Celebrate 'Appreciate a Dragon Day' With These Books for Young Readers of All Ages

January 16 is 'Appreciate a Dragon Day' and there is no shortage of dragon books to help readers celebrate. Here are some titles to share with children who can't get enough of the magical creatures.

artwork of a dragon with an arch of five book covers floating above them.

January 16 is 'Appreciate a Dragon Day' and there is no shortage of dragon books to help readers celebrate. From Eragon to Fourth Wing, these majestic, magical creatures continue to delight readers of all ages. Here are some titles to share with young readers who can't get enough.


Board Book

It’s Your Year, Baby Dragon. little bee. (It’s Your Year, Baby: Bk. 2). 2023. Board $8.99. ISBN 9781499814064. 
Baby-Toddler–2024 is the Year of the Dragon. In the Chinese zodiac, dragons are thought to be confident, energetic, intelligent, and powerful. Each spread of this board book features a large, full-bleed illustration of a young dragon embodying a different one of its characteristics. For instance, a picture of Baby Dragon and an adult dragon playing pipas accompanies the text, “Baby Dragon is intelligent. They enjoy learning.” Baby Dragon is always referred to in the gender-neutral “they” pronoun. The last few spreads share where the dragon falls in the zodiac order, who its best friends are, and additional characteristics based on the element associated with different Dragon years: 2024 babies will be Wood Dragons, who are thoughtful. VERDICT This cute introduction to a child’s Chinese zodiac animal is recommended for larger collections or where the first book in the series was popular.–Jennifer Rothschild


Picture Book

There Are No Dragons in This Book by Donna Lambo-Weidner. illus. by Carla Haslbauer. NorthSouth. 2024. Tr $19.95. ISBN 9780735845497. 
PreS-Gr 2–A colorful comedic book that asks questions about dragons. This interactive picture book is written in a poetry riddle format. On each page, a seemingly omniscient narrator makes the case that there are no dragons. In one scenario, readers see human hands to prove there are no dragons, but there are also claws. On another page children are depicted playing, some barefoot; there are also dragon feet. So continues the pattern each page, the narrator repeating there are no dragons but showing fireplaces that look like dragons breathing out fire, children playing with dragon masks, and then a realistic tail of a dragon. As all the clues build, readers see that the unreliable narrator is a dragon. In the epilogue, all his friends join him, along with the humans in the neighborhood. Children will love the contradictions throughout, as well as the comparisons that give life to the narrator’s case. VERDICT A combination of story and mystery, this book is a grand addition to any children’s collection.–Annmarie Braithwaite


[Read: Three Gentle Fantasy Series for ‘My Father’s Dragon’ Fans | Read-Alikes]


Transitional Book

Maxie Wiz and Her Dragon by Michelle Meadows. illus. by Sawyer Cloud. Random. (Step into Reading). 2023. Tr $14.99. ISBN 9780593570289; pap. $5.99. ISBN 9780593570272. 
PreS-Gr 1–Maxie the wizard learns that young dragons can be a handful. Little Maxie, who has brown skin, is excited to watch her dragon hatch and declares her new companion a “perfect match!” Swimming in the swamp all day with the dragon is fun, but come suppertime, Maxie finds her charge is cranky and would rather have cookies than a healthy salad. The little wizard casts a spell to conjure up cupcakes that the dragon devours. It’s too big to fit inside the castle or the bed, so Maxie uses her magic to accommodate her fast-growing friend. Just like most toddlers, Dragon won’t go to sleep—time to conjure up a teddy bear or two. Meadows’s tale offers insight into the joys and challenges of caregiving that young readers will delight in. Short sentences on each page and large clear typeface support the newest readers. Rhyming text aids word recognition, and more sophisticated phrases such as “hocus-pocus” are repeated as the little wizard practices her spells. Cloud’s darling illustrations employ saturated hues and strike the right magical note, with a glittery witch’s hat and shimmery stars. VERDICT A sweet bedtime story of friendship and magic for emerging readers.–Sarah Webb


Middle Grade

Dragon World by Tamara Macfarlane. illus. by Alessandra Fusi. DK. 2021. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780744027655. 
Gr 3-8–Beautifully illustrated in bold, vibrant colors, this dragon guide book will have anyone who even slightly admires dragons drooling; it is a true feast for the eyes. Divided into four sections of Asian Dragons, European Dragons, Dragons of the World, and Dragon Discoveries, the book teaches readers interesting details about many different dragons and how they came to be. Each section contains a history of the dragon; its dwelling; body description such as eye shape, neck length, and overall shape; as well as the dragon’s powers and traits. Powers and traits range from controlling the weather and shape-shifting to consuming everything in sight. The book also contains several dragon myths that originate from different regions around the world: “‘What will we call this creature?’ Liu asked. ‘It is a sacred creature for our village,’ said Mei. ‘It made a sound like thunder when it came out—let’s call it Dragon,’ Chen said. (Dragon sounds like the Chinese word for thunder.)” The final sections of the book contain information about dragon eggs, what they look like and where the nests are built, and dragon jewels. Readers are shown different gems that dragons are often attracted to and accused of stealing. The book ends with information on drawing your own dragon and real animals that resemble dragons. There is a glossary and index to close out the book. VERDICT A must-purchase for libraries where dragon lovers lurk.–Tracy Cronce


Young Adult

Together We Burn by Isabel Ibañez. Wednesday Bks. 2022. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250803351. 
Gr 10 Up–This fantasy novel is set in a mythical version of Spain, where instead of bullfighting, dragons are captured and brought to an arena for death at the hands of a dragonador—a dragon killer. A long tradition rooted in saving villages from the ravages of dragon attacks produces a setting that tolerates killing dragons for entertainment. When 18-year-old Zarela’s family legacy is undermined by an unknown enemy, she has to save La Giralda. She must capture more dragons, train to become a dragonador, pay off a debt, and discover who the enemy within is, all while falling in love with Arturo. The story takes a turn when Zarela challenges the tradition of killing dragons for entertainment. Instead, Zarela, with the help of Arturo, studies the dragons, learning from them. What she discovers allows her to avoid killing and still save her family’s legacy. This young adult romance-fantasy-mystery novel delivers a slow burn. VERDICT Recommended for collections serving older teens.–Stephanie Creamer

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