13 Fantasy Books For Dragon-Obsessed Kids

One of my proudest moments as a parent was when I realized that I had successfully convinced my kid that books prominently featuring dragons are, objectively, extremely cool and good.

Now, she’s only 7, and there’s plenty of time for her to decide that mom is a massive nerd and that her adolescent rebellion will be getting really into tennis or something. And fair enough! She’s got to walk her own path. But in the meantime, while she’s still young enough to enjoy me reading to her, I’m going to feed her dragon fandom with everything I’ve got.

So, I’ve been doing a lot of research into what we can read next, and I’m sharing it with you today, along with the books that’ve been a hit in our house so far.

Dragon Masters by Tracey West

These are the books that, more than any others, really leveled my kid up into longer, more complex stories. (We introduced them when her dad and I simply could not read one more Rainbow Magic book.) The story kicks off when 8-year-old Drake is scooped up from his life on an onion farm to become a Dragon Master, partnering with a dragon named Worm. We watch as the ranks of the Dragon Masters swell with kids and dragons from a diverse series of cultures all over a fantasy world, and they fight various villains. Also lovely: Book 22 in the series, Guarding the Invisible Dragons, has a non-binary character who is seamlessly and casually included in the story.

The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede

My kid is so obsessed with this series — which has been around since I was her age — that when we completed the fourth book, we immediately turned around and started the whole series over. (We also found the whole book on CD at the library and decided to listen to it in the car on our way to the grandparents this summer.) These books follow the adventures of Cimorene, a very improper princess who wants to do all the things princesses aren’t allowed to (like learn magic, or really learn anything other than courtly dancing and protocol). So she runs off to be a dragon’s princess, and hijinks ensue. It’s basically a whole bunch of inside jokes about the conventions of fairy tales, and it’s a delight.

Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke

The same local librarian who recommended the Enchanted Forest Chronicles also steered us toward Cornelia Funke’s Inkheart. Unfortunately, I made the fatal decision of showing too much enthusiasm about it, and my kid immediately dug in her heels. Maybe someday we’ll read it! It looks absolutely great! In the meantime, I have high hopes for this one, which involves a lonely boy, a brave dragon, and a quest. (Gotta love a quest.) But I’m playing it very cool, so we don’t have a repeat of the Inkheart situation.

How To Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell

The movie adaptations of this series are so popular that it’s easy to forget it was a book series first! But it’s our next stop, after Half Magic. (It’ll give us something to do until we can go ride the dragon coaster at Universal in 2025.)

Eragon by Christopher Paolini

This one’s more for teens than middle-grade readers, but I know it’s in our future because it’s one of the iconic YA fantasy series of the last 20 years… and I’ve never read it!

Dragonbreath by Ursula Vernon

I’m a huge fan of Vernon’s books for adults, written under the name T. Kingfisher. (Start with the absolutely lovely Nettle & Bone, then move on to her very funny and swoony paladin romances.) And so I am really hoping my kid will love her middle-grade series about a dragon named Danny Dragonbreath.

Dragon Kingdom Of Wrenly by Jordan Quinn

We’re currently in the stage of learning to read where my kid can pretty much read anything she encounters, but she hasn’t quite gotten into reading independently for entertainment yet. Except, I’m not sure that’s entirely true because I regularly find stacks of books all over the floor of her room, leading me to believe she is secretly reading to herself but refuses to give the game away so that we’ll keep reading to her. (Which we obviously would, anyway!) My point is: Book one of this series is the first one that I’ve stumbled upon her quietly reading to herself at breakfast.

Dragon Girls by Maddy Mara

OK, this one does have a little bit of Rainbow Magic energy. But hey, the reason so many of us have read one million installments of the continuing adventures of Kristy Tate and Rachel Walker and their comically specific fairy friends (the baby animal rescue fairies? really? ) is that kids LOVE them. I’m hoping that my kid will get so obsessed with these that she’ll read them independently.

Wings Of Fire by Tui T. Sutherland

We listened to about 10 minutes of the first installment of this series on audiobook a couple of years ago — just long enough for my kid to become enthralled and me to decide that she wasn’t quite ready for it yet, thematically. But I think we’re there now!

Dragonology by Dugald A. Steer

I would be totally remiss to skip over the “nonfiction”-ish subgenre of dragon books. And the absolute gold standard for this type of book is still the iconic “ology” books. The dragon installment is a delight (though not, for my money, quite as good as Oceanology, which I think is the best of the bunch).

The Discovery of Dragons by Graeme Base

Similarly, this purports to be a historical text by a 19th-century dragonologist. (Actually, it’s by the guy who wrote Animalia — remember that one?) And I found it absolutely hilarious, to the point of cackling while reading it to my kid, in no small part because the fictional author can’t stop talking about how much he hates the guts of another fictional 19th-century dragonologist. It’s never too soon for the kids to learn about rancorous professional rivalries. This one is actually out of print, but I bet there’s a copy floating around your local library system. Plus you can get it secondhand.

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

Yes, it takes a while to get to the actual dragon part of this classic about Bilbo Baggins, the upstanding gentleman hobbit who takes up a career of adventure when recruited as a burglar by the wizard Gandalf and treks halfway around the world (and back again, of course). But The Hobbit is actually very droll and funny and often silly in a way that kids love, and it’s all about the journey, right? Just be careful if there’s any arachnophobes in the house. It’s a little ambitious for younger kids and shorter attention spans, but I bought this illustrated edition, and the pictures helped keep my kid engaged. I also highly recommend the BBC radio adaptation, which is great for long car trips.

The Earthsea Cycle by Ursula K. LeGuin

My fellow lifelong fantasy readers know this one is a must. But a lot of it is pretty thematically heavy, so there’s a good chance that by the time my kid is actually ready for The Earthsea Cycle, she’ll be old enough to insist on reading by herself. (Sob.) But maybe if I try this beautiful illustrated edition, I can talk her into it. As long as I don’t show too much enthusiasm, of course.

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