Anya and the Dragon


Kindle Oasis opened to Anya and the Dragon sits on top of my desk along with the pumpkin stitch and two open faced, printed novels.

I hope you’re doing well and enjoying the festivities of fall. We went to a local orchard and picked apples. We had a bit too much fun with it and might have overpicked. And this last week, we’ve baked pies, eaten pies, baked more pies, and yes, eaten more pies. It’s a lovely, vicious cycle.

Last month, Stars for Buttons readers gathered together (in spirit) to read Anya and the Dragon by Sofiya Pasternick. Oh man.


I finished this book in record time (personal record time, I’m not breaking any world reading records over here). I borrowed Anya and the Dragon from my local library via the Overdrive app. But I might just splurge and buy this one; I loved it so much.

Sitting on my desk with acorns and pinecones is Anya and the Dragon via Kindle Oasis stacked on top of two open faced printed books.

Anya and the Dragon is a story of fantasy and mayhem in tenth century Eastern Europe, where headstrong eleven-year-old Anya is a daughter of the only Jewish family in her village. When her family’s livelihood is threatened by a bigoted magistrate, Anya is lured in by a friendly family of fools, who promise her money in exchange for helping them capture the last dragon in Kievan Rus. This seems easy enough, until she finds out that the scary old dragon isn’t as old—or as scary—as everyone thought. Now Anya is faced with a choice: save the dragon, or save her family.

Themes of misinformation, the power in names, friendship, family traditions, and trust weave through Anya’s story with sophisticated, elegant, and adventurous style. Readers of all ages will not be disappointed.

I asked the Stars for Buttons readers if they’ve ever believed something to be true only to realize later that in fact it wasn’t true. Anya, the story’s fierce protagonist, battles with truth, a coming of age moment for her. She isn’t sure who and what to trust. But eventually, Anya decides for herself what is right and true and kind, a decision rooted in her family beliefs. Readers will relate to Anya’s struggles of misinformation, especially young readers to date, as young readers are plagued with misinformation every day.

Writers, journalists, bloggers, commentators are all hungry to be the first to break the story, to write of the big and the outrageous. This is all great--until stories become just that, stories. Truth is hard to come by these days as journalists forget to remind their readers that yes, this is breaking news so not much has been fact checked as of yet. The age of misinformation is fed by the fantastical and the urgent. In Anya’s case, misformation is fed by fear and grief. Anya, a naturally curious mind, seeks to find answers and goes directly to the source.

Her curiosity made her brave.

In true Stars for Buttons fashion, we read yet another near death by well scene. It is a common--and I mean common--middle grade catalyst for conflict.

Stars for Buttons awarded Anya and the Dragon ★★★★☆. We enjoyed the pacing, the plot, and the descriptions and insight into 10th century Eastern Europe. The character arcs were predictable, with the exception of Ivan, but in a satisfying way.

Chapter Two of Anya and the Nightingale pictured via Kindle oasis on top of a printed Jane Eyre.

We hope you pick it up and enjoy it as much as we did. In fact, a few of us snagged the second book in the series, Anya and the Nightingale, finishing it before the end of the month as well.

The forest is thinning and the wind is getting unbearably bitey. Bryan, naturally, is still in short sleeve shirts (Viking blood is strong in that one). I hope you’re doing well and finding time to catch up on some of your favorite books for the autumn season.

If you’re on the hunt for some more autumn reads, I’ve curated a small list of 29 books to read this fall to warm and cozy up your autumn afternoons and evenings.

Stars for Buttons is a middle-grade book club that welcomes all ages and all types of readers. We dabble in classic, fantasy, contemporary, history, all the above genres in middle grade aged reads. Learn more about our book club or the books we read . We’d love to welcome you!

Thank you for reading. I hope you’re doing well, friend!

Love + Gratitude,