A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Shows Western and Asian views of dragons, with some details that call to mind dragon stories from both cultural traditions. Some folklore/fairy tale vocabulary, like "hobgoblins," "moon goddess," "epic," "quest."
"Most adventurers have only one story to call their own. ... Inside your heart is where the two forests meet. Both journeys are yours to take. Both worlds are yours to discover."
Positive Role Models
The mom uses a creative way -- storytelling and metaphor -- to explain dual heritage to her kid as a "magical power that lives inside you." She encourages the kid to embrace both cultures. Both grandmothers are described as "wise" and waiting to share "their truths about dragons."
The main character is biracial, Chinese and White. That kid's mom presents as Chinese, as does one of his grandmothers. The other is White. The author is Chinese American, and the illustrator is Korean American. The story presents both Asian and Western folklore traditions and dragon mythologies. The mom character encourages her kid to discover and embrace both cultural heritages.
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Violence & Scariness
The red dragon is described as "fearsome" and is shown breathing out fire on a big spread with its large, sharp claws reaching toward the reader. The border below that image shows some skulls and swords.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the The Truth About Dragons, written by Julie Leung (The Fearless Flights of Hazel Ying Lee) and illustrated by Hanna Cha, was named a 2024 Caldecott Honor book. It follows a young biracial (Chinese and White) boy on a magical adventure where he learns a bit about both Asian and Western dragon mythologies. It's a clever metaphor for embracing both cultural heritages.
Is It Any Good?
This beautifully illustrated picture book offers two different dragons as stand-ins for the two cultures embodied in the biracial main character. The Truth About Dragons is an empowering celebration of dual cultural heritage and elders to guide you through both traditions. Author Julie Leung creates a warm, reassuring story, and illustrator Hanna Cha does a fantastic job of creating fairy tale/folklore worlds for the young main character to enter. The dragons are magnificent, but so are tiny details in the colorful spreads. The biracial theme may go over some kids' heads, but the book could help spark discussion between any kid and parent about the different cultural influences in their family.
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Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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Our Editors Recommend
Books Inspired by Asian Folklore and Mythology
Books with Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander Characters
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