Dragons are having a moment. Move over unicorns, because dragons have taken the top spot for most popular mythological creature. You can thank J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books and the How to Train your Dragon movies for pushing dragons to the forefront of kid culture, while Game of Thrones captured parents’ attention.
Dragons even have their own day. January 16 has been designated as “Appreciate a Dragon Day.” This celebration was the creation of author Donita K. Paul. She came up with the idea in 2004 to celebrate the release of her Dragon Keepers Chronicles fantasy novel series. “Appreciate a Dragon Day” was originally a literary celebration and hasn’t strayed far from its roots. A quick search online pulls up dozens of activities and books for families to commemorate the day, including art projects, crafts, and stories.
If you have someone in your house who is as obsessed with dragons as my kids, here’s how you can spend an entire day (or longer) in appreciation of these majestic mythical creatures.
In keeping with the literary roots, here are a few dragon-themed books that your child will love to read.
FOR AGES 3 – 8
King Jack and the Dragon by Peter Bently
The perfect bedtime story about a young king and his friends fighting fearsome beasts.
There’s a Dragon in Your Book by Tom Fletcher and Greg Abbott
This book will get your kids using their imaginations as they act out the pages while you read.
Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin
It’s a book about tacos. And dragons. What else is there to say?
FOR AGES 8-12
Rise of the Dragon by Angie Sage
Dragons are alive and well in the modern age. A young heroine befriends a dragon after they return from centuries-long exile.
A Dragon’s Guide by Laurence Yep
This series is about a dragon named Miss Drake and her pet human, Winnie, who happens to think that she has a pet dragon.
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin
Minli is a a young girl who sets out on a journey to change her family’s fortunes. Along the way, she meets a dragon who joins her on her quest.
FOR AGES 13 & UP
Dragon Keepers Chronicles by Donita K. Paul
The books that started it all. A girl must recover a stolen dragon egg. There are three books in this series.
The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill
A graphic novel about the care and keeping of tea dragons, small creatures that grow out of tea leaves.
Dragon Cartoons & Movies
Based on the popular How to Train Your Dragon movies, Riders of Berk follows the adventures of Hiccup, Astrid, and their friends. This cartoon series is on Netflix and can also be purchased on other platforms.
There are countless family-friendly movies that feature dragons. From Harry Potter, How to Train Your Dragon, Pete’s Dragon, The NeverEnding Story, Mulan, Sleeping Beauty, Shrek, and Maleficent. You could have a weekend-long marathon of dragon-themed movies, and still not watch everything.
Dragon Puppets can easily be made using empty paper towel rolls, with just paint and scissors. Plastic cup dragons are also an easy craft for kids. Dragon Origami may be a little more labor intensive, but the final product is definitely worth it.
If you prefer to take your Dragon Appreciation out of the house, stop by the Balch Springs Library. The library staff has planned a Dragon Scavenger hunt along with other dragon-themed activities and crafts starting on January 16. Check out the Balch Springs Library site for more information.
To truly immerse yourself in Dragon Appreciation, plan a visit to Dragon Park Gardens in Dallas. Dragon Park is a small, secluded garden filled with dragon sculptures. Technically, the park is private property, but visitors are welcome to search it out. Dragon Park is in Oak Lawn between Cedar Springs and Hood Street. So pack a snack of dragonfruit (yes it’s an actual food) and head to Dallas to dine in the park with dragons.
To learn more about Appreciate a Dragon Day, visit the official website for Donita K. Paul.