounter ferocious cave beasts, clever desert foxes, and cutthroat competition.

Set in a vivid, Arab-inspired world filled with friendly and fearsome water dragons, K.D. Halbrook’s middle-grade fantasy adventure is perfect for fans of Tui T. Sutherland, Sayantani DasGupta, and Roshani Chokshi.

So, basically, we’re talking Whale Rider meets The Dragonriders of Pern, right?

Due out on shelves in June of 2019, I was offered a chance to premier the book trailer for this title. But wait! There’s more! I also get to give you a little background information on the title itself. Did you see that part in the description that said it was set in an Arab-inspired world? Were you, perhaps, curious about that? Meet author Kristin Halbrook. Here’s her two cents on the tale:


 

Every book we write is a special endeavor, but SILVER BATAL AND THE WATER DRAGON RACES is particularly meaningful to me. This book called on me to draw more deeply than ever before into my own identity. Silver hopes the way I did as a girl, battling against seemingly impossible odds in pursuit of a dream–the same way so many girls do. And she does so in a fictional world inspired by the crossroads of my own upbringing: a California girl of strong Lebanese heritage, with all the gorgeous art, food, family bonds, and Arab-family quirks that go along with that heritage.

KDHalbrookWhen Silver yearns for the details of home, that’s my yearning, too. It’s a remembrance of my grandmother, the rock-strong matriarch of the family, rolling loaves of Syrian bread, just as I do now for my children. Silver contemplates the beauty of her home the way I once did in California, that same way my family thought back to their ancestral home–a landscape of shoreline to mountain to desert strikingly similar to The Golden State. And Silver faces the wide world before her the way I have as I’ve moved up the coast to Seattle, as I’ve traveled to explore the beauty the world over. And yet, my roots and her roots continue to define and embrace us, wherever we go.

But these are things writers say about their work. I believe that, once out of my tinkering hands, books belong to readers. No matter what a reader sees in this story, no matter what they (hopefully!) relate to in the characters and their journey, ultimately I want them to have fun. And so, despite never having encountered one myself, Silver gets the joy of water dragons in her world. The mixing of real experiences with pure fantasy is one of my favorite things about SILVER BATAL. I hope all readers of this book find their own favorite thing between the covers.


 

Many thanks to Kristin for the reveal, and for the background info on the book.

And now, this:

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About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.