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Friendship, Diversity, and Dragons in This Magical Chapter Book From Award-Winning Author Zetta Elliot

Updated on January 4, 2019
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Cindy Hewitt is a retired teacher with a passion for children's literature. Read-aloud stories add quality to a child's life experiences.

Magical Read Complete with a Witch, Dragons, and Diversity in Its Characters

Fun read for young readers who like fantasy and magic
Fun read for young readers who like fantasy and magic | Source

Fantasy and Magic Along with Lessons in Friendship and Diversity

Fans of award-winning author Zetta Elliott will want to add his new magical read Dragons in a Bag to their reading list. Dragons in a Bag has the special element of an African-American little hero with the character of Jax who has the task of saving some baby dragons at the request of a witch. Fantasy in a chapter book for ages 8-12 at its best with this fun read.

Jax lives in Brooklyn with his mom, and Brooklyn is certainly an unlikely place to find a witch and baby dragons. Jax's mom must leave him for awhile one day with an old lady who calls her Ma and Jax thinks that this lady is his grandmother. he hopes that his mom will return soon. Much to his surprise, this old lady is not his grandmother. She is a witch! She has a special request for Jax and the adventures begin when Jax agrees to take on the task as requested by the witch. There are two baby dragons that the witch has in a bag that must be returned to their safe world. Jax enlists the help of his friends to accomplish this task. There are two special rules for handling the dragons and Jax manages to break both rules. He and his friends manage to lose the baby dragons in Brooklyn and chaos creates a page turner to see if Jax can find and return the baby dragons safely.

The black and white illustrations are well-done. The diversity of the African-American character as a hero makes Dragons in a Bag a great read for all young readers who find it sometimes difficult to find books that feature a character who has the same racial identity as they do.

Dragons in a Bag was published by Random House Children's Books with an ISBN of 978-1-5247-7045-7. It is recommended for ages 8-12.

Creative Black and White Illustrations Add to the Appeal of the Young African-American Hero

Jax thinks that the old lady is his grandmother.  He is surprised to learn that she is actually a witch!
Jax thinks that the old lady is his grandmother. He is surprised to learn that she is actually a witch! | Source
Baby dragons in a bag must be safely returned to their own world
Baby dragons in a bag must be safely returned to their own world | Source

Bring Jax and Mission to Save the Baby Dragons Into the Classroom

Teachers who teach language arts classes along with reading for ages 8-12 will want to add Elliott's Dragons in a Bag to their classroom library. It is sometimes difficult to find chapter books for young readers with diverse characters and young African-American students will relate to Jax and his friends as the hero of this fun read. Dragons in a Bag will also offer the opportunity for students to be engaged in creative writing activities to spark imaginative tales of their own.

*Read Dragons in a Bag as a group reading session with a few chapters read each day. Chapter books are always popular in that students enjoy sharing the story for a period of days.

*Call attention to Chapter 5 when the old woman tells Jax about the little creatures that she has in her care. She tells Jax that "every living creature needs help to survive in this world. I do the best I can for the creatures in my care, but sometimes...". What lesson does this teach? Take a class poll of students who have pets that they must care for.

*The little dragons are actually little dinosaurs called Pteranodon. This brings a new dimension to add other activities to enhance Elliott's Dragons in a Box. Dinosaurs are always of interest to young readers.

*Assign a creative writing project for students to create their own story of a magical creature that they would like to rescue.

*Chapter 10 offers an opportunity to introduce a geography concept of the earth's continents. Jax travels to Madagascar in his adventure to save the baby dragons. Madagascar is part of the Southern Hemisphere continents.

*Introduce the concept of time travel. Assign a creative writing activity for students to write their own story of a time travel adventure that they would like to have.

*Take a class poll of students who thought that Jax's mom believed his story when she returned.

Fantasy Chapter Books in the Classroom

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© 2019 Cindy Hewitt


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