November 17, 2020
When 12-year-old Billy Chan finds out his parents are sending him to a language and culture camp in the middle-of-nowhere China, he can’t imagine anything worse. He’s not expecting to become friends with fellow campers Dylan O’Donnell, Charlotte Bell, and Liu Ling-Fei. And he’s definitely not planning to meet any dragons. But when the four kids accidentally open a crack in an ancient mountain, they become involved in an ages-old struggle of good versus evil. Now it’s up to them to save the Dragon Realm—if they don’t, the world as they know it might disappear forever.
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I have a LOT of conversations with students about why dragons are awesome and what they are looking for in books about dragons. It's always worth having a solid collection of dragon books in middle school libraries, but especially important now that Tui Sutherland's Wings of Fire series has creative a large fan base. Dragon Mountain is tailor made for young readers who secretly want their own dragon. First of all, this begins at a school. There's a whole sub genre of fantasy books with "academies" that my students like. I love that this one is set in China (they have the best dragons!), and that the cast is multicultural. This is well paced, and moves us right along. The bonds with the personalized dragons will delight dragon fans, and cause a fair number of playground reenactments among younger reads; middle schoolers stick to fan art, and I'm sure I'll get some. It's rare that as I read through a book I think "Yep. Kids will like that. And that. And that." I wonder if the authors talked to actual young readers! Great stuff. Also, the twist at the end was fantastic..
This will be popular with readers who enjoyed Durst's Spark, Zhao's Dragon Warrior Series, Oh's The Dragon Egg Princess, Mancusi's Dragon Ops, and Halbrook's Silver Batal and the Water Dragon Races .
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