Best Books for Kids with Dragons
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]
“An authentic work of great talent.”—The New York Times Book Review
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 bizzard’s identity and the friendship they share. [picture book, ages 4-9]
8. Dragon Slayers Academy series by Kate McMullan
This series is Harry Potter Lite, perfect for ages 7 and up. [beginning chapter book, ages 7-10]
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 require destroying a fearsome beast. These three books feature dragons, but there are monsters of every kind in the series. [easy chapter book, ages 7-10]
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 9-12]
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 4-10]
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 4-9]
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 7-10]
2. How to Tame Your Dragon series by Cressida Cowell
To me, this is Dairy of a Wimpy Kid crossed with dragons. [easy chapter book, ages 7-10]
1. My Father’s Dragon series by Ruth Stiles Gannett
This is the grand daddy 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 7-10]
More Great Dragon Books for Kids
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]
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]
Rise of the Earth Dragon: Dragon Masters 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]
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
These are the books on The Mixed Up Files of Middle Grade Authors, Here There Be Dragons that aren’t on the list. Please click on that link to read the excellent reviews. (My favorite group blog in the world, too!).
Tale of Two Castles 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.
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 by Bruce Coville
Thank you to Choxbox for her great recommendations:
George and the Dragon series by Chris Wormell
Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke
Thank you to Annettek for the author Chris d’Lacey with several dragon series. 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 (grades 5-8).
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 descendents of the Emperor join together at 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 12-15]
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