Here There Be Dragons

Years ago, while working for Calgary Public Library, I was assigned the task of creating a dragon booklist for children and teens. It was a perfect fit because I loved reading and then recommending books with dragons in them. All these many (and many) years later I still love dragons in books and now there’s even more out there. Following is a list of some of my favorites for recommending to middle grade readers.

Susan Fletcher’s Dragon’s Milk made my list all those years ago and now there are three more in the series.

From Indie Bound “You must go to the dragon. You must leave tonight.” Before she even hears the words, Kaeldra already knows she must find the mother dragon whose draclings have just hatched and get some of the precious milk in order to save her foster sister’s life. Since Kaeldra can communicate with dragons, she is the only one who can accomplish the task. And so she begins a journey that will entwine her fate with that of three little draclings and one would-be dragonslayer—a journey that will become a struggle for life.

Also on that years ago list was Patricia C. Wrede’s, Enchanted Forest Chronicles: Dealing With Dragons. It’s filled with fantastic imagination and humor. A rebel princess who makes a great cherries jubilee and the dragon who loves her for it. From Indie Bound: Cimorene is everything a princess is not supposed to be: headstrong, tomboyish, smart. . . .And bored. So bored that she runs away to live with a dragon . . . and finds the family and excitement she’s been looking for.

A series new to me and much loved by the boys of my book club is Chris D’Lacy’s The Last Dragon Chronicles.

The Fire Within is the first in the series. From Indie Bound: When David moves in with Liz and Lucy, he discovers a collection of hand crafted, clay dragons that comes to life and has magical powers. David’s personalized dragon, Gadzooks, can forecast the future, and inspires him to write a story which reveals the truth behind an unsolved mystery close to home. The story has an unhappy ending, and when David realizes the consequences of it he is angry. Then David finds Gadzooks crying and near death, and he discovers that these special dragons die when they are not loved. Soon David is forced to save his friend and unlock the powers of the fire within.

Tale of Two Castles by Gail Carson Levine is a recent favorite of mine.

From Indie Bound: “Fourteen-year-old Elodie leaves the family farm to gain an apprenticeship in the bustling city of Two Castles. Her parents tell her to apprentice to a weaver, but she wants to act. But by the end of her first day, she has been robbed by a cat, run into a shape-shifting ogre, and becomes an apprentice — to adragon! Levine turns fantasy conventions upside down in this surprising, charming, and fun tale, and, like Elodie, the reader finds that good and evil are sometimes not easy to tell apart, and that both friends and enemies can come in every shape and size.”

Of course, this particular book list wouldn’t be complete without the hilarious and history twisting How to Train a Dragon by Cressida Cowell.

I don’t limit my recommends to fiction, of course. Can’t be leaving out non-fiction. (yes, I said non-fiction, because really, how do we know they aren’t real and just hiding from us?) The Dragonolgy series works for the middle grader who loves to pour over maps, letters, journal entries and study the world of dragons.

 

 

Here are some more great reads to help grow the dragon book pile:

Thomas and the Dragon Queen by Shuta Crum and Lee Wildish (illus.)

Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke

Dragon in the Sock Drawer by Kate Klimo

Ivy and the Meanstalk by Dawn Lairamore

Dragon of Cripple Creek by Troy Howell

Speaking of the dragon book pile, this really is only the tip of it. Head to your local library and ask for help finding even more. There is no lack of titles and possibilities out there and librarians love helping you find the perfect fit, whether you be the young middle grade reader or the one bordering on becoming a teen. Happy reading and please do share some of your favorites. Thinking there should be a “Here There Be (More) Dragons” in our future.

 

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