Flying the Dragon

Readers Advisory

More kite and kite flying fiction – picture books and novels (subject appeal):

Blanco, Alberto. Angel’s kite: la estrella de Angel. A young boy makes a kite that mysteriously restores a long-missing bell to the town church. Ever since the church bell disappeared, life in Angel’s town just hasn’t been the same. People have gotten used to it, but Angel, the young kite maker, can’t forget. The bilingual (English/Spanish) story of how a young kite maker mysteriously brings back the missing church bell to his beloved town. Full-color illustrations. (

Hall, Bruce Edward. Henry and the kite dragon. In New York City in the 1920s, the children from Chinatown go after the children from Little Italy for throwing rocks at the beautiful kites Grandfather Chin makes, not realizing that they have a reason for doing so. (

Luenn, Nancy. The dragon kite. A crafty thief constructs a magnificent kite which he hopes will enable him to reach the golden dolphins that adorn the roof of a nearby castle. (

Messer, Stephen. Windblowne. Hapless Oliver, who lives in the trees in the town of Windblowne, seeks his eccentric great-uncle Gilbert’s help in creating a kite for the all-important kite festival, but when Gilbert suddenly disappears, Oliver is guided by one of Gilbert’s kites in a quest through different worlds to find him. (

Park, Linda Sue. The kite fighters. In Korea in 1473, eleven-year-old Young-sup overcomes his rivalry with his older brother Kee-sup, who as the first-born son receives special treatment from their father, and combines his kite-flying skill with Kee-sup’s kite-making skill in an attempt to win the New Year kite-fighting competition.

Reynolds, Aaron. Tiger Moth and the dragon kite contest. Insect ninjas Tiger Moth and Kung Pow enter a dragon kite contest, and must figure out what smells fishy when a fighting kite begins to knock the others out of the sky. (NoveList)

Torres, Leyla. The kite festival. While on a Sunday outing, Fernando and his family encounter a kite festival and decide to create a kite from scrap materials so that they can join in. (

Williams, Laura E. The best winds. Young Jinho does not like to listen to the boring childhood stories that his grandfather tells, but as the two build a kite together, Jinho sees the old man in a new light. (

Nonfiction books about kites and kite flying (subject appeal):

Demi. Kites: Magic wishes that fly up to the sky. A story of how kite-flying started in China and of what the various kites represent and mean. Includes directions for making and decorating magic kites. (

Gibbons, Gail. Catch the wind. When two children visit Ike’s Kite Shop they learn about kites and how to fly them. Includes instructions for building a kite. (

Greger, Margaret. Kites for everyone: how to make and fly them. Thorough, expert guide with easy-to-follow illustrated instructions for creating more than 50 awesome, airborne objects – everything from simple bag kites to Vietnamese, Snake, Dutch, Dragon, Bullet, Delta, and Flowform flyers. The author also covers windsocks and toy parachutes. “It’s like having a veteran kitemaker in the classroom.” (Science and Children)

Hosking, Wayne. Asian kites. Asian Kites introduces kids to the fascinating art of kite making. Kids will learn all the steps for creating beautiful, unique, and creative kites with easy-to-find materials. The book explores a range of styles of Asian kites, including kites from China, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, and Korea. (

Hunt, Leslie. 25 kites that fly. Written by a kite maker for the U.S. Weather Bureau, this guide features detailed instructions for creating standard two-stick kites, six-point stars, figural kites, balloon kites, tetrahedral kites, box kites, and many other varieties. Complete descriptions of methods and materials include directions for making tails, reeling and stringing, and much more. 70 illustrations. (

Jango-Cohen, Judith. Ben Franklin’s big shock. Read about the famous experiment in electricity and its importance. (

Morgan, Paul. The ultimate kite book. A complete guide to choosing, making, and flying kites of all kinds – from boxes and sleds to diamonds and deltas, from stunts and fighters to parachutes and more! (

Pelham, David. The Penguin book of kites. Step-by-step instructions on how to make many types of kites, as well as reels, measuring flight altitude, and more. (

Other books about immigrating to America (subject appeal):

Ada, Alma Flor. My name is Maria Isabel. Third grader María Isabel, born in Puerto Rico and now living in the U.S., wants badly to fit in at school; and the teacher’s writing assignment “My Greatest Wish” gives her that opportunity. (

Applegate, Katherine. Home of the brave. Kek, an African refugee, is confronted by many strange things at the Minneapolis home of his aunt and cousin, as well as in his fifth grade classroom, and longs for his missing mother, but finds comfort in the company of a cow and her owner. (

Fleming, Candace. Lowji discovers America. A nine-year-old East Indian boy tries to adjust to his new life in suburban America. (

Gunning, Monica. America, my new home: poems. In twenty-three compelling poems, a young girl carries her dreams from her Carribbean island birthplace to America, a new land she finds at once puzzling, frightening, and inspiring. (

Himelblaugh, Linda. The trouble begins. Reunited with his family for the first time since he was a baby, fifth grader Du struggles to adapt to his new home in the United States. (

Lai, Thanhha. Inside out & back again. Through a series of poems, a young girl chronicles the life-changing year of 1975, when she, her mother, and her brothers leave Vietnam and resettle in Alabama. (

Lombard, Jenny. Drita, my homegirl. When ten-year-old Drita and her family, refugees from Kosovo, move to New York, Drita is teased about not speaking English well, but after a popular student named Maxine is forced to learn about Kosovo as a punishment for teasing Drita, the two girls soon bond. (

