There are a lot of dragon books for kids. Some feature silly dragons written to make young readers laugh. Others tell tales of fearsome dragons who have to learn lessons or be defeated before the story is over. Often dragon books for kid introduce a misunderstood dragon.
As a teacher, I meet students of all ages who say their favorite animal is a dragon. And it’s easy to see why. The strength of dragon lore is captivating to many readers of all ages. Also, just the idea of breathing fire is pretty awesome. As one of my young students once said, “If they breath fire, what do you think their farts are like?” There are a plethora of dragons in YA and middle grade fantasy novels, and there are plenty of story options for younger dragon lovers, too. Here is a list of 15 of my favorite dragon books for kids: from picture books you can read together as a family to dragon books for early readers to tackle on their own.
Dragon Picture Books
Dear Dragon by Josh Funk (Writer) and Rodolfo Montalvo (Illustrator)
Blaise and George are not excited when their classes both start a penpal exchange. Who wants to hand write letters when there’s texting and email? But soon when they’re assigned each other as penpals, they discover they have a lot in common which leads to a friendship. But when they meet at the penpal picnic, both are surprised. Blaise expected George to be a dragon just like him. And George was definitely expecting his new friend to be a human. This surprise leads to a powerful message about accepting differences. Also it rhymes—in a good way!
Dragon Was Terrible by Kelly DiPucchio (Writer) and Greg Pizzoli (Illustrator)
All dragons are terrible. Obviously. But the dragon in this story is especially naughty. He scribbles in books, steals candy from baby unicorns, and even throws toilet paper on the castle. The king offers a reward to whoever can tame the dragon. But when the knights and townspeople fail to turn his behavior around by force, one little boy will use kindness to teach dragon some manners. With whimsical drawings, young dragon lovers will chuckle reading about this mischievous dragons misdeeds.
The Dragon Prince: A Chinese Beauty & the Beast Tale by Laurence Yep (Writer) and Kam Mak (Illustrator)
In this well-researched Southern Chinese folktale, a dragon appears at a farmer’s home threatening to kill him if none of his daughters will marry the dragon. Only Seven, the farmer’s youngest daughter, will marry the fearsome dragon to save her father. But when the dragon turns into a handsome prince, her sisters grow jealous and take action against Seven.
Have You Seen My Dragon? by Steve Light
This is a counting book where young readers must search through intricately drawn New York City landscapes to find the hidden dragon in each scene. There might not be much plot. But the illustrations are beautiful and the hidden dragons will keep young readers busy hunting.
Gondra’s Treasure by Linda Sue Park (Writer) and Jennifer Black Reinhardt (Illustrator)
Gondra’s dad is from the East and her mom is from the West. The look different, have different cultures, and even some different personality traits. And lucky Gondra is a mixture of both of them! This is a happy story about having parents that come from different backgrounds. For dragon aficionados the story also delves into the differences between dragons in Asian and Eastern folklore.
Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin (Writer) and Daniel Salmieri (Illustrator)
No list of dragon books for kids would be complete without this contemporary classic. Guaranteed to get giggles during reading time, this story serves as a how-to for throwing a taco party for dragons. Just whatever you do, avoid the spicy salsa. Because while dragons love tacos, when they’re around spicy salsa things can get…hilariously destructive. And if this is already a favorite, be sure to check out the sequel Dragons Love Tacos 2.
Dragon Books for Kids Who Are Beginning Readers
Dragon Egg by Mallory Loehr (Writer) and Hala Wittwer (Illustrator)
This level 1 beginning reader follows a simple, easy-to-follow story. A giant eggs rolls out of its nest, past the castle and through the village. All the people and animals are curious to see what happens when the egg hatches. But they don’t expect to see a baby flying baby dragon inside. Now, the baby dragon must try to find her mother. Hopefully she hasn’t rolled too far away from home.
