The Mixed Up Files of Middle Grade Authors blog has a great post on dragons that preempted this post but I actually had been working on this for several weeks. There is something magical about dragons and I’m glad that some kids can keep the magic alive. I’ve gathered my favorite dragon books that range in age from picture books, early chapter books, chapter books, and young adult. What is your favorite dragon book? Please share!
p.s. A HUGE THANK YOU to everyone for their recommendations. I’ve added them to the list under Honorable Mentions at the bottom. Please click on those lists too to read the excellent reviews. I think we’ve done it! A fairly complete list of great dragon books for all ages! Yay!
Top 10: Best Dragon Children’s Books
10. Eragon series by Christopher Paolini
My husband is a big fan of this series which he enjoyed as an adult. It’s the Harry Potter of Dragon stories.
“Fifteen-year-old Eragon believes that he is merely a poor farm boy—until his destiny as a Dragon Rider is revealed. Gifted with only an ancient sword, a loyal dragon, and sage advice from an old storyteller, Eragon is soon swept into a dangerous tapestry of magic, glory, and power. Now his choices could save—or destroy—the Empire.” [young adult, ages 12 and up]
9. Harry on the Rocks by Susan Meddaugh
An afternoon boating excursion goes terribly awry when Harry drops his oars and the tide takes him and his little yellow boat out to sea. A storm washes him ashore on an island with nothing but sand and rocks and one windblown tree. Hungry, Harry hopes to eat an egg he finds amid the rocks, but after warming in the sun, the egg doesn’t cook—it hatches!
So instead of dinner, Harry finds a friend. But just what is the little, quickly growing, colorful, winged, and lizardlike creature? Harry’s in for more than one surprise as he discovers the true nature of the blizzard’s identity and the friendship they share. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
8. Dragon Slayers Academy series by Kate McMullan
This series is Harry Potter Lite, perfect for ages 7 and up. [beginning chapter book, ages 7 and up]
7. BeastQuest series with these books with dragons by Adam Blade
Another easy chapter book fantasy series, but with more of a dark edge to it that requires destroying a fearsome beast. These three books feature dragons, but there are monsters of every kind in the series. [easy chapter book, ages 7 and up]
6. The Last Dragon by Jane Yolen
A gorgeously illustrated graphic novel about the Last Dragon on earth. Unfortunately, it’s a fearsome man-eating beast that must be destroyed and it will take a real hero and a clever scheme to pull it off. It also has a great, strong female character. [graphic novel, ages 9 and up]
5. The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch
I love this picture book about a feminist young princess who outwits the dragon and rescues the prince who turns out to be a jerk. It should be required reading for all little princesses! [picture book, ages 4 and up]
4. The Three Pigs by David Weisner
David Weisner is one of the most talented and imaginative picture book storyteller/illustrator ever! This is a twist on the story of the three pigs and won a Caldecott award. The dragon turns up as an ancillary character that falls out of another fairy tale, but I like this book so much, I included it. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
3. Dragonbreath series by Ursula Vernon
My son bought this book at the school fair. It’s like Junie B. Jones meets Harry Potter but via an easy chapter book/graphic novel format. Pure magic and fun to boot! [chapter book/graphic novel hybrid, ages 7 and up]
2. How to Tame Your Dragon series by Cressida Cowell
To me, this is Dairy of a Wimpy Kid + dragons. [easy chapter book, ages 7 and up]
1. My Father’s Dragon series by Ruth Stiles Gannett
This is the granddaddy of all gentle, classic dragon books in which man and beast are misunderstood and ultimately get along. It’s the perfect book for 2nd graders! [easy chapter book, ages 7 and up]
More Great Dragon Books for Kids
River Magic by Ellen Booraem
Review from Children’s Books Heal:
“There is a lot going on in the fast-paced plot — the death of a beloved aunt, a family on the brink of financial collapse, shifting friendships, an angry and greedy magical neighbor, and a cunning dragon living in the river behind the house. That being said, Booraem manages to pull it all together and create an exciting and believable magical adventure story for readers.” [middle grade, ages 10 and up]
City of Thieves (Battle Dragons #1) by Alex London
Review by Ms. Yingling Reads:
“Action and Adventure is the easiest way to draw in middle grade readers, and has a lot right at the start, and reminded me a bit of the first scene in the 1980s television show Voyagers! Watching the dragons setting fire to trash on the skyline and then having your sister pop into your bedroom window? Perfect! Academy settings, where students have science fiction, spy, or fantasy curricula are always in demand, and this is a mixture of all three. Roa is a good friend, with hidden depths of knowledge and connections. The sibling bonds add another interesting level. Of course, any book with epic dragon battles is going to be a popular title, and the cover is very appealing. This one will never return to the shelf!” [middle grade, ages 8 and up]
Wings of Fire series by Tui T. Sutherland
My son is obsessed with Tui T. Sutherland’s Wings of Fire series. There are also graphic novels for the first three books.
