Gillian Bradshaw
About the author
Recommended age group : 10 to 14
Gillian Bradshaw
Gillian Bradshaw Bradshaw is the award-winning author of more than 25 books for adults and children, including The Dragon, the Thief, and the Princess; Alien in the Garden; Hawk of May; and The Wolf Hunt. Her previous work for tweens and teens has been hailed by critics as “exciting” (Publishers Weekly) and “delightful!” (Kirkus).
Shapeshifting and gender-switching alien Shakespeare/Tiva is an undercover intergalactic cop who dances to resolve personal conflict. Her accidental and unwitting partner is fifteen-year-old Alex Marsh.
Together, they will try to save other worlds from interstellar Kiaian outlaws who have come to Earth to get weapons they can’t get anywhere else.
The Kiaians have brought with them an astonishing assortment of bloodthirsty killers. But Tiva and her supervisors have a plan…
A vacation in Southern France.
Plans are made to fail. How can Tiva and Alex stay undercover and stay alive long enough to save countless human and alien lives while the outlaws, their intergalactic monsters, and their human druglord partners swarm the French coast?
Aliens on Holiday is an exciting, original and occasionally mind-blowing story of intergalactic crime and friendship.
  • Pbk 978-1-940021-19-5 $9.99 168 pages
  • eBook 978-1-940021-19-5 $3.99
  • 5-1/2 x 8-1/2”
  1. 1.
    Many characters in the beginning of the book believe that Prahotep is cursed or has bad luck, that the bad things that happen to him are his "fate." Do you think people at that time believed more in fate than we do today? Do you believe in fate?
  2. 2.
    The beginning of the book tells us a lot about Prahotep—he is poor, people think he has bad luck, he works hard, and, though alone, he seems reasonably happy and keeps trying. What do we learn of Kandaki at the beginning of "Land of Gold"?
  3. 3.
    In the "Dragon and the Thief," Nefersenet wants to bathe in dragon's blood so he can live forever. In "Land of Gold," Shabako wants to be king. Are there any ways that the two villains seem alike?
  4. 4.
    Prahotep says, "If we reach Nubia and find other dragons there, then I'll feel that I have done what the gods meant me to do, and it will be worth everything." He is not seeking the fame or fortune that Baki expects him to seek. Why does he think Hathor's happiness is so important? Is there anyone's happiness that you would make sacrifices for?
  5. 5.
    Prahotep hates the thought of dragons becoming extinct. Can you think of any species that have become extinct? How does that make you feel?
  6. 6.
    Hathor doesn't want to go to Nubia without her treasure. What do you think this says about her? Is she greedy?
  7. 7.
    Prahotep asks the god Sobek for forgiveness for killing a crocodile that was trying to kill him. What do you think this says about Prahotep and his religion? Would you ask for forgiveness for defending yourself?
  8. 8.
    Hathor wants to meet another dragon. Prahotep wants to help Hathor. What does Kandaki want? What does Baki want?
  9. 9.
    How would you compare the relationships between Prahotep and Kandaki and Hathor and Harakhtay?
  10. 10.
    The action of The Dragon, the Thief, and the Princess takes place in Egypt and in Nubia. Egypt is still a country, but Nubia is not. What country do you think Nubia is in today? What is the relationship between that country and Egypt today?
  11. 11.
    Gillian Bradshaw writes both historical novels and fantasy novels. What elements of the book do you think are true historical facts? Do you think this book is set in a particular point in the history of ancient Egypt, or is it a sort of legend which could have happened at any point over about a thousand years?
  12. 12.
    In the part of the book set in Egypt, there are lots of references to the Gods and the priests, who have a very high social status. But in Nubia, only a brief reference is made to a priest—who clearly works for the king and queen. How do you think the countries of Nubia and Egypt were alike or different? How do their old systems of government compare to your own?
  13. 13.
    Hathor says, "You imagine there's a god for this and one for that—hundreds of gods, all bickering with one
    another … Dragons, and all beasts, know that you can't separate the powers of the world into warring pieces. " How are your religious beliefs alike or different?
  • If you want to read more about ancient Egypt, Gillian Bradshaw recommends DK Eyewitness Books: Ancient Egypt and two books from the Horrible Histories series, Awesome Egyptians and Awful Egyptians. For her research, she relied a lot on Ancient Lives: The Story of the Pharoahs' Tombmakers, by John Romer.
This is a very creative story that powers up your imagination. A very enjoyable tale of friendship and courage. This book is full of action and adventure, and is perfect for Middle graders.
—Arlene Arredondo, Blogger

This was a very enjoyable middle grade science fiction adventure, full of likable heroes and dastardly villains, dramatic fights, and a few good lessons as well….Filled with car chases, alien spaceships, monster attacks, and outer space tech.

