One of my favourite films, when I was growing up, was Dragonheart. (It’s the one with Sean Connolly playing a dragon with a Scottish accent). It introduced me to a fantasy world where you could become friends with a mythical beast that can fly and breathe fire. I desperately wanted to live in that world and be the hero. To ride a dragon, have an epic sword fight with the bad guy and save the kingdom. I must have watched it over a hundred times.
In recent year dragons have made an impressive come-back. Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, Pokemon, even Godzilla seems to make a come-back every five or so years (and let’s not forget the big Lego dragon at Legoland). They’re all over the place.
Dragons are back on the kids reading list too . . . and here are my suggestions.
5. How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell
I had my reasons. a) dragons. b) sea dragons. c) pet dragons. d) fiery dragons. e) I’ve always thought I would suit those Viking helmets with the pointy horns. f) MORE DRAGONS.
This is the tale of how Hiccup, a small and scrawny Viking boy, becomes the hero of the tribe. It’s a fantastic adventure full of excitement and danger and some brilliant bits in between. I could have read this in one go! Did I mention the dragons? They’re great, partly because they talk and get sarcasm, but mainly because the Viking children train them (so jealous).
Highly recommend this read. Well written and great storytelling. Now you’ll have to excuse me while I go and fill in my immigration papers.
4. Eragon by Christopher
So, here’s a book that was written by a fifteen-year-old. That’s right, what did you achieve when you were fifteen? (Don’t ask me, you really don’t want to know!)
To start with there is a real cool-looking dragon on the front cover! And it’s not just epic on the outside, it’s epic on the inside too. There are battles, miracles, elves, high emotions, secrets, dwarves and magic inside this book waiting to hook you in and keep you turning the pages. There’s even an amazing map on the inside cover that you could stare at for hours.
If you are hoping your kids will one day become a fantasy reader, who will actually read every single word of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, then make sure they read this. Seriously, it’s a gateway drug into the world of fantasy.
3. Dragonology by a bunch of interesting people
Time to take a side-step into non-fiction.
This book contains the long-lost research of renowned nineteenth-century dragonologist Dr. Ernest Drake. Inside curious readers will discover why dragons are able to speak, how they can fly and breathe fire, and even maps that will show you where to find them. Written like a mixture of a field manual and a scrapbook, it really is packed full of fun and interactive information.
The elaborate illustrations, pullouts, letters, spells, maps, flaps and popups make this book irresistible to even the most stubborn little anti-readers. Put simply, this book is a work of art. It’s is so magical it was probably stolen from the library at Hogwarts.
I’d say this ancient-looking tome would be perfect for ages 8-12 (but be warned, they may end up believing that dragons are real).
2. The Hobbit (or There and Back Again) by J.R.R. Tolkien
I’ll admit it, when I was ten years old my mum gave me The Hobbit to read. Being the nice son I was (and still am) I gave it my best shot.
Now, it’s important to remember that at this point I had barely touched chapter books. I was a PlayStation kid who loved cartoons and riding my bike and was a major disappointment to my Librarian mother. I managed to get to the part where Bilbo escapes [someone] by hiding in a barrel, at which point something else caught my attention. I didn
I’ve obviously come to my senses about reading and finished the book. Tolkien’s children book is a joy to read, full of magic and adventure and, as the reader, you find yourself identifying as the young hobbit experiencing this new, amazing world.
If your kids are anything like me, I’d recommend reading this one to them the first time around. What a shame, right!
1. The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart by Stephanie Burgis
Now here’s a book that seems to have been co-written by Tolkein and Willy Wonka!
It was actually written by a delightful children’s author from the USA who now lives in Wales. The first of three books, The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart cleverly combines high adventure and high morals. Aventurine must prove herself as a young dragon, but that might be difficult having been transformed into a puny human girl with a sweet tooth. She must navigate the human world and pursue her dream of becoming a chocolatier. (And if you’ve ever wondered if chocolate can save your life, this is a must-read).
This book oozes girl-power, playful humour and real heart. It’s a chocolate-filled, girl-powered fantasy that teaches us about finding your passion, dealing with disapproving parents and trusting yourself to achieve greatness.
… and, last but not least, here’s my DRAGON kids book
Well, it’s still in the oven and no quite done yet (the timer should go off around March 2020).
But you can read the first three chapters here.
Happy reading 🙂