Dragon Mountain series by Katie Tsang and Kevin Tsang
Review by Ms. Yingling Reads:
“Billy Chan has gotten an invitation to attend Camp Dragon, a cultural and language school in China, so his parents ruin his summer of surfing in California so he can get in touch with the Chinese half of his heritage. Once there, he meets an assembly of children from around the globe and “Old Gold”, the man who runs the camp. There are lessons and activities, but also a series of competitions. The children are divided into groups of four, and Billy gets put in with Charlotte, a blonde, girl from the US South who is very competitive, Dylan, who hails from Ireland, and Ling-Fei, who is from the area and well acquainted with Old Gold and his grandson, JJ. When the four fail to complete their first scavenger hunt because they are attacked by a tiger who disappears and then get caught in an earthquake, they find that when they return to camp, no one believes them! Ling-Fei realizes that during their adventure she has lost a necklace her grandmother gave her, and the group goes back to retrieve the family heirloom. They find that the earthquake seems to have split the mountain, but the reality is even more serious– they have opened the portal between the Human Realm and the Dragon Realm! Moreover, they find four dragons who claim that they must bond with the four humans in order to gain more power to defeat the Dragon of Death and the Noxious. Clothed in suits made of dragon cloth and able to ride on their dragons Tank, Buttons, Xing, and Sparks, our heroes set off to save both realms. They face all manner of challenges and find after some triumphs that they have a nemesis all too close to home. This is the first book in a purported three books series.” [middle grade, ages 8 and up]
Dragonfell by Sarah Prineas
Ms. Yingling Reads has a review here:
“Rafi has always been a little different, but he and his father scratch out an existence in their small village, where his father weaves cloth. When two suspicious-looking characters, Gringolet and Stubb show up at their door and talk about cottages in a neighboring village being set on fire, Rafi treats it as a threat. His anger flares… and Stubb is badly burned. This brings a visit from Mr. Flitch, the owner of the biggest factory in Skarth, who claims that Rafi is “dragon touched” and must come with him for his own safety. When Rafi refuses, Flitch threatens to exact revenge on the people of the village, so Rafi runs away. It’s true that Rafi looks a bit wild, and doesn’t feel heat or cold like most people do, but he’s still surprised when his father tells him of an event that happened when Rafi was small. A dragon called him up to the Dragonfell and breathed fire on Rafi’s father when he tried to take Rafi away. When Rafi meets the quirky Maud on his travels, she is not worried about his differences, and the two (along with an ever-growing number of goats) make their way to Skarth. They steal a book that outlines the whereabouts of the few remaining dragons from Flitch’s office in the factory and end up on the run in a vapormobile from Flitch’s minions. They end up at the Ur-Lair, where Rafi is able to communicate with the dragons and find out more about Flitch’s evil plans to hurt the dragons and further his factories. Surprising things surface about Maud and Rafi, but in the end, the villagers in Rafi’s community decide to try to side with the dragons and eschew the progress that Flitch promises.” [middle grade, ages 8 and up]
Dragons Are Real by Valarie Budayr, illustrated by Michael Welply
I always suspected that certain picture books give dragons an undeserved bad rap. This delightful picture book clears up dangerous and misleading misconceptions about dragons. Dragons, as it turns out, are gentle creatives that love sweets, hoard books, and, most certainly, are real! I’m getting the word out to my kids! [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin, illustrated by Daniel Salmieri
This is a silly and funny dragon picture book sure to delight kids especially those who also like tacos. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
The Book Dragon by Kell Andrews, illustrated by Eva Chatelain
Young Rosehilda’s village has no books because a dragon snatches them away at hight to add to its horde. When Rosehilda buys a book and reads her first story, she’s delighted. In the morning, her book is gone so she sets off to the Book Dragon to get it back. It turns out the dragon is misunderstood. When Rosehilda helps the dragon sort the pile of books to find her book, she ends up borrowing other books instead. This gives her an idea … [picture book, ages 4 and up]
There’s a Dragon in Your Book by Tom Fletcher, illustrated by Greg Abbott
This is a fun picture book that interacts with the reader by letting us in on a dragon hatching. Did we hatch the dragon by turning the page? And now, what to do with the dragon’s fire? Whatever you do, be careful turning the pages! [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Be A Good Dragon by Kurt Cyrus
Enzo the dragon descends on a village and everyone is scared. It’s not that Enzo is a terrible dragon, it’s that he has a terrible cold. This fun rhyming picture book gives great advice for a fire-sneezing dragon, as well as anyone who is sick. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Dragon Masters series by Tracey West
Summoned by the king, young Drake is chosen to be a Dragon Master along with a few other kids. Each has the heart of a dragon … and their own dragon to bond with. Drake’s dragon Worm doesn’t seem to have a special skill like the other dragons. It’s up to Drake to find out how to bring out his dragon’s fighting spirit but in doing so, he discovers much more about the king and his motives. [early chapter book, ages 6 and up]