A Friend for Dragon by Dav Pilkey
Dragon is lonely. And his first few attempts at making a friend do not go well. But then he meets apple. A friend at last! He doesn’t mind that his friend is a fruit! But when a walrus eats the apple, Dragon buries and mourns his “dead” friend. Others laugh at him, but the joke is one them when apple comes back to life in the form of a beautiful tree. Equal parts silly and emotional, this is an idea story for new and reluctant readers from the author of Captain Underpants and Dogman.
The Dragon’s Scales by Sarah Albee (Writer) and by John Manders (Illustrator)
This level 3 early reader also reinforces math concepts of measurement and weight. It begins when a mean dragon takes over the bridge and the people of Berryville aren’t able to pick their beloved strawberries. The dragon won’t let them pass until someone can answer three questions about weight. The grownups can’t answer the questions, but one little girl steps up to the challenge. If she answers his questions correctly the townspeople get their bridge back. But if she’s wrong, the dragon gets all their juicy, delicious strawberries.
Pete the Cat: Sir Pete the Brave by James Dean
Pete the Cat is back with a medieval storyline. His friend Lady Callie goes missing and Pete turns into a knight to save her from the dragon who stole her away. But somehow Pete is the one who ends up kidnapped by the dragon. And Lady Callie must save him. Unless, the dragon isn’t as bad as they thought, just misunderstood.
A Poor Excuse for a Dragon by Geoffrey Hayes
When Fred the Dragon eats three villagers, he discovers that humans don’t agree with his stomach. Hoping to help, a local shepherd, a witch, and a giant attempt to cure Fred’s tummy ache and save the eaten villagers from his belly before they are digested. This is a level 4 step into reading book that is perfect for beginning readers who are ready for slightly more complex sentences.
Dragon Chapter Books and Graphic Novels
Henry Heckelbeck Gets a Dragon by Wanda Coven (Writer) and Priscilla Burris (Illustrator)
Once a young dragon bibliophile is ready to move on from early readers, this illustrated chapter book is a great next step. Henry Heckelbeck has a magic older sister and mom, but he thought he was just an average, normal kid. That changes when he finds a book of spells and accidentally brings his toy dragon to life. Now he needs to work hard to keep his dragon a secret from the ever observant Mackenzie Maplethorpe in his class, or his family’s secret will be exposed.
Dragons Beware! (The Chronicles of Claudette) by Jorge Aguirre (Writer) and Rafael Rosado (Illustrator)
A scrappy, action-packed graphic novel for readers in 1st grade and up! After defeating the giants in book one, Claudette is back and reader to go after the dragon who ate her father’s legs and his favorite sword. But in order to get her revenge she’ll need the cooperation of her best friend Marie and her little brother Gaston. And neither seems as excited to help with her adventure after their previous encounter with giants. But Claudette doesn’t take no for an answer. Not from her father who refuses her help. Not from her friends. And certainly not from so-called “fierce” dragons.
Dragons and Marshmallows (Zoey and Sassafras Book 1) by Asia Citro (Writer) and Marion Lindsay (Illustrator)
With short, easy-to-read chapters and cute animal illustrations, this dragon book for kids is full of science, magic, and mystery. Zoey and her cat Sassafras have a clinic for injured magical creatures. When a sick baby dragon named Marshmallow comes to them for help, at first they can’t figure out whats wrong. To help the dragon they decide to try using the Scientific Method to create a diagnosis. Hopefully they can help heal baby Marshmallow in time!
Dragons in a Bag by Zetta Elliot
In the chapter book, perfect for 3rd graders and up, Jaxon’s mom must go to court to fight an eviction notice. That’s the only reason she lets him stay with his estranged grandmother Ma. Jaxon soon discovers Ma is a witch. While his mother wants nothing to do with her magic, Jaxon is happy to help her rescue two baby dragons and bring them out of Brooklyn to a magical world where they will be safe. He just hopes his mom doesn’t find out!