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  • Writer's pictureDionna Roberts

Author Zetta Elliott Visits Our Class with Dragons In a Bag and Writing Tips From the Heart

Updated: Jan 2, 2022

I’m convinced that author visits are magical. Two of my three virtual classes were visited by author Zetta Elliott on January 28, 2021! 22 4th graders read her book Dragons In A Bag as part of the Great Lakes, Great Book Award voting process organized by the Michigan Reading Association.

Dragons In A Bag tells the story of a young boy named Jaxon. Jaxon is sent to spend the day with a mean old lady his mother calls Ma while she handles some adult legal matters for the day. He soon discovers she's not his grandmother--but she is a witch! Ma needs his help delivering baby dragons that she keeps in a mint tin in her purse to a magical world where they'll be safe. There are two rules when it comes to the dragons: don't let them out of the bag, and don't feed them anything sweet. Before he knows it, Jax and his friends Vikram and Kavita have broken both rules. Yikes! My students were ALL IN and were thrilled to know that the story continues in Elliott's sequel, The Dragon Thief.

Zetta was beyond warm and inspiring during our visit, despite having technical difficulties connecting her video to our Google Classroom. Her calm, charming spirit was all we needed to be guided through a mini writing workshop where the students developed characters and began to brainstorm possible plots. My students, their families, and I collaborated to write a letter of appreciation to Zetta Elliott for bringing such excitement and joy to our reading and writing lives. Check out her website for books and more.

January 28, 2021

Dear Zetta Elliott,

I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for what you did with and for my students today. Technological difficulties could not and did not get in the way of you inspiring them as readers and influencing them as writers. They were more than impressed with your ability to breathe life into their story ideas. “What if…” Who knew that those two words could be so impactful with my young writers?!

Teaching and learning virtually all year has taken a toll on all of us. The opportunity to read “real books” instead of online texts gave us some sense of normalcy. The confirmation of your visit created such a stir with parents and students.

“This is so exciting! Thank you for making this possible! What a bright spot. ;)” -4th grade Parent

“Is she really coming? She knows we read her book?”-4th grader

Here are some of the students’ lingering questions after your visit:

  • What was the name of the first book you ever wrote?- Ian

  • Will there be more dragon stories after the Dragon Thief? -Malaika

  • How many books have you written in total? -Rebecca

  • Did you ever have pets that were kind of like dragons?

  • In the book, why didn’t Ma want Jaxon to stay?

  • Why do you love fantasy stories most?

  • Who is your editor?

  • Who is your favorite author?

  • How can you get better at writing? Like writing to describe the characters better? -Ian H.

Students buzzing about you and your books:

  • “I LOVE YOUR BOOK!”-Kendall

  • “I’ve been making books and my own stories since I was 3.”-Carter

  • “I enjoy writing about fairies and dragons.”-Ozzie

  • “ I like your book and so far it has been the most entertaining book I have ever read.” -Lundy

  • “I also read the book along with Felix and I am in the process of reading the second one. :)”-4th Grade Grandparent

I will be purchasing more of your books to share with my students. We are all now forever fans of your work.


Dionna Roberts, 4th Grade Teacher, Kalamazoo, MI

& The Fabulous 4th Grade Rockstars

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