Liz Flanagan (Dragon Daughter Blog Tour) - Top 5 Dragon Books - Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books

Good morning. All this week we are celebrating the paperback book release of Liz Flanagan's DRAGON DAUGHTER. There is a lot to get excited about as Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books is the fifth stop on this blog tour (please see the list for the other stops at the bottom of the page). All posts explore the ideas and inspiration behind this brilliant story. However, this particular post is focused around the authors top five dragon books and school visits. 

What would your favourite dragon books be? Please share your favourite on Twitter using #DragonDaughter. For me, the Eragon series by Christopher Paolini and Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke would be in my top five list. However, check out this fascinating post below. Hopefully, it will inspire you to pick up this amazing book or invite the author to your school for an author event. Enjoy the post.

Writers are often told to ‘write what you know’, but how do you write about mythical creatures like dragonsunless you do actually have a secret dragon at your house? Partly, my dragons are a combination of many different real animals I’ve known, and partly they’ reinspired by the dragons from books and films I’ve loved. 

In my school visits, we always have long chats about why we love dragons so muchwhy they hold an enduring fascination for us, in so many different times and cultures, and why people have imagined dragons in many varied ways. I really enjoy hearing all the different ideas children have on this subject!

Personally, was drawn to the contrast between a tiny fragile scaly creature that’s just tapped its way out of an egg, and the massive, powerful firebreather with the capacity to destroy whole cities. I love the idea of an animal who can fly anywhere, but who chooses to seek out people. And I loved the idea of a unique bond between a dragon and a particular child, a bond that would last a lifetime and define both of them. My dragons can’t speak, but they can communicate via their calls and their gestures, and they can read the thoughts of people around them. 

In the past, I’ve loved the way different authors describe dragons include the great Ursula Le Guin and Anne McCaffrey. But there are also some more recent middle-grade novels that are full of memorable dragons, so I’ve made a list of five that I’ve loved recently. 

All these authors have imagined dragons in different ways, but here are just a few of my middle-grade favourites. Some are very new; some are old friends:

  • The Secret Dragonby Ed Clarke (Puffin) Eleven-year-old Mari Jones is a fossil-hunter, inspired by her hero Mary Anning, and she longs to be a real scientist. She thinks she’s found an amazing fossil on the beach one day and is shocked to realise it’s alive and is, in fact, a real Welsh dragon. I loved Mari, and her friendship with Dylan, the new boy at school. This story is so beautifully written, with deeper themes of loss and finding your courage and self-belief. The soft, sweet interior illustrations are by Simone Krüger.

  • The Boy Who Grew Dragons by Andy Shepherd, illustrated by Sara Ogilvie (Piccadilly Press) At the heart of this book is a beautiful relationship between the main character Tomas and his grandad. Helping Grandad in the garden, Tomas discovers an incredible plant that actually grows dragons. Tomas bonds with a little dragon called Flicker, but soon learns that young dragons cause chaos and that he is likely to be blamed for their destructive habits and incendiary poos. There's so much humour and fun, as well as real warmth and tenderness, in this book, and the illustrations by Sara Ogilvie are full of life and energy.

  • How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell (Hodder Children’s Books) One of the most popular dragons of all! I’ve loved the film adaptations of this series tooalthough I find the books have more mud and snot and humour. I really love the relationship between Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Third and his undersized dragon Toothless. The pair save all the Vikings on their island with their quick thinking and skill at speaking Dragonese.

  • Dragonology: The Complete Book of Dragons by Dugald A. Steer, illustrated by Wayne Anderson, Douglas Carrel and Helen Ward (Templar) This book is like an encyclopedia of dragons! It covers many different species, habitats, and life-cycles. It also includes magical elements, offering some useful spells and charms. Stunningly illustrated, it blendreal history and science with mythology in a truly bewitching way. For those who like their dragons grounded in lots of gorgeously presented ‘information’.
  • The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart by Stephanie Burgis (Bloomsbury) Adventurine the young dragon is so impatient to start exploring that she ignores her family’s warnings about the danger of the outside world and those alarming creatures out there. food-mage wizard turnsAdventurine into a girl and she must learn to survive in the human world. The book features friendship and chocolate, two of life’s most delightful things, and I couldn’t help falling in love with this charming story.

Dragon Daughter is published by David Fickling Books.
ISBN: 978-1-78845-021-8 - Priced £6.99
Cover art by Angelo Rinaldi
Interior art by Paul Duffield