“Do You Want to See my Dragon…?”

For as long as I can remember, John has loved dragons. Toy dragons, lego dragons, dragons in books, he loves them all. But the ones he loves the most are the dragons that for some magical reason, become real…

When he was five or so, we would use our hands to fly toy dragons through the air. He spoke very few words but in the imagination of our play, we both understood that the toy dragons were much more than what they seemed to be…

Maybe a couple of years later, we would search for little bits of lost lego fire. John had two lego dragons, a green one and a black one. Once the fires were found, he would carefully place the tiny lego pieces into the mouths of the two dragons. His words were limited to a few simple sentences but seeing the mighty dragons breath fire again, in our world, we knew to agree that the lego dragons had an extraordinary life of their own..

John was older when I read a book to him about a boy who became a dragon rider. Maybe it was that story that inspired him years later and not so long ago, to create an idea for a future book about a different boy named Navi and a dragon named Bree. His very own story that has yet to be written and illustrated but often sparks loops of conversation from John as together we imagine his very own storybook dragon coming to life…

Today, John is spending time with a new dragon. “Do you want to see my dragon?” He asks, and I sit down beside him. We’re mostly silent but smile-worthy excited as we look at his drawing of a magical sand dragon that has mysteriously appeared on the beach of Seaside, Oregon. The dragon is pretend of course and it really isn’t in Seaside. However one thing is clear to both of us. In the story of “Sandman of Seaside,” the sand dragon that I wrote of, the one that John has illustrated, like all of the dragons of our life that have come before, is thoughtfully being sketched from our imaginations into something very  real…

“Sandman of Seaside,” by Chris Fraser, illustrated by John Fraser, (author and illustrator of “Bean and Pocket, The Story of the Hummingbird Elixir,”), to be published soon.

Chris…

My daughter Dani likes to put books on hold at our neighborhood library. Lot’s of them…. Because of this I often receive email notices that the books have arrived and are waiting for her to pick up and check out.

Today she had a special one to show off to her brother John ….

“WAIT! Do they REALLY have Bean and Pocket at the LIBRARY?”

John yelled as he walked through the glass doors leading into the main room of the library. Dani was waiting on the other side holding a copy of Bean and Pocket that she had reserved as a surprise for John.

“I can’t BELIEVE Bean and Pocket is at the library!”

Several librarians immediately looked our way at John’s excited exclamation with raised eyebrows but kindly refrained from asking us to use our library voices. I however thought it best to remind John that with all due respect, we should speak quietly.

“I’m REALLY excited… IT’S here…!”

John whispered loudly. Several people looked up from books they were reading to find out what the commotion was about. The expressions on the faces of the librarians watching us turned to curiosity when I whipped out my camera to take a couple quick photos.

“Bean and Pocket is AT the LIBRARY!”

John’s smile lit up his face as he spoke. He had forgotten to whisper and the raised volume of his voice drew more curious stares. Dani proceeded to check out her stack of books, Bean and Pocket placed carefully on the top, her way of letting John know she loved him.

“IT’S a LIBRARY book!”

John said in awe. It was closing time at the library. One of the librarians locked the door behind us as we left the building. We stopped so I could take a couple more photos than off we walked to the car. John sat in the front seat, his blue eyes twinkling, a smile still on his face. It was easy to see that he was greatly pleased that our book had made it’s way to the library. I pulled out of the parking lot, the little yellow book sitting in John’s lap…

“BEAN AND POCKET was at the library…”

-Chris

*Bean and Pocket

sold on Amazon.com 

  CHECK US OUT ON AMAZON!

 

https://www.amazon.com/Bean-Pocket-Story-Hummingbird-Elixir/dp/0692870016/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1493522407&sr=8-1&keywords=Bean+and+Pocket

What to do on a gray and lonely day? A young girl’s imagination collides with a hummingbird’s magic and an unexpected offer to fly away on an adventure unlike any other. Where rain turns into sunlight, and the colors of the rainbow are reflected in the wings of tiny birds, Bean finds joy in a world filled with new friends and hope in a a gift that with a promise, is left behind.

Ten months ago I had an idea and a question that began with, “What if…..?”

What if I put aside the novel I had been writing? Change direction, try something different? A children’s book perhaps, with illustrations that would need to be drawn? 

I had my twenty-two year old son John on my mind. Diagnosed with Autism at the age of three, would John accept an invite to be involved in such a project? Could this be an opportunity for him to feel satisfaction in accomplishment, to have something to be proud of, a sense of purpose? What if he said yes?

I presented my children’s story idea to John and asked him what he thought about illustrating it. From John’s years of high school art and his continued drawings at home, I believed in the possibility that he could do it. The question was, would he want to? 

It makes me smile now to remember his enthusiasm as he readily agreed that he would like to be involved. From that moment on, he viewed himself as an illustrator, proud for what he believed he could do. He never wavered from his dedication to completing our project. His sense of purpose has grown in the months he has been working on the book and he has been very excited for the day that it would finally be published.

Today, I had the honor of letting my son John know that his wish for the story I had written, the one that he believed in himself to illustrate, has come true.

Very thankful to be in this moment and may I never forget to believe in the “What if’s…”

Chris