cover reveal: Dragon Thief by Zetta Elliott

screen shot 2019-01-21 at 7.52.02 pm

Dragons in Bag (Random House) by Zetta Elliott was released in 2018. In it, Jaxon discovers magic in Brooklyn when he’s left with Ma so that his mother could work to prevent being evicting. Jaxon also discovers family. And, he loses a dragon! He needs this second book so that he can get the dragon away from Kavita and back to where it belongs. Along with a reveal of the cover, I have an interview with Zetta to find out a little bit about the forthcoming second book in this series.


These dragons grow quickly once they’re fed! How does one handle a growing dragon?

Like me, these dragons love sweet things! As the cover suggests, Kavita thinks a cage might contain her growing dragon. But she soon realizes that what Mo really needs is to go home, and it’s her job to make that happen. Like Book 1, THE DRAGON THIEF addresses issues of displacement and belonging—topics that come up in this country’s immigration debate and conversations around gentrification. The dragons were born in Brooklyn, but is that where they truly belong? I’m an immigrant and after more than a decade in NYC, I now live in Philadelphia. I love it here but I do still go back to Brooklyn every month to do school visits and see friends. I always say, “Brooklyn’s my heart,” and I suspect I’ll always feel bound to the first place I truly felt I belonged. So many of us are hybrid—one home just isn’t enough, and departures aren’t always final. Kavita’s parents are immigrants from India and her elderly aunt shares a family secret about their African heritage.


It’s pretty obvious that Kavita’s going to be pretty important in Book 2. What else can you tell us about next story?

You’re right—Kavita is a major player in Book 2. But her brother Vikram is still on the scene and doing his best to help Jaxon figure out how to find the dragon thief. Several new characters are introduced but we also get to know some characters from Book 1 a bit better: Nate the rat is back, and we meet Jef, the mysterious butterfly that Sis sent back to Brooklyn with Ma and Jax. The question they all grapple with is, “Can we change the past or only the future?” Jaxon finds himself caught up in a struggle between two powerful people, and he has to decide how to restore the balance and free Ma from a sleeping spell.


The Dragon THIEF! Are we going to like Kavita?

Everyone deserves a second chance! And it’s Kavita’s love for the little dragon that prompts her to act in its best interest instead of her own. I was very close to my grandparents and so I often write elders into my stories for kids. In THE DRAGON THIEF, Kavita gets help from Aunty—an elderly relative who identifies with the dragon because she, too, yearns to go home. When I learned about the Siddi community in India, I knew I wanted to share that history with kids. Now I’m learning about the Zanj—Africans in Iraq. I love blending Black history with tales of magical creatures that make us think more deeply about migration.

artwork by Geneva B


Follow me (@crazyquilts) and/or Zetta (@zettaelliott) on Twitter to find out when the book is available for preorder. The book releases on 22 October 2019.