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A Puff of Magic for Your Shelves:
13 of the Best Dragon Books for Kids

by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich

From Kenneth Grahame’s classic The Reluctant Dragon to the gas-spewing dragon of Adam Gidwitz’s The Inquisitor’s Tale, dragons have enchanted readers through the ages. Sometimes fierce, sometimes really misunderstood, there are probably enough dragons in literature for every kind of reader. Here are a few magnificent dragon books to help you breathe a little fire into your family’s reading life:

  • King Jack and the Dragon

    by Peter Bently, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury

    The New York Times called this celebration of imaginative play “at once contemporary and classic.” It’s a bedtime story that will offer parents a chance to reminisce and little ones the opportunity to dream new and exciting dreams.
    Ages 3 - 5

  • There’s a Dragon in Your Book

    by Tom Fletcher, illustrated by Greg Abbot

    There’s a baby dragon in your book and she’s so cute that you just can’t help tickle her nose. But that tickle makes her sneeze and suddenly your book is on fire! Enormously fun and imaginative, this interactive picture book will have readers blowing, tamping down, and flapping pages to help put out the fire.
    Ages 3 - 7

  • Dear Dragon

    by Josh Funk, illustrated by Rodolfo Montalvo

    “I decided to write a new picture book by mixing rhyme [and] poetry along with letter writing,” said Funk, about his sweet story of pen pals George and Blaise. The two share much about their lives, their favorite hobbies and classes, and a mutual distaste for writing. What they don’t realize is that there’s one major difference between them: George is a human, and Blaise is 100% dragon. At its heart a story of friendship overcoming differences, this rhyming picture book is a charmer. And, by the end, they both have a newfound appreciation for the joy of writing.
    Ages 4 - 8

  • Warren and Dragon Series

    by Ariel Bernstein, illustrated by Mike Malbrough

    Dragon is Warren’s "pet." One a seven-year-old trying to survive second grade at a new school and the other a seven-hundred-year-old fire-breather with a love for marshmallows, the two make quite a quirky duo. Warren and Dragon’s wonderfully silly stories are great for early chapter book readers looking for a laugh.
    Ages 4 - 8

  • When a Dragon Moves In

    by Jodi Moore, illustrated by Howard McWilliam

    This award-winning favorite reminds little ones that with a little free time, some hands-on play, and a big imagination, magical things can happen. A boy at the beach finds that “if you build a perfect sandcastle, a dragon will move in.” When it just happens to be the kind of dragon that enjoys exploring, kite-flying, and toasting marshmallows, it seems that he’s found the perfect playmate!
    Ages 5 - 7

  • Rise of the Earth Dragon

    by Tracey West, illustrated by Graham Howells

    Beginning readers will delight in this first installment of the Dragon Masters series, featuring action-packed stories of 8-year-old Drake who is being trained to care for and work with dragons, along with three other children. Kirkus Reviews put it best: “Who wouldn’t want to be a Dragon Master?”
    Ages 6 - 8

  • The Unicorn Rescue Society: The Basque Dragon

    by Adam Gidwitz, illustrated by Hatem Aly

    As potential recruits for a secret organization committed to protecting mythical creatures, Elliot and Uchenna find themselves flying across the Atlantic in Professor Fauna's ramshackle airplane. Their mission? To find the missing dragon of Basque Country. Filled with quirky escapades and humor, kids will love diving into the entire series of adventures with The Unicorn Rescue Society.
    Ages 8 – 12

  • My Father’s Dragon

    by Ruth Stiles Gannett

    This was one of my daughter’s favorite books in second grade. Elmer Elevator, who runs away to Wild Island to rescue a baby Dragon, tells this story as though he’s relating true events of our magic-filled past. Both a Newbery Honor Book and an ALA Notable Book, three stories were published in a 50-year anniversary edition as Three Tales of My Father's Dragon. It was made into an anime film titled, “Elmer's Adventures: My Father's Dragon.” A discussion and activity guide inspired by the book is also available here.
    Ages 8 - 12

  • A Dragon’s Guide to Making Your Human Smarter

    by Laurence Yep and Joanne Ryder, illustrated by Mary GrandPré

    Readers first met Winnie and Miss Drake in A Dragon’s Guide to the Care and Feeding of Humans; in this second book in the Dragon’s Guide series, Winnie is excited to be taught science by Sir Isaac Newton at The Spriggs Academy. A Dragon’s Guide to Making Your Human Smarter is filled with school stories, suspense, and the wonders of true friendship. Its whimsical and imaginative tale of magic, mischief, and, of course, mayhem will not disappoint.
    Ages 8 - 12

  • Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

    by Grace Lin

    Minli, whose name means “quick thinking,” is a vibrant and compassionate heroine determined to help her family in this gorgeous Newbery Honor-winning tale that makes for a wonderful read-aloud. Inspired by her father’s stories, she embarks on a life-changing journey to find the Old Man on the Moon in the company of the flightless and courageous Dragon. “Children will embrace this accessible, timeless story about the evil of greed and the joy of gratitude,” wrote Booklist in a review.
    Ages 8 - 12

  • The Dragon in the Sock Drawer

    by Kate Klimo, illustrated by John Shroades

    Not everyone expects to find an egg hatching in their sock drawer, not to mention an egg hatching a living, breathing baby dragon! Jesse and Daisy have always craved magic in their lives, and Emmy the dragon, is tiny, loud, and life-changing in a big way. Soon the two cousins are at the baby dragon’s beck and call, trying to figure out what to feed her. When they learn that they have been designated “Dragon Keepers,” Jesse and Daisy learn that they don’t just have to figure out how to care for Emmy — they have to save her from the evil Saint George who has sustained himself for centuries on the blood of dragons.
    Ages 8 - 12

  • Talon

    by Julie Kagawa

    In the world of Talon, dragons were hunted to near extinction by a group of dragon slayers called the Order of St. George; then the dragons disguised themselves in human form, secretly growing their numbers and planning to take over the world. Siblings Ember and Dante Hill are two of the dragons in disguise, and they’re at a crossroads: Will Ember and Dante take their places in the dragons’ plans to conquer the human race, or has living amongst humans changed their views entirely? School Library Journal recommends this read for kids who enjoyed, but have since outgrown, Christopher Paolini's Eragon.
    Ages 13+

  • Dragonflight

    by Anne McCaffrey

    First published in 1968, this classic sci-fi/fantasy novel featuring a heroine has endured. Lessa has spent her life serving the nobles who betrayed her father, but it’s a disguise — Lessa is the true noble who, with the help of a queen dragon, has to risk her life to save her world from a destructive substance called Thread. This is the first book in the Pern series and, while some of the themes are admittedly dated, the imaginative and believable depictions of dragons will win over any young reader.
    Ages 13+