Children Learn to Face Fear as Top Secret Falls into Wrong Hands

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With the recent mania over the latest Harry Potter book, children's thirst for magical adventure and dangerous spells is unquenchable.

Have you ever had a secret? Stop, and think. Could you imagine if your secrets fell into the wrong hands? Well, that’s just what has happened. For over a thousand years the Box of Whispers has guarded all the secrets in the Land of Een—but when the Box is suddenly stolen, five would-be heroes are chosen to go and find the fabled chest. One of these is young Kendra Kandlestar, and she soon finds herself swept away on a magical adventure where doors speak in riddles, plants cast spells, and strange creatures lurk in every shadow.

Fairytale? Folklore? Fantasy? Yes, all that, and more. In many ways, Lee Edward Födi’s “Kendra Kandlestar and the Box of Whispers” (ISBN 1933285109, Brown Books, November 2005) is about fear—or, more accurately said, about confronting fear. In the book, all the secrets that the characters hide inside the Box of Whispers come attached with a great deal of fear. As a result, this fear helps hatch a terrible monster—literally, Rumor the Red Dragon. By the end of the story Kendra is able to find that “spark” inside of her, and gains strength by standing up to the dragon and facing her fears. “I believe that, when we face our fears, we grow and become better people,” claims Fodi. “Of course, I didn’t set out to write a book about fear—my intention was to write a fantasy adventure story about a girl who ends up in a dragon’s lair…but I find that messages and themes always develop through the writing process, and in this book, I would say confronting fear is definitely the main message.”

With the mania around the latest Harry Potter book and movies in the theaters, children’s thirst for magical adventure and dangerous spells is unquenchable. “The book has a reading level of 8-12, but it also draws in younger kids because of the illustrations and the story-telling style of the narrative,” explains Födi. “To the youngest of kids, the story is about a girl who ends up fighting a dragon, but older readers will be able to identify some deeper meanings.”

Lee Edward Födi lives in Vancouver, Canada, where he writes and illustrates his own books and for others. He is the main facilitator and mentor for Dream Workshop, a program designed to unleash the creative energies of children. He is a mythology buff and has a collection of funny hats. “Kendra Kandlestar and The Box of Whispers” may be purchased at any leading book store.

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