Mak, Kam. My Chinatown: one year in poems. A boy adjusts to life away from his home in Hong Kong, in the Chinatown of his new American city. (

Perez, Armada Irma. My diary from here to there. A young girl describes her feelings when her father decides to leave their home in Mexico to look for work in the United States. (

Yep, Laurence. The dragon’s child: a story of Angel Island. In 1922, ten-year-old Gim Lew reluctantly leaves his village in China to accompany his father to America, but before they go he must prepare for a grueling test that he must pass – without stuttering – at California’s Angel Island, where strict officials strive to keep out unwanted immigrants. Includes facts about immigration from China and the experiences of the author’s family. (

Other books about cousins (character appeal):

Ada, Alma Flor. Dancing home. When Margie’s cousin Lupe comes from Mexico to live in California with Margie’s family, Lupe must adapt to America, while Margie, who thought it would be fun to have her cousin there, finds that she is embarrassed by her in school and jealous of her at home. (

Amado, Elisa. Cousins. A little girl lives in two vastly different households, the house of her father is expensive and quiet, but her grandmother’s house where her cousin lives is brimming with people. (

Hesse, Karen. Letters from Rifka. In letters to her cousin, a young Jewish girl chronicles her family’s flight from Russia in 1919 and her own experiences when she must be left in Belgium for a while when the others immigrate to America. (

Look, Lenore. Ruby Lu, The empress of everything. After Ruby Lu’s deaf cousin, Flying Duck, and her parents come from China to live with her, Ruby finds life challenging as she adjusts to her new family, tries to mend her rocky relationship with her friend Emma, and faces various adventures in summer school. (

Rylant, Cynthia. In Aunt Lucy’s kitchen. While staying with their aunt for a year, three nine-year-old cousins keep busy baking and selling cookies, putting on a poetry and singing performance, and trying to encourage a romance between their aunt and one of their former customers. (

Shahan, Sherry. Frozen stiff. Cousins Cody and Derek take a kayak trip in Alaska and find themselves battling the raw elements of an untamed wilderness. (

Smith, Greg Leitich. Tofu and T. Rex. Hans-Peter, who enjoys working in his family’s Chicago delicatessen, applies for admission to the prestigious Peshtigo School that his cousin Freddie, a vegan and outspoken animal rights activist, attends. (

Wilson, N. D. 100 cupboards. After his parents are kidnapped, timid twelve-year-old Henry York leaves his sheltered Boston life and moves to small-town Kansas, where he and his cousin Henrietta discover and explore hidden doors in his attic room that seem to open onto other worlds. (

Other books with strong grandparent figures – novels and picture books (character appeal):

Ada, Alma Flor. I love Saturdays y domingos. A young girl enjoys the similarities and the differences between her English-speaking and Spanish-speaking grandparents. (

Peck, Richard. A long way from Chicago. A boy recounts his annual summer trips to rural Illinois with his sister during the Great Depression to visit their larger-than-life grandmother. (

Polacco, Patricia. The bee tree. To teach his granddaughter the value of books, a grandfather leads a growing crowd in search of the tree where the bees keep all their honey. (

Spyri, Johanna. Heidi. A Swiss orphan is heartbroken when she must leave her beloved grandfather and their happy home in the mountains to go to school and to care for a wheelchair-bound disabled girl in Frankfurt, Germany. (NoveList)

Yep, Laurence. The magic paintbrush. A magic paintbrush transports Steve and his elderly caretakers from their drab apartment in Chinatown to a world of adventures. (

Other books told from multiple perspectives (writing style appeal):

Alvarez, Julia. Return to sender. After his family hires migrant Mexican workers to help save their Vermont farm from foreclosure, eleven-year-old Tyler befriends the oldest daughter, but when he discovers they may not be in the country legally, he realizes that real friendship knows no borders. (

Clements, Andrew. Extra credit. As letters flow back and forth – between the prairies of Illinois and the mountains of Afghanistan, across cultural and religious divides – sixth-grader Abby, ten-year-old Amira, and eleven-year-old Sadeed begin to speak and listen to each other. (

Gutman, Dan. The homework machine. Four fifth-grade students – a geek, a class clown, a teacher’s pet, and a slacker – as well as their teacher and mothers, each relate events surrounding a computer programmed to complete homework assignments. (

Konigsburg, E. L. The view from Saturday. (Newbery Medal winner) Four students, with their own individual stories, develop a special bond and attract the attention of their teacher, a paraplegic, who chooses them to represent their sixth-grade class in the Academic Bowl competition. (NoveList)

Palacio, R. J. Wonder. (Current Texas Bluebonnet Award nominee) Ten-year-old Auggie Pullman, who was born with extreme facial abnormalities and was not expected to survive, goes from being home-schooled to entering fifth grade at a private middle school in Manhattan, which entails enduring the taunting and fear of his classmates as he struggles to be seen as just another student. (

Selznick, Brian. Wonderstruck. Having lost his mother and his hearing in a short time, twelve-year-old Ben leaves his Minnesota home in 1977 to seek the father he never knew in New York City, and meets there Rose, who is also longing for something missing from her life. Ben’s story is told in words; Rose’s in pictures. (

Yep, Laurence. The earth dragon awakes: the San Francisco earthquake of 1906. Eight-year-old Henry and nine-year-old Chin love to read about heroes in popular “penny dreadful” novels, until they both witness real courage while trying to survive the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. (

Books about Japan, Japanese-Americans, and Japanese culture (subject appeal):

Link to booklet, Children’s Books on Japan: Kindergarten through 8th Grade:

Link to suggested books concerning Japan at all levels:


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