I first fell into a Jane Yolen book when I was introduced to The Pit Dragon Trilogy by my local library in grade school. I vividly recall Jakkin’s love for his dragon, and the dangers they faced together. Dragon’s Blood remains one of the most memorable dragon books I have ever read. The Pit Dragon Trilogy is the perfect set of books for the fantasy-loving child reader who has outgrown middle grade books but isn’t quite ready for young adult novels, and it will enchant older readers as well. (In writing this post, I discovered that The Pit Dragon Trilogy has become The Pit Dragon Chronicles. A fourth book, Dragon’s Heart, was published in 2009! I look forward to reading it.)
Yolen’s picture book The Emperor and the Kite won a Caldecott Honor for its breathtaking illustrations, and Yolen’s words are equally enchanting. The language is beautiful, and more than able to bear the weight of Yolen’s timeless story about a small princess who saves her father and his kingdom. This is a book that I love to read aloud over and over.
The list of Jane Yolen’s books is incredible, both in quality and sheer mass. However, her mark on New England’s writers is immeasurable. As one of the founders of the New England Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Yolen has contributed to creating an organization that has fostered the talents of and inspired countless writers. Her website holds a wealth of resources for writers, teachers, and all those who love her stories.
Do you have a favorite Yolen book? If so, let me know in the comment section!