I wrote this book when my children were young because I wanted them to see their own family structure in a playful, magical bedtime story. I didn’t want the story to be about a two-mom family, nor did I want to explain or defend this non-traditional configuration. The Different Dragon is about story-telling, messy rooms, starlit skies and a singing cat. It’s a big deal that Noah, the protagonist, brushes his own teeth, puts on his own pajamas and sleeps in his own bed. And like many 5 year old boys (and not a few girls) he wants there to be a fierce dragon in the story, one that he is brave enough to stand up to. Stand up he does, and in the process, Noah discovers that not every dragon wants to be fierce all the time. It’s okay to stomp around and set things on fire but it’s also okay to make friends, play badminton and eat ice cream instead.
The Different Dragon makes Bustle’s list of “30 LGBTQIA-Positive Children’s Books That’ll Teach Kids How Beautifully Diverse The World Is”
The Different Dragon is among good company on the popular online women’s magazine, Bustle’s, list of “30 LGBTQIA-Positive Children’s Books!” Read more here about The Different Dragon and recommendations for other great children’s books that “teach children to be not just tolerant, but to be loving.”
The Gay Lesbian Straight Educators Network (GLSEN) offers a lesson plan that features The Different Dragon. The lesson “Respecting Families Nurtures Everyone!” fits nicely into any early elementary unit that addresses families and their many configurations. Click here to download.
If you have used The Different Dragon in your classroom, please write and tell us about your experience. How did you use the book? What kinds of reactions and questions did your students have? Do you have ideas to share with other teachers? We would like to hear from you!
El Dragón Diferent
When 7th grader Alba Clark expressed an interest in translation, her Spanish teacher Pamela Torres handed her a copy of The Different Dragon. This passionate teacher and her motivated student worked closely together, delving into the essence of language and searching for words to honor the intention of the original story. Because of their efforts Two Lives Publishing is proud to bring you El Dragón Diferent.
Born in Spain Alba is keenly aware of the audience for this book. She understands the transformative power of literature and believes “the importance of a translated children’s story like The Different Dragon is immense.” I share her hope that El Dragón Diferent “will bring messages of gay rights and the new roles of children to a very eager Spain.” This Spanish version will allow families and students in classrooms everywhere to read this inclusive, whimsical tale.
Whether you are a parent, teacher, young reader or aspiring translator, enjoy!
Alba Clarke is a rising 8th grader at Shore Country Day School in Beverly, Massachussetts. She was born in Barcelona (Spain) and now lives on the Phillips Exeter Academy campus (NH) with her parents and her younger sister the amazing Claudia. She loves singing and performing, reading, writing, listening to Ted Talks and talking about ideas.