Many children who follow Kate McMullan’s Dragon Slayer Academy books – which tell the story of young boys who are being trained to be dragon slayers and their adventures as they go through the academy – eagerly await the next installation in the series. A group of Falls Church boys were particularly enthusiastic about the release of the latest Dragon Slayer Academy book, and not just for the fantasy tales that would fill their afternoons. DSA No. 20, School’s Out … Forever, was dedicated to the boys by the author.
The five Thomas Jefferson Elementary School students are part of a book club organized by local mom Liza Nelson. As part of the book club, the boys were given activities and assignments to enrich their reading. One task was to learn more about the author of the book they were reading, and so the group emailed McMullan.
They told McMullan that they were reading one of her books, and she replied with an opportunity – if they read a majority of her books, they would have their names in her very last book of the series.
But Jack Lindly, Michael Nelson, Jonathan Oppenheimer, Jonah Werbel and Joseph Nelson took the challenge one step further. They finished all of McMullan’s books.
They embarked upon the challenge when they were all second-graders, and two years later the rising fourth graders finished reading all 19 books just as McMullan was finishing the last book of her series.
McMullan said she dedicated the books to these boys because she was so impressed that a bunch of kids were so involved in reading.
“I thought it was so great, to have a ‘Boys Read, Boys Rule’ book club,” said McMullan. “It was empowering these boys, that when they read, the can rule. It encourages them in a cool way.”
McMullan sent each of the boys a signed copy of the dedicated book, as well as an extra signed copy to be given to their school’s library in the fall.
Liza Nelson hosts three book clubs for her family of avid readers.
“It started with my son, who love-love-loves books, and wanted to create a book club,” said Nelson. His younger brothers, Michael and Joseph, wanted their own, and the “Boys Read, Boys Rule” book club was formed.
The final Dragon Slayer Academy book is now out, and the boys had a party to celebrate the dedication last month. Some of the boys were just happy to be having a party, but they are starting to understand some part of the gravity of the dedication – that their names will forever be attached to this book, and will be seen by the many children who will read it.
“I like it because everybody will see it,” Joseph said.
“I think it’s awesome,” Michael said, “because I’m famous.”