The book touches on serious issues: the drug trade, violence, illegal weapons. In a slight (but well-deserved) jab at American laws, the antagonists are getting their guns from Walmart. Other species outlaw powerful weapons, and Shakespeare's pacifist culture doesn't even produce them. Shakespeare's philosophy about violence was one of the best parts of the story. While he considers the rest of his people a little naive for their inability to conceive of violence and for selling dangerous machinery to known villains without realizing how they're going to abuse it, he doesn't accept killing either. He'll rescue a man he thinks is a drug smuggler, because he's a person and it would be wrong to let him die. And like the other Dancers [a kind of alien], he solves problems through communication instead of violence. Even when talking it out won't work and he has to resort to trickery, he makes sure no unnecessary harm is done.

In addition to the strong morals and thrilling action, there's a little queerness too. Shakespeare's species doesn't have gender. Each individual has between three and seven parents, making Shakespeare's five average. He's mostly seen in the form of a male human, which is how Alex knows him best. Shakespeare's boss knows him best in the form of a female of her species, and so uses she/hers. The one other Dancer we see, one of Shakespeare's parents, is (a little disappointingly) referred to as he/him in the narration. This book was a lot of fun. There's things in it for both a young audience and an older one, and i recommend it to both.

I loved this sweet take on aliens. This book reminds me that not everyone is bad and not everyone is good. My favorite characters are all of them because they all have an important role to play throughout the book. My favorite parts are when the characters make jokes or talk about Dancers because it makes me start crying while laughing at the same time!

The action scenes were well written and dramatic. The adventurous side of the novel, especially the travelling aspect - to France- was a nice take on the holidays.

The best part of Aliens on Holidays is the morals that can be taken out of this. The characters, especially Tiva, ensures the message of peace and a non-violent take on conflict.highly recommended.

—Talia Fisher, Blogger

Aliens on Holiday is both funny and exciting, as the characters have to deal with communication difficulties whilst trying to save the world. Bradshaw has been very imaginative when creating her aliens and has thought up concepts that are unique and interesting to the child-like minds of the readers. …Overall, Aliens on Holiday is the perfect work of fiction for the child or young teenager interested in action, science and aliens.

Why We Love This Book
The Dragon, the Thief, and the Princess is set in ancient Egypt and Nubia and features a teenage Egyptian boy and a Nubian princess. That alone really got our attention. We love fantasy books. Harry Potter, Narnia, Percy Jackson, Artemis Fowl—great stuff. We also love history. To quote a couple of philosophers: “Life must be lived forward, but it can only be understood backward”; and, “The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.” But we’ve always wished that there were more fantasy and historical tales with children of color and strong, interesting female leads. And the amazing civilization of Nubia too rarely appears in any kind of book.
And then we read Dragon. When we started Bliss Group Books, we wanted—in one way or another—to find that warm spot, that blissful spot, found only when curled up with a good story. The kind of story that transports you. As science fiction writer Ursula LeGuin wrote, “There have been great societies that did not use the wheel, but there have been no societies that did not tell stories.” We think that stories are an important part of what helps us be; that stories let our minds roam, cross boundaries, and meet strange characters (and some familiar ones), and let readers laugh or escape or feel. The Dragon, the Thief, and the Princess is such a story. We couldn’t wait to get this story to our kids and our friends’ kids. It’s just that rare a bird. Kind of like a flying dragon. The Dragon, the Thief, and the Princess is a story that takes us there—hope you come along.
—Amel Larrieux
—Laru Larrieux
—Alan Bradshaw
—Bliss Group Books