Title: The Tea Dragon Society
Author: Katie O’Neill
Genre: Middle grade, graphic novel, fantasy
My rating: ★★★★★
From the award-winning author of Princess Princess Ever After comes The Tea Dragon Society, a charming all-ages book that follows the story of Greta, a blacksmith apprentice, and the people she meets as she becomes entwined in the enchanting world of tea dragons.
After discovering a lost tea dragon in the marketplace, Greta learns about the dying art form of tea dragon care-taking from the kind tea shop owners, Hesekiel and Erik. As she befriends them and their shy ward, Minette, Greta sees how the craft enriches their lives—and eventually her own.
I first learned about this adorable middle grade graphic novel from Melanie. After catching a few glimpse of the pages I knew I had to read it. And I am so glad I did. This graphic novel is so cute and had me grinning from ear to ear.
This book follows Greta, a blacksmith apprentice who comes from a long line of blacksmiths. Her mother is her teacher, but she also teaches Greta that while blacksmithing may not be a popular occupation anymore, it is a tradition and art form that should not be lost. One day Greta finds a lost tea dragon and she returns it to its rightful owner, Hesekiel. From there Greta befriends Hesekiel and his husband, Erik, and a prophetess named Minette who has trouble remembering things.
Hesekiel explains to Greta the importance of tea dragons and how rare they are. Tea dragons grow tea leaves on their horns or antlers, and you can use those leaves to brew tea. Drinking the tea allows you to see a person’s memories. There used to be a time when tea dragons and their owners were part of a society, but sadly over the years, the society dissolved. However with Greta and Minette helping out, the future of the tea dragon society looks promising.
I totally didn’t expect to feel all the feels when reading this graphic novel. And the fact that Katie O’Neill could make me teary-eyed in just 72 pages means something. I loved seeing how Hesekiel and Erik met, and how much they cherish each other. But I also loved the friendships, LGBTQIAP+ main characters, disability rep (Erik is in a wheel chair), found family, and the importance of traditions this book highlights. All of the characters are also people of color. There is just so much good in this book, and the art is quite possibly the most beautiful art I’ve ever seen.