Darien and the Lost Paints of Telinoria

Jeanna Kunce, (art by Craig Kunce)

Hardcover, 192 pages, 30 b/w illustrations

eBook also available

Ages 8–12


$4.99 eBook

$16 Softcover

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Darien is a creative ten-year-old girl who, like many of us, wishes to escape her dull and predictable life. She loves to read, draw, and daydream, despite her parents’ efforts to teach her to be practical. But when a stormy day brings Darien together with her peculiar neighbor, strange things begin to happen. Miss Mildred–or Miss Mildew, as she is called behind her back–lives across the street from Darien. Old-fashioned and stern, Miss Mildred agrees to babysit Darien for the day and shares her secret box of mysterious paints. Using the power of her imagination and her painting skills, Darien creates a doorway to another world; a world full of turmoil and unrest. She unexpectedly finds herself in the other world, caught up in a quest to find justice for dragons and humans alike. Come along with Darien on a magical adventure as she encounters bizarre creatures, confronts a bad-tempered dragon, flees from a wicked king, attempts a daring rescue, and tries to find the courage to believe in something real–herself.


Product Details
ISBN 13: 9780984482863
Publisher: Windhill Books LLC
Publication Date: November 1, 2014
Pages: 192
Series: Darien - Book 1
Product dimensions: 5.75" (w) x 8.75" (h) x 1" (d)

Features 30 Illustrations Inside

Free Crosswords and Learning Activites
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Meet the Author

Jeanna Kunce
As a child, Jeanna spent her free time in the woods with a backpack full of adventure supplies, snacks, and books. When all her books at home were read—some multiple times—she began writing her own stories. She fondly remembers passing her days reading and writing under the trees that shadowed the bubbly little creek near her house. As an adult, she worked as a graphic designer and art director, and now spends many gratifying hours teaching her two energetic and creative children. When they’re not “doing school,” Jeanna and her family enjoy gardening, building, cooking, and having art time. The idea for Darien began ten years ago, first as a daydream, then a hobby. Finally it flourished into a passion, more of a calling than a career. “The story seemed to take on a life of its own,” Jeanna says. “The really great part was when I would write something completely spontaneous. I would look back in surprise, thinking, wow, I never planned for that to happen, but it feels right to me. That creative flow has an almost magical aspect to it—if you believe in magic, that is,” she adds with a wink. Jeanna lives in Wisconsin, nestled between tree-covered bluffs and the Mississippi River, with her husband and children. She hopes to inspire a love of reading, daydreaming, and creativity through her stories.



Meet the Illustrator

Craig Kunce
Hello—I’m a dad, artist, author, and educator. I’ve always been an artist who loves a good story. So it was only a matter of time before I found himself writing and illustrating books. I began creating my books to share funny stories and pass along valuable life lessons to my own children. I am pleased that other parents and children are growing to like them too. I hope my books bring families together to read, laugh, and think about wild ideas! My main goal is always a fun and engaging story. But I also want each book to gently introduce readers to important life lessons. These lessons include self-confidence, friendship, family, happiness, community, responsibility, pride, and not following the crowd.




Gr 4–6—Ten-year-old Darien tries her best not to be a disappointment to her parents by escaping into a world of daydream, but when the neighborhood witch is asked to babysit her at the last moment, adventure begins. After trying to figure out how to spend her rainy afternoon, Darien finally settles on an art project using concentrated paints in a mysterious old box and wrapping paper supplied by her babysitter, Miss Millie (or, as Darien thinks of her, “Miss Mildew”). The more Darien paints, the more her painting becomes alive—until she falls into the painting and into a land where she is challenged with the daunting task of saving dragons from the wicked King Radburn. In this strange, new world, dragons are captured and killed by hunters because their scales turn into gold. Armani, the son of captured dragons Audric and Brisa, joins Darien on a perilous quest to rescue the imprisoned creatures before they are killed. With obvious nods to Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and C. S. Lewis's "The Chronicles of Narnia," this slim volume is a quick read and suspenseful start to a fantasy series. Readers may appreciate Darien's workaholic and preoccupied parents. They may also relate to underlying themes of racism and bullying. Black-and-white illustrations interspersed throughout help move the story along. A strong debut with a confident female protagonist. —Gwen Collier, Buffalo and Erie County Public Library, NY, for School Library Journal


After 10-year-old Darien’s babysitter cancels, her parents have a neighbor, Miss Mildred (“old Miss Mildew” to Darien), watch her for the afternoon. What could have been a dreary day stuck indoors transforms into an adventure when Miss Mildred gives Darien a mysterious set of paints; as Darien begins creating a forest landscape, she enters the painting and an enchanted world populated by talking dragons. After winning the trust of a dragon named Amani (dragons are suspicious of humans, who capture them to melt their scales into gold, Amani tells Darien), she accompanies him on a perilous mission to rescue his parents and to help end a rift between dragons that have mated across color lines and those still clinging to ancient tradition. First-time author Jeanna Kunce creates a thoughtfully developed universe with medieval and fantastical elements (the walls of an underground city are lit by tubes filled with luminescent fish). Craig Kunce’s delicately etched b&w illustrations help add to the magic of a fantasy starring a heroine empowered to do the right thing. Ages 8–up. —Publishers Weekly



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