Alphabet of Dreams Shadow Spinner Ancient, Strange, and Lovely Falcon in the Glass Walk Across the Sea Dragon's Milk Flight of the Dragon Kyn
 

Dragon's Milk
Book 1 of
The Dragon Chronicles
Atheneum Books
for Young Readers
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Dragon's Milk

“You must go to the dragon. You must leave tonight.”

Even before she hears the words, Kaeldra knows what she has to do. She must climb the mountain, seeking a mother dragon and her young. For Kaeldra’s foster sister has fallen ill, and only dragon’s milk can save her. No one but Kaeldra stands a chance of getting the milk, for she is different from the others in ways she doesn’t completely understand. As it turns out, she’s the only one who can communicate with dragons.

And so begins a dangerous journey that will entwine Kaeldra’s fate with that of a would-be dragon slayer and three mischievous (and always hungry) draclings, called Embyr, Pyro, and Synge.

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A note from the author

When I was growing up I loved fairy tales, far beyond the age when it was socially acceptable. We had a set of books, The New Junior Classics, put out by the Collier Encyclopedia company. My favorite volume was Stories of Wonder and Magic. Even in high school, I would snag that book, smuggle it into my bedroom, and close the door, so that nobody could see that I was reading fairy tales. I loved those old stories!

But later in my life, I began to have some issues with the old fairy tales. Especially the girls in them. Well, this was not the case with all the girls in fairy tales, but far too often the heroine’s main virtues were her beauty and her docility. She would get in some kind of trouble (you have to have trouble, in stories). And instead of actually doing something about it, she would sit around waiting for her boyfriend—The Prince—to solve all her problems for her.

While I was writing Dragon’s Milk, our kitten, Nimbus, sat in my lap, purring and kneading my legs with her claws. Not coincidentally, the draclings thrum in their throats and knead Kaeldra’s legs with their talons.

By the time I was in my mid-twenties, I’d had enough experience with boyfriends to know that they don’t solve all of your problems. In fact, sometimes they actually create more problems than they solve. (To be fair, this is true of girlfriends, too!) And so I thought: What if there was a fairy-taleish girl who had some grit, some courage, so that she could solve her own problems?

But then I thought: What did I ever do when I was growing up that required courage?

That was a tough one. Courage is another one of my issues; I don’t have nearly enough of it. But then I remembered: Baby-sitting the Casey (name changed to protect the guilty) boys. Wow! They were really something. In order to get them to bed, I had to chase them around the house and catch them. Since there were four of them and only one of me, this went on for hours, until I was ready to drop. And yet every time Mrs. Casey called me up and asked me to sit, I said, Yes.

Now, that took courage. (Or maybe just stupidity, I’m not sure.)

But anyway, I thought: What if there were a fairy tale girl who had to baby-sit something fairytaleish … Dragons! A girl who baby-sits dragons. And then I was off and running.

Awards and recognition

International Reading Association Young Adults' Choice, 1991
Oregon Book Award, 1990
Pacific Northwest Library Assn Young Reader’s Choice nominee, 1992 
South Carolina Young Adult Book Award nominee, 1992-93
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