The Kids Are All Right

The Year Of The Dragon, Ice Skating, And More!

Happy Sunday, kidlit friends! Yesterday was the start of Lunar New Year celebrations, and while I’ve already recommended Lunar New Year children’s books in a previous newsletter, since this year is the Year of the Dragon, I thought I would review dragon books! I am a dragon girl and will read almost anything with a dragon in it.

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Bookish Goods

Books Are Magic Dragon Sticker by UmasWonderland

Books Are Magic Dragon Sticker by UmasWonderland

This adorable sticker is a perfect Lunar New Year gift for dragon-loving kids (or adults). $5+

New Releases

Cover of Not Yet: The Story of an Unstoppable Skater by Hadley Davis and Zahra Lari, illustrated by Sara Alfageeh

Not Yet: The Story of an Unstoppable Skater by Hadley Davis and Zahra Lari, illustrated by Sara Alfageeh

This is an inspiring picture book biography about the first figure skater to compete nationally in a hijab —Zahra Lari. As a child, Zahra would pretend to skate on her home’s hardwood floor in socks. Family and friends would tell her she couldn’t be a figure skater, but her father believed she should be able to follow her interests and signed her up for skating lessons. After many falls, she succeeds in competing and wears her hijab as she skates. Zahra co-writes this with the co-creator of Disney’s Ice Princesses, the movie Zahra says inspired her to become a figure skater. So cool! Ice Castles was the figure skating movie I was obsessed with as a kid.

Cover of The Liars Society by Alyson Gerber

The Liars Society by Alyson Gerber

This is a super fun middle grade mystery about secret societies, elite private schools, and sailing. It’s told from two perspectives. Weatherby earns a scholarship at an elite private school because of her sailing skills. Her father left before she was born, and her single mother raised her with the help of a neighbor who taught her how to sail. Jack is the youngest son of one of the richest families in America and feels constant pressure from his father to be the perfect Hunt. When he loses a sailing match to Weatherby, he’s angry and anxious. He, of course, attends the private school where Weatherby will now be attending. Both are tapped to join a secret society, but all is not what it seems.

For a more comprehensive list of new releases, check out our New Books newsletter.

Riot Recommendations

As I already mentioned, I love dragon books no matter what age group they’re written for. Here are four recentish or forthcoming ones I really enjoyed.

Cover of The Truth About Dragons by Julie Leung

The Truth About Dragons by Julie Leung, illustrated by Hanna Cha

This stunning picture book just won the Asian Pacific American Award for Literature and a Caldecott Honor at the recent ALA awards, and for good reason. It’s a beautifully illustrated and heartwarming picture book about a biracial child learning dragon folklore from grandmothers from two different cultures — Eastern and Western. He imagines himself exploring two different forests, encountering his grandmothers in these forests, and witnessing a dragon. It’s a really special book.

Cover of 100 Mighty Dragons All Named Broccoli

100 Mighty Dragons All Named Broccoli by David LaRochelle, illustrated by Lian Cho

While the previous dragon picture book was a warm and delightful exploration of heritage, this one is completely hilarious and ludicrous. It won me over on the title alone, but I’m happy to say the contents lived up to the title. It’s a counting book about a large dragon family, all named Broccoli, slowly getting willowed down as they travel, go on adventures, and encounter wizards until finally, there’s only one dragon named Broccoli. Or is there more? The illustrations are so perfectly whimsical and expressive.

Cover of Drag and Rex 1: Forever Friends by Susan Lubner, illustrated by Blythe Russo

Drag and Rex 1: Forever Friends by Susan Lubner, illustrated by Blythe Russo

This delightful chapter book is on the lower end of chapter book reading levels. It describes the daily lives of two best friends — a dragon named Drag and a T-rex named Rex. These two friends have very different personalities. Drag is a daydreaming, disorganized, adventurous dragon full of new ideas. Rex is a polite, slightly grumpy, organized dinosaur who is always ready and willing to help friends. This chapter book is divided into three stories with three chapters each. It’s really great for kids just beginning to read chapter books.

Cover of Paper Dragons by Siobhan McDermott

Paper Dragons by Siobhan McDermott

This fun middle grade fantasy releases on March 5th. The world-building is really intricate and fascinating. The main character, 12-year-old Yeung, is training to become an immortal in a secret underwater world after being raised by an elderly healer woman and being shunned by her village because her hair doesn’t glow around dragon scales. All the students have to pass challenges to stay in the program. Meanwhile, the entire kingdom is being attacked by zombie-like creatures, and she has some kind of special powers to pull rails out of the sky. And a cute duck companion.

Stuffed animal cat in a bush, the kids are all right

If you love the American Girl series, you might recognize this dress. A friend had extra American Girl dolls she was giving away and gave my daughter Felicity wearing this dress. I always wanted an American Girl doll as a kid and told my daughter about them, and we checked out a Felicity book at the library. The next day, one of her cat stuffed animals was wearing the dress, and she hasn’t played with the doll since that first day. Ah well! She loves her cats.

If you’d like to read more of my kidlit reviews, I’m on Instagram @BabyLibrarians, Twitter @AReaderlyMom, Bluesky, and blog irregularly at Baby Librarians. You can also read my Book Riot posts. If you’d like to drop me a line, my email is

All the best,

Margaret Kingsbury