RESOURCES

Dragons in a Bag by Zetta Elliott

Updated: Mar 21

EARLY CHAPTER BOOK READING GUIDE

GUIDED ANTI-BIAS/ANTI-RACIST READING | GRADES 2-5

ABRIDGED OR FULL-LENGTH?

What we include in this blog post is the abridged version of the reading guide. If you'd like access to the full-length reading guide PDF with complete lists of discussion questions and extended resources and learning activities, please click above.


WELCOME + NOTE

This is a reading guide designed to accompany Zetta Elliott’s book Dragons in a Bag. We recommend that grownups read the focus book and the reading guide content BEFORE reading with young readers. This guide will help you prepare your own questions for your young readers and choose vocabulary, history, and other related topics to integrate into your learning and discussion.


Lesson content was written by Zapoura Newton-Calvert and was designed to start or deepen anti-racist and anti-bias conversations in families and other learning communities.


This book dives into important social justice themes AND contains all of the whimsy, magic, and quests that the fantasy genre is so famous for. In one way, this is a story about a boy finding his full identity in a city that is gentrifying; in another, it’s a tale of the power of the ancestors and the way connection to our roots can be illuminating and wondrous. It’s also a story about dragons. We know you’ll enjoy this first book in Elliott’s series.


For me, reading this with my son was particularly important. Reading a young Black character in this role of discovering magic and transporting dragons was world expanding and refreshing for my multi-racial kiddo who loves the realms of the imagination as much as he is interested in racial justice.


SHOP OUR BOOKSHELF

Buy the book through the Reading Is Resistance Book Shop!


Note: 10% gets donated back to Reading Is Resistance and another 10% goes to other independent bookstores in the U.S.


THEMES

Family, Fantasy, Friendship, Identity, Justice, Diversity


HOW WE DESIGN OUR READING GUIDES

This guided reading lesson is designed to be part of a larger life-long commitment to anti-racist teaching and learning for the student and the facilitator. Reading Is Resistance sees reading as an opportunity to seed deeper conversations and opportunities for action around racial equity in our communities. We hold the belief that being anti-racist is a process of learning (and unlearning) over time.


The Learning for Justice Social Justice Standards (focused on Identity, Diversity, Justice, and Action) serve as guides for our work.


USING THE LEARNING FOR JUSTICE STANDARDS

The Learning for Justice Standards and Domains referenced in this lesson are for Grades 3-5. This book, however, can be used with a wide range of ages.


<a list of the standards we referenced in our reading guide creation is included in the full-length PDF>


ABRIDGED GUIDED READING LESSON PLAN

SECTION ONE: CH 1-5


SUMMARY

Jaxon ends up spending the day with someone he thinks is his grandma...until he finds out that she’s actually a witch. In section 1, Jaxon is dropped off at Ma’s house and starts to notice some unusual things: a squirrel that seems to be trying to send a message, a paper bag that moves on its own, and a large book about the lizards of Madagascar. Jaxon soon realizes that there’s more to Ma than meets the eye.


YOUTUBE READ ALOUDS

Chapters 1-3 Read by the Author

Chapters 2-5 Read by Miss Annie of Beebe Library


SAMPLE DISCUSSION QUESTION

  • In the first few chapters, the mystery of who Ma is and why Jaxon has been dropped off at her apartment unfolds. We learn little bits and pieces about the identities of Ma, Jaxon, and Jaxon’s Mom Alicia. Can you list the characteristics and identities of these characters that we learn in the first five chapters? What mysteries about who these characters are remain? IDENTITY DOMAIN #3

ABRIDGED GUIDED READING LESSON PLAN

SECTION TWO: CH 6-7


SUMMARY

Jaxon ends up as Ma’s temporary apprentice, intending to help her get the dragons back to a place with magic. But he ends up alone in the Guardhouse and back in Brooklyn, relying on Ambrose for advice.


YOU TUBE READ ALOUD

Chapters 6-7 Read by Miss Annie of Beebe Library


SAMPLE DISCUSSION QUESTION

  • Where in space, time, and/or your imagination would you like to travel if you were able to go into the magical Guardhouse? USE YOUR RADICAL IMAGINATION!

<SECTIONS 3 & 4 ARE INCLUDED IN THE FULL-LENGTH READING GUIDE PDF>


WHAT'S NEXT?

RESOURCES/ACTIVITIES (included in full-length reading guide PDF)


READ NEXT

  • Feyi Fay by Simisayo Brownstone

  • The Dragon Thief by Zetta Elliott

  • The Witch Boy by Molly Knox Ostertag

  • The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O'Neill