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Books to Celebrate the Year of the Dragon

Posted about 3 months ago by Jennifer Deuell
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This year marks the year of the wood dragon, an animal that in Chinese culture symbolizes power, luck, nobility, honor, and success. The year 2024 is predicted to be a year full of changes, challenges, and opportunities. Get inspired and make this your year of triumph.

To help you celebrate the Year of the Dragon, I’ve put together this booklist for the Year of the Dragon. Included are books for all ages meant to educate and embolden. Enjoy!

 

 

Picture Books

 

The Year of the Dragon: Tales from the Chinese Zodiac by Oliver Chin

2012 is the year of the dragon! Dominic’s parents advise the kingdom’s Emperor and have high expectations for this high-flying dragon. However, when the boy Bo and the other zodiac animals want to learn paddle boat racing, will Dom sink or swim with them? Find out in the seventh book in the Tales from the Chinese Zodiac series.

 

 

Long Goes to Dragon School by Helen H. Wu

It’s the first day of Dragon School, where all the young dragons must learn how to harness their fire-breathing skills. Today’s lesson? Using it to cook food! All the dragons are excited to test their powers…except Long. Long is from the East and can only breathe out water. No matter how hard he huffs and puffs, he isn’t sure he can match his fire-breathing classmates. But will his talents be discovered? Or will Long find his own unique path to cooking–and to fitting in?

 

 

Amy W and the Patchwork Dragon by Kat Zhang

Amy loves craft time at school, but when her teacher asks everyone to make their own dragon, Amy feels stuck. Her first dragon has a long, wingless body, stag-like horns, and eagle claws, but her friends don’t think it’s a real dragon. Then she makes dragons like theirs, but none of them feels quite right – none of them feels like hers. After school, a story from Grandma sparks new inspiration, and Amy rounds up her family to help her. Will Amy make her perfect dragon?

 

 

JUVENILE BOOKS

 

Zachary Ying and the Dragon Emperor by Xiran Jay Zhao

This middle grades read follows Zachary Ying, a young boy raised by a single mom who hasn’t gotten the chance to learn much about his Chinese heritage. His fate, however, leads him to host the spirit of China’s first emperor so that he can seal the portal to China’s underworld and save the mortal realm, including his mother.

 

 

Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things by Lenore Look

Alvin, an Asian American second grader, is afraid of everything—elevators, tunnels, girls, and, most of all, school. He’s so afraid of school that, while he’ s there, he never, ever, says a word. But at home, Alvin is a very loud superhero named Firecracker Man, a brother to Calvin and Anibelly, and a gentleman-in-training, just like his dad. With the help of his family, can Alvin take on the outside world without letting his fears get the best of him?

 

 

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin

In the valley of Fruitless Mountain, a young girl named Minli lives in a ramshackle hut with her parents. In the evenings, her father regales her with old folktales of the Jade Dragon and the Old Man on the Moon, who knows the answers to all of life’s questions. Inspired by these stories, Minli sets off on an extraordinary journey to find the Old Man on the Moon to ask him how she can change her family’s fortune. She encounters an assorted cast of characters and magical creatures along the way, including a dragon who accompanies her on her quest for the ultimate answer.

 

 

Young Adult Books

 

American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang

Gene understands stories – comic book stories, in particular. Big action. Bigger thrills. And the hero always wins. But Gene doesn’t get sports. As a kid, his friends called him “Stick” and every basketball game he played ended in pain. He lost interest in basketball long ago, but at the high school where he now teaches, it’s all anyone can talk about. The men’s varsity team, the Dragons, is having a phenomenal season that’s been decades in the making. Each victory brings them closer to their ultimate goal: the California State Championships. Once Gene gets to know these young all-stars, he realizes that their story is just as thrilling as anything he’s seen on a comic book page. He knows he has to follow this epic to its end. What he doesn’t know yet is that this season is not only going to change the Dragon’s lives, but his own life as well.

 

 

When You Wish Upon a Lantern by Gloria Chao

Liya and Kai had been best friends since they were little kids– but they haven’t spoken since a humiliating incident sparked The Biggest Misunderstanding Of All Time. When Liya discovers her family’s wishing lantern store is struggling, she decides to resume a tradition she had with her beloved late grandmother: secretly fulfilling the wishes people write on the lanterns they send into the sky. It may save the store, but she can’t do it alone– and Kai is the only one who cares enough to help. Their feuding families and their changing futures threaten to tear them apart again. Can they find a way to make their own wishes come true?

 

 

The Silence that Binds Us by Joanna Ho

Maybelline Chen isn’t the Chinese Taiwanese American daughter her mother expects her to be. May prefers hoodies over dresses and wants to become a writer. When asked, her mom can’t come up with one specific reason for why she’s proud of her only daughter. May’s beloved brother, Danny, on the other hand, has just been admitted to Princeton. But Danny secretly struggles with depression, and when he dies by suicide, May’s world is shattered.

In the aftermath, racist accusations are hurled against May’s parents for putting too much “pressure” on him. May’s father tells her to keep her head down. Instead, May challenges these ugly stereotypes through her writing. Yet the consequences of speaking out run much deeper than anyone could foresee. Who gets to tell our stories, and who gets silenced It’s up to May to take back the narrative.

 

 

Adult Books

 

When Women Were Dragons by Kelly Barnhill

Alex Green is a young girl in a world much like ours, except for its most seminal event: the Mass Dragoning of 1955, when hundreds of thousands of ordinary wives and mothers sprouted wings, scales, and talons; left a trail of fiery destruction in their path; and took to the skies. Was it their choice? What will become of those left behind? Why did Alex’s beloved aunt Marla transform but her mother did not? Alex doesn’t know. It’s taboo to speak of.   Forced into silence, Alex nevertheless must face the consequences of this astonishing event: a mother more protective than ever; an absentee father; the upsetting insistence that her aunt never even existed; and watching her beloved cousin Bea become dangerously obsessed with the forbidden. In this timely and timeless speculative novel, award-winning author Kelly Barnhill boldly explores rage, memory, and the tyranny of forced limitations.

 

 

The Spear Cuts Through Water by Simon Jimenez

The people suffer under the centuries-long rule of the Moon Throne. The royal family–the despotic emperor and his monstrous sons, the Three Terrors–hold the countryside in their choking grip. They bleed the land and oppress the citizens with the frightful powers they inherited from the god locked under their palace. But that god cannot be contained forever. With the aid of Jun, a guard broken by his guilt-stricken past, and Keema, an outcast fighting for his future, the god escapes from her royal captivity and flees from her own children, the triplet Terrors who would drag her back to her unholy prison. And so it is that she embarks with her young companions on a five-day pilgrimage in search of freedom–and a way to end the Moon Throne forever. The journey ahead will be more dangerous than any of them could have imagined.

 

 

Beautiful Country by Qian Julie Wang

The moving story of an undocumented child living in poverty in the richest country in the world. Inhabiting her childhood perspective with exquisite lyric clarity and unforgettable charm and strength, Qian Julie Wang has penned an essential American story about a family fracturing under the weight of invisibility, and a girl coming of age in the shadows, who never stops seeking the light.

 

 

Jennifer Deuell

Jenn Deuell is a Librarian with Richmond Public Library. She is a native of Fredericksburg, VA but has lived in Richmond for long enough that she now considers it home. She loves all things YA and can usually be found curled up at home with a good book (rainy day or not). Her other hobbies include traveling and spending time with family, including her husband, daughter Hannah, and two rescued pit bulls. For YA reading recommendations from Jenn, visit Bookologist.

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