MG (29) Emily and the Cartoon Time-Traveling Dragon by Katherine Jennings

Entry NumberNameTitle of ManuscriptMentor NameAge categoryGenreApprox Word Count
29Katherine JenningsEmily and the Cartoon Time-Traveling DragonJennifer BromhamMGScience fantasy50,000

Tired of being “the deaf girl”, thirteen-year-old scientist and dragon-drawing artist, Emily Chambers, sets out to prove she’s just as amazing as the other kids at her new school. When her hearing aids fail and she’s humiliated in class, Emily flees to the library. While reaching for an art book on the top shelf, she falls and hits her head. She wakes to find a cartoon time-traveling dragon named Brian, who tells Emily this moment is pivotal in her timeline. She was supposed to pick up a very important book that allows her to invent time-travel in the future. But her nemesis, The Man in the Brown Hat, took the book in order to steal time-travel for himself!

Despite the risk of becoming stranded in a past without hearing aids, Emily must travel through time with Brian to get the book back, and fix the timeline, before the Man in the Brown Hat’s dark ambition twists history, and the future, beyond repair.

EMILY AND THE CARTOON TIME-TRAVELING DRAGON is an upper MG science-fantasy novel featuring an #ownvoices deaf MC. The manuscript is complete at 50,000 words and has the adventure of The Star-spun Web by Sinéad O’Hart, and the heart of Song for a Whale by Lynne Kelly.

I earned my B.A. in 1996 from The Evergreen State College with emphases in English literature and psychology, two fields from which I regularly draw in my writing. I have been deaf all my life, and this is the book I wish I’d read as a child. This is my first novel.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

At my new school I won’t be “the deaf girl” anymore. 

I pull my dark hair up in a ponytail and check my ears out in the mirror. They look nice, especially with silver hoop earrings. And…nope. Can’t see the new hearing aids at all! These are way better than my old ones, which were so big and ugly I never wore my hair up, even for special occasions.

Grabbing my jacket (because who knows what the weather will be like in Washington State), I reach for the open sketchbook on my desk. My newest dragon glows in the light streaming from the window. Green and gold wings stretch across the page, red flames edged in orange and yellow erupting from his mouth. I used the new Prismacolor pencils I got for my thirteenth birthday to shade him. The red inside the flame, Scarlet Lake, is so bright it pops off the page. I can’t wait to show the dragon to the kids at Emerson Middle School. They’ll be so busy admiring him they won’t notice I’m deaf. And I’ll be Emily Chambers, “the artist” instead of “the deaf girl”.

After tucking the sketchbook in my backpack, I step around the scattered boxes that still need unpacking—I was supposed to do it last night, but drew the dragon instead—and head to the kitchen. Mom’s on the phone, so I pour myself a bowl of Froot Loops and sit down to eat while she talks. She turns her head and sometimes the phone blocks her lips, so I have to guess the words my hearing aids miss.

“…have the Carmichael file ready. No, not…William’s file. Carmichael. Put it…the top when…done, okay?”

Last week the audiologist said the new aids would be a challenge. My brain is used to the world sounding like my old hearing aids, which were louder but less clear. The problem is I don’t understand the new clarity yet, so everything sounds like a recording, like it’s not quite real.

And way too quiet.

Mom sets her phone down and glances at me. “Your bus arrives in ten minutes. You have everything, right?” 

“Yeah, I’m good.” As I look down to take another bite of my cereal, Mom says something else I don’t hear, and I sigh. You’d think my own mother would get it about reading lips, but nope. She talks. All. The. Time.

While I didn’t understand her words, I sure picked up on the tone, and I know what’s coming. I drop my spoon and lock eyes with her.

“Honey, I’m concerned about the new hearing aids. Are you sure you don’t want to stay home today?” Her face has that anxious/nervous expression she gets sometimes, where a line appears between her eyebrows. She worries about me…pretty much constantly.

I twist my silver thumb ring – it always helps when I’m stressed. “My hearing aids are fine, Mom. I’ll be okay.”

2 thoughts on “MG (29) Emily and the Cartoon Time-Traveling Dragon by Katherine Jennings”

  1. Serious vibes of a series I saw a long time ago. Also love the nod to good art supplies for artists! All artists, but particularly young artists need those!

  2. Reasons I want to read this NOW: 1. Time-traveling dragon, 2. The kid is the time traveler and protagonist, not her adult self, 3. Getting a sense, right off the bat, of what deafness is like, and 4. Did I mention time-traveling dragon?

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