As should be obvious from my blog name and logo, I love dragons! That said, I haven’t read all the books on this list (not even close), so I can’t vouch for the quality of all of them.
- I’ve broken the list down by age group (and a few other classes.)
- Each book or series is in alphabetical order by author. Series are generally listed under the first book, with an additional link to the series page on Goodreads.
- Title links take you to Goodreads.
- Review links are to my reviews.
- Bold titles are books I have read.
- Double asterisks indicate books with diverse main or significant secondary characters. By “diverse,” I mean characters who are one or more of the following:
- people of color (abbreviated POC or BIPOC, meaning “black, indigenous, and people of color”)
- people of (real-world or analog) ethnicities, cultures, and/or religions other than white, European/Western, and Christian. (I’m not counting fantasy-world cultures or religions as “diverse” unless heavily based on specific real-world versions.)
- LGBTQIA people
- people who are disabled/differently-abled, or not neurotypical
- people with mental illness
Finally, this list is far from exhaustive, and is still a work in progress. I included only books I’ve read or have heard good things about from other readers. If I’ve left out your favorite book(s), send me an email with the title, author, and why you like the book. And if you notice that I didn’t mark a book as having diverse characters when it actually does, please let me know, and I’ll update the list.
Last updated on 5/17/2022.
Dragon Books Master List
- Sleeping Dragons All Around by Sheree Fitch, illustrated by Michelle Nidenoff
- Do Not Bring Your Dragon to the Library** by Julie Gassman, illustrated by Andy Elkerman (review) (various POC and disabled characters)
- The Reluctant Dragon by Kenneth Graham, illustrated by Michael Hague
- St. George and the Dragon by Margaret Hodges, illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman
- The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch, illustrated by Michael Martchenko
- Raising Dragons** by Jerdine Nolen, illustrated by Elise Primavera (POC main character)
- La Princesa Dragon/The Loathesome Dragon by David Wiesner, illustrated by Kim Kahng
- Ignis by Gina Wilson, illustrated by P. J. Lynch
- The Princess and the Dragon by Audrey Wood
- Puff, the Magic Dragon by Peter Yarrow, illustrated by Eric Puybaret
- Dove Isabeau by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Dennis Nolan
- Merlin and the Dragons by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Li Ming (review)
- The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart** by Stephanie Burgis (and its sequels) (my review of book 1) (**Silke, a secondary character in book 1 and main character in book 2, is POC.)
- Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher by Bruce Coville
- How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell (and its sequels)
- The Fire Within by Chris deLacy (and The Last Dragon Chronicles series)
- Kenny and the Dragon by Tony DiTerlizzi
- The Neverending Story by Michael Ende
- Dragon’s Milk by Susan Fletcher (and the Dragon Chronicles series) (MG/YA)
- Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke
- My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett (and the My Father’s Dragon trilogy)
- Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day George (and its sequels)
- The Reluctant Dragon by Kenneth Graham
- Handbook for Dragon Slayers** by Merrie Haskell (Princess Matilda is disabled)
- The Dragon in the Sock Drawer by Kate Klimo (and the Dragon Keepers series)
- Dragon Pearl** by Yoon Ha Lee (and its sequel; based on Korean mythology)
- The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C. S. Lewis
- Where the Mountain Meets the Moon** by Grace Lin (Minli and most of the other characters are Chinese.)
- The Book of Dragons by E. Nesbit
- Farmer Giles of Ham by J. R. R. Tolkien (all ages)
- The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Design by Cathrynne Valente
- Princeless** by Jeremy Whitely (graphic novel, all ages) (and its sequels) (Princess Adrienne is BIPOC.)
- Dealing with Dragons by Patricia Wrede (and the Enchanted Forest Chronicles series)
Note: Some of these are or were marketed as adult fantasy (particularly the Lackey books), but the protagonists are young or coming-of-age adult, so I included them here.
- The Sweetest Dark, The Deepest Night, and The Fiercest Joy by Shana Abe (reviews of book 1, book 2) Abe’s adult historical-fantasy Drakon romance series (below) is related to this series.
- Dragon’s Keep by Janet Lee Carey (and the Wilde Island Chronicles)
- The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman (and the Invisible Library series) (review of book 1)
- The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde (and the Chronicles of Kazam) (review)
- Seraphina and Shadowscale by Rachel Hartman (review of Seraphina)
- The Saint of Dragons by Jason Hightman (and its sequel, Samurai)
- The Finding by Jenna Elizabeth Johnson (and the Legend of Oescienne series)
- The Story of Owen and Prairie Fire by E. K. Johnston
- Firelight by Sophie Jordan (and the Firelight trilogy)
- Talon by Julie Kagawa (and the Talon series)
- A Book Dragon by Donn Kushner (I need to read this one!)
- Joust by Mercedes Lackey (and the Dragon Jousters quartet) (YA/adult)
- One Good Knight by Mercedes Lackey (YA/adult)
- A Wizard of Earthsea and The Farthest Shore by Ursula K. LeGuin (as I recall, the middle book of the series doesn’t have dragons in it)
- Dragonsong, Dragonsinger, and Dragondrums (the Harper Hall trilogy) by Anne McCaffrey (my mini-review of books 1 & 2) These books have both full-size dragons and miniature dragons called firelizards. McCaffrey also has an extensive series for adults (below.)
- The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley
- Dragonhaven by Robin McKinley
- Eragon by Christopher Paolini (and the Inheritance Cycle series)
- The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien (MG/YA and adult.) To be fair, the dragon Smaug is only in part of the book, but he is quite memorable.
