The Tea Dragon series by Katie O’Neill is an inclusive, sweet, graphic novel series. In the Tea Dragon series, we follow three stories all linked by sweet tea dragons.
Recently, I was given the opportunity to read and review the Tea Dragon Tapestry. Having only read the Tea Dragon Society, I felt this was a good opportunity to re-read it, and enjoy the new book in the series. I had only owned them digitally, and so getting them physically softened my heart.
These books include amazing representation, beautiful illustrations, and heart-warming stories.
In the first book, The Tea Dragon Society, we follow little Greta as she tries to decide if she wants to be a blacksmith. She meets Eric and Hesekiel, two kind tea shop owners. This leads to her befriending Minette and experiencing a season of learning and growth.
This first book is a beautiful introduction to these characters, and it’s charming for all ages. I appreciated the way that it was okay for people to not know what they wanted to be or do, but that they were supported nonetheless.
“Memories don’t just live inside you, Minette. They live in all the people and objects you share your life with.”
The second book, The Tea Dragon Festival, serves as almost a prequel to the first. It is set in a time when Eric and Hesekiel are still going on adventures and is about Eric’s nibling: Rinn. Rinn discovers a sleeping dragon, Aedhan, who was supposed to be protecting the village. It turns out that his sleep was enchanted by a mythical creature, and they send Eric and Hesekial to find it. However, the real underlying story is about helping Aedhan accept that he lost time, and feel welcome in the village.
There is sign language in this book, and the way that it is written was beautifully done. Rinn is a nonbinary character, and the way this is addressed is perfect for the middle-grade level that this book is made for. You see many more sweet tea dragons, and the story is a fun look into this world.
“Just because something comes easily to you, does not mean it has no value. You find it effortless because you love it, and that is why it is your gift.”
The final book, out October 27th, is the conclusion to the series. The Tea Dragon Tapestry takes us back to Greta and Minette, but we have our characters Rinn and Aedhan come as well. It’s time for Greta to test for her blacksmith apprenticeship. Minette is struggling with no longer having a purpose. And little Ginseng, the tea dragon, is grieving her previous owner.
This final conclusion made me incredibly emotional. I was sad to be saying goodbye to these characters. Seeing their growth made me feel proud, oddly, as if I had any hand in it. There were so many moments that brought me to tears. The way that Ginseng’s grief was handled is an incredible example for children. Minette no longer knowing who she wants to be, and what that means, felt familiar. A lesson I learned only through experience, and not through books.
“When someone is grieving, the best thing you can do is let them heal on their own, and show them that you’ll be there for them.”
I am grateful for these books, and I am grateful for the way they made me feel. They are beautiful, both in the lessons taught and the art held within them. I am sad to say goodbye to the series, but I know I’ll be reading the books over and over again.