The book looks a lot longer than it actually is because 1/4 of the book is a promo for the other books in the series. Using a format of letters back and forth, Edward, Emily, and their mum look after Uncle Morton’s unusual pet for a week while he is away. The pet dragon turns out to be a handful so Eddie emails his concerns to his uncle who, unfortunately, doesn’t get back. This is a funny early chapter book on a pet sitting adventure! [early chapter book, ages 6 and up]
Silver Batal and the Water Dragon Races by K. D. Halbrook
Review by Ms. Yingling Reads:
“Silver comes from a family of jewelers in the desert community of Jaspaton, and is expected to follow the family trade, but she really wants to be a water dragon racers like her idol, Saggitaria Wonder. Her cousin and best friend, Brajon, is supportive of her but realizes it will be very difficult for her to pursue this path. When Wonder is due to visit her town, Silver hopes to impress her by making a flying suit, which she does with the help of a mysterious older woman, Nebbeker, who has a past different from most of the people in Silver’s community. However, when Silver meets the famous racer, the woman is not only rude but ends up kidnapping a rare Aquinder, Kirja, (a type of dragon) with whom Nebbeker shares a bond. Silver discovers that she herself has a bond with Kirja’s offspring, whom she names Hiyyan. Her only hope to regain Kirja lies in legalities, and if she can enter and race Hiyyan in the competition, she can claim Hiyyan and also ask the queen to restore Kirja to Nebbeker. This is, of course, a vast undertaking, but with the help of Brajon as well as a Calidian servant girl, she manages to hold her own in the competition.” [middle grade, ages 9 and up]
Rise of the Dragon Moon by Gabrielle Byrne
Princess Toli may be heir to the throne, but she longs to be a fierce hunter and warrior. Alone in a frozen world, her queendom is at the mercy of the dragons that killed her father, and Toli is certain it’s only a matter of time before they come back to destroy what’s left of her family.
When the dragons rise and seize her mother, Toli will do anything to save her―even trust a young dragon who may be the only key to the Queen’s release.
With her sister and best friend at her side, Toli makes the treacherous journey across the vast ice barrens to Dragon Mountain, where long-held secrets await. Bear-cats are on their trail, and dragons stalk them, but the greatest danger might be a mystery buried in Toli’s past.
Review from Ms. Yingling Reads:
“Toli’s kingdom is a matriarchy, and a sort of vague, medieval, Frozen-ish sort of one. This gives it some automatic readers! Toli’s relationships with Petal and Wix are solid, and there are some good secondary characters that add a lot to the story, like Spar. The dragon in-fighting has its moments, and makes it seem more reasonable that Toli’s people kill them. The trek over the mountains is filled with excitement and peril. A quickly moving fantasy novel with strong female characters.” [middle grade, ages 8 and up]
Ember and the Ice Dragons by Heather Fawcett
Review by Ms. Yingling Reads:
“This was a well-paced fantasy with plenty of dragons, adventure, political intrigue, and aggressive penguins! I was able to follow the story and keep track of the characters despite my chronic fantasy amnesia, which means it is a well-constructed story. The Antarctic setting is fun, and there’s just enough magic (like the transporting doorknob) to support the existence of dragons. Moss’s backstory is fun as well.” [middle grade, ages 8 and up]
The Princess Who Flew with Dragons by Stephanie Burgis
Review by Ms. Yingling Reads:
“This is set in the same world as The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart and The Girl with the Dragon Heart, but this time we find out more about Katrin, who is ruling Drachenheim, and her younger sister Sofia, who is not a fan of her sister. When Katrin decides that Sofia will be flown by a dragon to the Diamond Exhibition in Villenne to represent the country, Sofia thinks this is just another way her sister is manipulating her. When she arrives, bedraggled and ill after a difficult journey, the king and queen are not impressed and politely banish Sofia and her retinue to a small house far outside town. Since she doesn’t think she can make much of a difference, Sofia decides to go undercover and explore Villenne on her own. She doesn’t quite think through how difficult and dangerous this is; she even has to borrow clothing from one of her ladies maids in order to go out! She is a fan of a professor of philosophy at the university, and after attending one of his interesting lectures (he is also a bit at odds with the local government), she meets some other students– goblins Talvikki, Berritt, and Hannlena, and a kobold named Fedolia. Not long after, her dragon pen pal Jasper shows up in human form! The two go back to the town and have more adventures. Eventually, however, Katrin gets wind of Sofia’s antics and shows up in town, only to be frozen with the other leaders by Ice Giants! Sofia knows she must save her sister even if she isn’t her biggest fan, and with the help of Jasper and Fedolia, she heads into the giants’ territory to try to save her, which takes skills that Sofia didn’t know she had.” [middle grade, ages 9 and up]
Honorable Mentions of Great Dragon Books from Readers
The Spotty Banana has a great list of Dragon books here with reviews. I’m adding the books on her list not already on mine. They are:
Backyard Dragon by Betsy Sterman
The Dragon of Og by Rumer Godden
The Dragons are Singing Tonight – Dragon poems by Jack Prelutsky
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
Dragonology by Earnest Drake
Tale of Two Castles series by Gail Carson Levine
Dealing With Dragons series by Patricia C. Wrede
Dragon’s Milk series by Susan Fletcher
GypsyHick asked for dragon books for a newly turned two-year-old, so I am adding two more.