- Dragon’s Blood by Jane Yolen (and the Pit Dragon Chronicles)
- Nice Dragons Finish Last by Rachel Aaron (and the Heartstrikers series) (review of book 1)
- A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan (and The Memoirs of Lady Trent series)
- Dragon Bones and Dragon Blood by Patricia Briggs
- Scales and Sensibility by Stephanie Burgis (and the Regency Dragons series) (review of book 1)
- The Dragon and the George by Gordon Dickson (and the Dragon Knight series)
- Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly (and the Winterlands quartet)
- The Dragon Keeper by Robin Hobb (and the Rain Wild Chronicles)
- A Book Dragon by Don Kushner. I’m told this is also readable by YA and advanced MG readers.
- Tea with the Black Dragon** and Twisting the Rope** by R. A. MacAvoy (Chinese or Chinese-American characters)
- the Pern series by Anne McCaffrey (review of The Dragonriders of Pern trilogy; the full series spans over 20 books, plus more by her son Todd McCaffrey.) These books have both full-sized dragons and miniature dragons called firelizards.
- The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia McKillip (World Fantasy Award winner; could be considered YA)
- His Majesty’s Dragon** by Naomi Novik (and the whole Temeraire series) (series review – a guest post on Because Reading; and my review of book #1) (** secondary characters of color from book 2 onward, but none in book 1)
- Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett, and a few other Discworld books
- Dragonworld by Brian Preiss and Michael Reaves
- Dragon Prince by Melanie Rawn (and the Dragon Prince trilogy)
- The Awakening by Nora Roberts (and the Dragon Heart Legacy trilogy)
- Her Majesty’s Wizard by Christopher Stasheff
- Tooth and Claw by Jo Walton
- The Dragonlance: Chronicles trilogy by Margaret Weis (and the 225+ other Dragonlance books by Weiss and other authors)
- Dragon and Thief by Timothy Zahn (and the Dragonback series)
Dragon-shifter romance (adult)
- The Smoke Thief by Shana Abe (and the Drakon series). Note: Abe’s YA Sweetest Dark series (above, under YA) is related to this series.
- The Dragon Kin series by G. A. Aiken
- The Dragonfire series by Deborah Cooke
- The Elder Races series by Thea Harrison (but only some of them)
- The Dragon series by Allyson James
- The Light Dragons series, the Silver Dragon series, and the Dragon falls series by Katie MacAlister
- Heart of the Dragon by Gena Showalter
Books with dragons in them, but only in part of the book or not central to the plot (various age levels)
- The Nibelungenlied (German myth cycle)
- The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill (MG; Newbery Award winner)
- The Unlikely Ones by Mary Brown (Adult, but could be read by mature YA readers; contains some adult scenes)
- Magician by Raymond Feist (also published in 2 volumes as Magician: Apprentice and Magician: Master) (YA/Adult)
- The Dark Lord of Derkholm by Diana Wynn Jones (YA)
- The Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine (MG/YA)
- Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin (and the Song of Ice and Fire series) (very definitely Adult.) Dragons feature prominently in the Daenerys Targaryen plotline, but it is only one among many simultaneous plotlines.
- The Immortals quartet** by Tamora Pierce (YA.) In the first and fourth book, dragons are a bit more integral to the plot. Kitten, the young dragonet, is an important secondary character in the second through fourth books, and dragons feature heavily in a portion of book four. (**Daine can be read as a POC character, as can Numair. There are also a number of POC secondary characters.)
- The Lost Hero** by Rick Riordan (YA), and some of its sequels in the Heroes of Olympus series (**diverse cast generally)
- The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss (Adult, though could be read by mature YA readers) (my review) The dragon appears only in one relatively short section of the book.
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s/Philospher’s Stone; Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire; and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling (MG/YA) The dragons in these books are important in specific scenes, but only in those scenes.
- The Grendel Affair, by Lisa Shearin (and the SPI Files series.) (Adult; could be read by YA) Makenna’s boss is a shape-shifting dragon who usually appears as a human being. This factors into the plot of several of the books, but is not generally the main focus, nor does she spend a lot of time in dragon-shape.
Short-story collections, encyclopedias, compendia, and psuedo-nonfiction
- The Dragon Book: Magical Tales From the Masters of Modern Fantasy, ed. by Jack Dann (short story anthology)
- Dragon Fantastic, ed. by Martin and Rosalind Greenberg (short story anthology)
- Dragons: A Natural History by Karl Schuker
- Dragonology by Dugald A. Steer (aka Ernest Drake), illustrated by Wayne Anderson
- The Book of Dragons, ed. by Jonathan Strahan (short story anthology)
- A Dragon-Lover’s Treasury of the Fantastic (short story anthology ed. by Margaret Weis)
More lists of dragon books
- Dragons (Goodreads)
- Best YA Dragon Books (Goodreads)
- The Best Dragon Books (List Challenges)
- 17 YA Books with Dragons (Epic Reads)
- Best Dragon Shifter Novels (Goodreads)
- The Evolution of Dragons in Western Literature: A History (Yvonne Shiau, Tor.com) Both and essay and a list.
- The 50 Best Fictional Dragons, Ranked (Literary Hub) Ignore the rankings and simply treat this as a list which includes dragons from books, movies, games, and even songs, as well as myths of various cultures… though there are some notable dragons missing from the list.