Hi friends! I’m super hyped to be making another one of these posts because yes, I do in fact love to make your TBR a tower. I mean look on the bright side, once it’s taller enough you can sell your house and live in the TBR Tower instead. Hmmm…maybe I’ll make an entire apartment complex out of that. ANYWAYS, we’re here today to talk about an adorable middle-grade graphic novel you may or may not have heard of: The Tea Dragon Festival! This is a companion novel but’s not necessary to read the first before enjoying this one.
Rinn has grown up with the Tea Dragons that inhabit their village, but stumbling across a real dragon turns out to be a different matter entirely! Aedhan is a young dragon who was appointed to protect the village but fell asleep in the forest eighty years ago. With the aid of Rinn’s adventuring uncle Erik and his partner Hesekiel, they investigate the mystery of his enchanted sleep, but Rinn’s real challenge is to help Aedhan come to terms with feeling that he cannot get back the time he has lost.
1: Dragons! (i know what the title says shhh)
But not just any dragons! Tea dragons! They have little leaves that the characters in the book can harvest for tea. And depending on the type of dragon, they each have different little personalities and quirks! It is that cute.
2: Did Someone Say Gorgeous Artwork?
I could gush about the artwork all day. There’s something so effortlessly charming, so utterly unique about Katie O’Neill’s style that it made me want to just dive right into the pages and nestle there forever*. It’s just so refreshing. Do your eyes a favor and bless them with this beauty!
*wait…am i part-bird? with all this diving and nestling i just might be.
3.: The Diversity Is EVERYTHING!
And I mean everything. We have characters with distinct genders/sexualities, an entire POC cast of characters, and even a deaf character who uses sign language. Everyone treats each other with such respect and celebrates differences in subtle yet meaningful ways. It is one of the purest forms of love that I’ve ever seen represented in a book.
4: Amazing Storytelling!
It can be tough for a graphic novel to provide a concise, well-paced storyline that has good worldbuilding yet keeps you hooked. The Tea Dragon Festival does that so well! Everything happens in its own time, and the author truly knows how to develop characters while furthering a plotline.
5: It’s literally just the cutest, purest thing ever okay
I don’t have any other words for this reason, except to yell at you to try this out. If I had a dollar for every time my heart melted maybe I could actually afford to buy books instead of borrowing them! In all honestly, this is one of my most favorite books of the year and it’s all due the sheer warm-heartedness it brings.