For the last few years, James A. Owen has been turning out volumes of his fantasy series, The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica, beginning with Here, There Be Dragons in 2006 and following up with Search for the Red Dragon, The Indigo King, The Shadow Dragons, and The Dragon’s Apprentice. The sixth and seventh books in the series, The Dragons of Winter and The First Dragon, are due in October of 2012 and 2013 respectively. A film adaptation is in development, and the series is an exciting one for young readers, especially those with some knowledge of the classics; at various points, characters from stories by writers such as Jules Verne, H. G. Wells, James Barrie, and the Brothers Grimm pass through, as do the authors themselves. William Shakespeare, Miguel de Cervantes, Daniel DeFoe, J.R.R. Tolkien, and C. S. Lewis share the stage with Captain Nemo and the Pied Piper of Hamlin, among many others in this sprawling adventure based on the simple premise that “it’s all true.” The Imaginarium Geographica is a book of maps showing the location of every imaginary land from Oz to Lilliput, which certain “caretakers” (whose names you will recognize) must safeguard from evil forces.
In addition to his work on the novels, which he also lavishly illustrates, Owen is much in demand as a speaker for schools, libraries and educational events across the country, but he spends very little time during his presentation talking about his work, preferring to use the time to inspire the young audience, encouraging them to take their own leaps of imagination and creativity. He has now distilled the essence of this presentation down into a new book, Drawing Out the Dragons, which he has published under his own imprint, Coppervale International, as an ebook. It is available in PDF, epub, Nook and Kindle versions, from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and the Coppervale website.
Owen has taken it a step further; he has partnered with Kids Need to Read, a non-profit organization founded by author PJ Haarsma and actor Nathan Fillion to promote literacy; he is using his ebook as a fundraising program for the organization. Beyond that, he has decided to give away free copies to any librarians that request it, and has given them permission to give away print copies to children that they feel need it. The details are available on his blog, The Wonder Cabinet.