I didn’t mean to write a kid’s book.

That is, I knew I wanted to write a story about MOMOTARO (Peach Boy!). A kid’s book was the best medium to do the kind of story I wanted.

Four short years and who knows how many drafts later, I had a book!

PRAISE FOR XANDER AND THE LOST ISLAND OF MONSTERS

“With phantasmagorical environments, flying white rats, a fire-breathing bird, a giant, a snow demon, and other creepy things, there is abundant action. This retelling of a Japanese folktale celebrates courage, friendship, and pride of heritage, while featuring unforgettable characters and leaving readers eager for the next installment in this new series.”―Booklist

“Though the story of Momotaro is familiar to every Japanese child, Dilloway seamlessly weaves necessary background information into the fast, action-filled plot. Xander, a Japanese American boy, hardly knows the legend himself, so readers learn along with him. Xander’s candid and straightforward first-person narration will instantly resonate with middle grade readers, as will his story’s themes of self-acceptance and friendship. Yoon’s comic-style illustrations evoke Xander’s talent for drawing and bring welcome visual interest for reluctant readers. This fast-paced fantasy adventure with a foundation in Japanese culture is perfect for fans of Percy Jackson.”―School Library Journal

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BOOK TWO: XANDER AND THE DREAM THIEF

“Xander and his friends return in the second installment of this series centered on the Japanese folklore legend of the Momotaro. Xander has learned that he is the descendant of an ancient warrior, and his newfound powers are creating an extreme amount of stress in his life. To make matters more complicated, his missing mother has returned after a long absence. Xander is not sleeping, and he must deal with evil creatures, the oni, trying to harm him at every turn. His father constantly demands that he train and be prepared. Xander’s mother, whom he barely recognizes, is trying to reinsert herself into his life after many years of being away. But more than anything, his nightmares are starting to deeply frighten him. To combat this problem, Xander’s grandmother gives him a special baku charm, which is supposed to ease his dreams by taking them away. Xander soon realizes that he has turned his world upside down by using the baku foolishly. Thus begins a new adventure for Xander, who must save his family and friends. Dilloway’s research into Japanese folklore, the well-crafted characters, and the setting make this fast-paced tale perfect for fans of Rick Riordan’s “Percy Jackson” and Jennifer Nielsen’s “Mark of the Thief” series. ¬VERDICT Readers will eagerly anticipate the next volume. Purchase where mythology-based adventures are popular.–William ¬Anderson, Scott County Public Library, IN– School Library Journal

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