The return of the dragon – and the boy who inspired it

Don Briggs wrote a children’s book to raise funds for charity. When his grandson recovered from a serious illness, it was time for a sequel

 

Almost a year ago I promoted a children’s book called The Boy Who Wanted a Dragon, written by me and wonderfully illustrated by Naomi Peppard, with all net proceeds being shared by The Cottage Home Child and Family Services and Our Lady’s Hospice in Blackrock, Co Dublin. With a reprint now virtually sold out, the two charities will have benefitted by close to €13,000. I took nothing from sales of these books except the buzz of seeing them do well and raise welcome funds for very deserving causes.

Christmas for me and my family last year was postponed due to the serious illness of my eight-month-old grandson Flynn, who was transported by ambulance from Tallaght to Temple Street Children’s Hospital with multiple viral respiratory infections and spent five days in intensive care on a ventilator with a blood transfusion and specialist physiotherapy treatment.

It was a scary time but, thankfully, with the superb level of care provided by the doctors and nurses in Temple Street, Flynn pulled through and has prospered since. I vowed, after that incredible turnaround, that the next book was going to be sold on behalf of the Temple Street Foundation. The hospital cares for approximately 145,000 children a year and is the largest paediatric centre in Europe.

An illustration by Naomi Peppard from The Return of the Dragon
An illustration by Naomi Peppard from The Return of the Dragon

For this publication I sought support from my immediate contacts both within and beyondmy local golf club and, through their generosity, secured sponsorship funding of about €5,000 which has more than covered the illustration, publishing and printing costs and thus every net cent from book sales will go directly to the charity. I’vebeen doing the rounds of various outlets to encourage them to stock the book and many will pass on 100 per cetn of sales to Temple Street. Meanwhile, the Temple Street Foundation has used its social network communications to actively promote this initiative and has totally supported the fundraising effort.

A recent introductory book tour has secured shelf space in bookshops and other outlets in Dublin, Wicklow, Kildare and Waterford, including Des Kennedy’s Centra, Big Bang Books in Dundrum, Jane Carroll Design in Blackrock, the Village Bookstore in Greystones and branches of Dubrays. There is also an online ordering option and further (ideally generous minded) stockists are sought.

Our minimum target for the charity is €25,000 but I think we can do much better. Naomi, an experienced professional artist, agrees. “The book is a perfect gift for children aged 2- 8 years. I should know, with kids of that age.”

Outlet details can be found on the Facebook page The boy who wanted a Dragon and through Temple Street’s page.

The book sells for €10 and tells, in rhyme, about the disappearance of a boy’s pet dragon. As in the case of grandson Flynn, thankfully the story has a happy ending!

A dragon for Christmas and a charity fundraiser

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