That’s Not My Dragon – A Touchy-Feely Usborne Book
My kids loved this board book series and I found a dragon one!
Funny Faces Dizzy Dragon by Rodger Priddy
This author is new to me. This is the blurb I found: In 2000, he created Priddy Books with John Sargent at St Martin’s Press to create innovative and imaginative titles for children, from first books for babies through early reference titles for older children. Since then, over 30 million copies of Roger’s 200 plus books have sold worldwide, with five of his books—My Big Animal, My Big Truck, Happy Baby Words, Happy Baby Colors, and Puppy and Friends—each selling over one million copies. He is also the author of Big Board First 100 Words; Big Board Books Colors, ABC, Numbers; and Bright Baby Noisy Monsters. His creativity has been recognized with numerous industry awards. Priddy lives in London with his wife Zena and their four children.
The Hobbit series by J. R. R. Tolkien
Thank you to Dad friend Dan with The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien suggestion for older kids in the upper Middle-Grade range.
Thank you to my fav librarian blogger, The Fourth Musketeer, for these two suggestions:
The Dragon series by Dav Pilkey
Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher series by Bruce Coville
Thank you to Choxbox for her great recommendations:
George and the Dragon series by Chris Wormell
Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke
The Dragons of Wayward Crescent series by Chris d’Lacey
The Dragons of Wayward Crescent is an easy chapter book series. I read one and I thought it was cute. I haven’t read the other series but it looks like Middle Grade. [middle grade, ages 10 and up]
Year of the Golden Dragon by B. L. Sauder
I found this on a great blog that I follow called PaperTigers. This is the review by Sara Hudson:
“The drums have stopped. What does it mean? Master Chen knows. The Black Dragon is angry.
Thousands of years ago a jealous wife of the Emperor of China broke a gift of jade from the powerful Black Dragon. In turn, the angry Black Dragon demanded that all descendants of the Emperor join together at the capital’s river to return that gift of jade to him the next time the Year of the Golden Dragon met the millennium – two thousand years later. In this beautiful blend of ancient legend and modern-day metropolis, B.L. Sauder fashions a tale of fantasy, mystery, and family as Chen Hong Mei from China and brothers Ryan and Alexander Wong from Canada, all descendants of the emperor, face, and must fix, the consequences of this ancient legend.
Mysteries have long shaped Ryan, Alex, and Hong Mei’s lives – mysteries that converge during the year the millennium meets the Year of the Golden Dragon. Where did Hong Mei’s father go, and why does her mother never speak of him? What really happened during the fire that killed Ryan and Alex’s parents? Why did all their parents so treasure the jade pieces each of them carries and why do so many people now seem determined to steal them? Fans of Rick Riordan’s “Percy Jackson” series and Blue Balliett’s mysteries will particularly enjoy the mixture of present and past, everyday existence and otherworldly life, and myth and adventure spiced by danger and family secrets.
Ancient magic blends into twenty-first-century life as Ryan and Alex travel with their aunt and uncle from Canada to China to celebrate the New Year. But their trip takes an unexpected turn when they discover they must unite with fellow descendant Hong Mei to beat the clock – and ever-present enemies – to unravel and execute the ancient task given to them by the Black Dragon. Together the three find themselves caught up in a fantastical and fantastic series of events centered around three pendants of precious jade, a deadly enemy, and a two-thousand-year-old mystery that will change all of their lives forever. Advance readers and reluctant readers alike will enjoy the quick pacing and blend of fantasy and reality in this tale of destiny and adventure.” [young adult, ages 12 and up]
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p.s. Related posts:
BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.