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Children's Fiction Fantasy & Magic

Dragons in a Bag

by (author) Zetta Elliott

illustrated by Geneva B

Publisher
Random House Publishing Group
Initial publish date
Aug 2019
Category
Fantasy & Magic, Mythical, African American
  • Paperback / softback

    ISBN
    9781524770488
    Publish Date
    Aug 2019
    List Price
    $9.50
  • Hardback

    ISBN
    9781524770464
    Publish Date
    Oct 2018
    List Price
    $25.99
  • Hardback

    ISBN
    9781524770457
    Publish Date
    Oct 2018
    List Price
    $22.99

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 8 to 12
  • Grade: 3 to 7

Description

The dragon's out of the bag in this diverse, young urban fantasy from an award-winning author!

When Jaxon is sent to spend the day with a mean old lady his mother calls Ma, he finds out she's not his grandmother--but she is a witch! She needs his help delivering baby dragons to a magical world where they'll be safe. There are two rules when it comes to the dragons: don't let them out of the bag, and don't feed them anything sweet. Before he knows it, Jax and his friends Vikram and Kavita have broken both rules! Will Jax get the baby dragons delivered safe and sound? Or will they be lost in Brooklyn forever?
 
AN ALA-ALSC NOTABLE CHILDREN'S BOOK
AN NPR BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR
A CHICAGO PUBLIC LIBRARY BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR
A KIRKUS REVIEWS BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR
 
The Dragons in a Bag series continues! Don't miss The Dragon Thief, and The Witch's Apprentice.

About the authors

Born in Canada, Zetta Elliott moved to Brooklyn in 1994 to pursue her PhD in American Studies at NYU. Her poetry has been published in several anthologies, and her plays have been staged in New York, Chicago, and Cleveland. Her essays have appeared in Horn Book Magazine, School Library Journal, and The Huffington Post. Her first picture book, Bird, won the Honor Award in Lee & Low Books' New Voices Contest; it was named Best of 2008 by Kirkus Reviews, a 2009 ALA Notable Children's Book, and BIRD won the Paterson Prize for Books for Young Readers. Elliott's first young adult novel, A Wish After Midnight, has been called "gripping," "a revelation...vivid, violent and impressive history." Ship of Souls was published in February 2012; it was included in Booklist's Top Ten Sci-fi/Fantasy Titles for Youth and was a finalist for the 2013 Phillis Wheatley Award. Her latest novel, THE DEEP, was released in November 2013. She has published several illustrated books under her own imprint, Rosetta Press. She currently lives in Brooklyn.
Learn more at: http://www.zettaelliott.com/

Zetta Elliott's profile page

Geneva B's profile page

Awards

  • Nominated, Wisconsin Golden Archer Award
  • Nominated, Utah Children's Book Award
  • Nominated, Florida Sunshine State Young Readers Award
  • Nominated, Massachusetts Children's Book Award
  • Nominated, Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Award

Excerpt: Dragons in a Bag (by (author) Zetta Elliott; illustrated by Geneva B)

Mama strokes my cheek with her finger before pressing the doorbell. I feel tears pooling behind my eyes, but I will them not to fall. Mama has enough to worry about right now.

 

“It’s only for a little while, Jaxon. I’ll be back before you know it.”

 

I nod and look up at the peephole in the door. If I look down at my feet, the tears will fall and my nose will start to run and Mama will know I don’t want her to leave me here.

 

Mama’s biting her lip and tapping her toe nervously. She presses the doorbell again, letting it ring longer this time. We both hear someone stirring--and cursing--inside the apartment. Mama laughs nervously and says, “Ma curses like a sailor sometimes, but she’s a harmless old lady. She’s fun, too--you’ll like her, Jax.”

 

I never even knew I had a grandmother living in Brooklyn. Mama never mentioned her before. Sometimes Mama hides things from me--or that’s what I let her believe. Mama thinks I don’t know our landlord’s trying to get rid of us. She takes down the eviction notices he pins to our front door, but I still know what’s going on. Today Mama has to go to court. I want to go with her, but Mama wants to leave me here instead.

 

A heavy body shuffles toward the door. Mama and I wait patiently as at least three locks are turned. The chain stays on and lets the door open just a crack. I cringe as a raspy voice asks, “What you want?”

 

Mama smiles sweetly and places her palm against the door. She speaks slowly and politely. “It’s just us, Ma. I called this morning and told you we were coming. Remember?”

 

The woman behind the door barks at Mama, “Course I remember. You called and asked if you could leave the boy with me and I said NO!”

 

The sweet smile on Mama’s face doesn’t budge. If anything, it hardens. Mama tries to push the door open, but the chain’s still on and my mysterious grandmother doesn’t seem ready to move out of the way.

 

Mama puts her other hand on the doorframe and leans in so that the woman on the other side of the door can see and hear just how desperate she is. “It’s only for a few hours. Please, Ma. You’re all he has.”

 

I step back and wonder if that’s really true. I’m sure Vikram would let me stay at his house for a while. His parents like me and don’t mind having me around. Mrs. Patel calls me a good influence. That’s what the grown-ups who know me always say. But this mean lady won’t even open the door and give me a chance. If she doesn’t want me around, that’s fine by me.

 

But it’s not okay with Mama. She’s whispering to the woman behind the door, but her smile is gone now, and there are tears shining on her cheeks. I want to hold Mama’s hand, but instead I take another step back and hold on to the straps of my book bag. Mama’s saying one word over and over again: please.

 

I have never seen my mother beg anyone for anything. But it doesn’t work, because the door finally closes. Mama rests her forehead against it before wiping her eyes and turning to me. “Let’s go, Jax,” she says wearily.

 

I sigh with relief and take Mama’s hand. Just as we start to walk down the stairs, I hear the chain slide, and the door opens once more.

 

“One day. Give me your word, Alicia. One day.”

 

Mama says, “I promise, Ma.” Then she pulls me back over to my grandmother’s apartment. The door is open, but the lights are off and I can’t see anyone inside. Mama gives me a quick hug and pushes me through the doorway. Before I can ask her when she’ll be back, Mama rushes down the stairs and is gone.

Editorial Reviews

"What a breath of fresh air: a chapter-book fantasy with an urban setting, an array of brown-skinned magic wielders, and a lovable black protagonist readers will root for and sympathize with... Good, solid fantasy fun."—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"Elliott skillfully introduces themes about creating positive change, examines issues of othering and the fear of differences, and touches upon the complexities of family, gentrification, and segregation. A promising start to a new series..."—School Library Journal, starred review

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