Anya and the Dragon

A Sydney Taylor Book Award Honor

Anya and the Dragon

Headstrong Anya is the daughter of the only Jewish family in her village. When her family's livelihood is threatened by a bigoted magistrate, Anya is lured in by a friendly family of Fools, who promise her money in exchange for helping them capture the last dragon in Kievan Rus.


This seems easy enough—until she finds out that the scary old dragon isn't as old—or as scary—as everyone thought. Now Anya is faced with a choice: save the dragon, or save her family.



Anya is a new and mem­o­rable Jew­ish char­ac­ter who has forged her way into fan­tas­tic literature. Anya and the Drag­on is high­ly rec­om­mend­ed, not only for chil­dren but also for adults eager to find high-qual­i­ty fan­ta­sy books with Jew­ish themes.

Jewish Book Council

With this clever, fast-paced debut, Pasternack draws upon the myth and folklore of Kievan Rus’ to deliver a delightful tale filled with supernatural creatures...a tale that never loses its sense of fun or wonder.

Publisher's Weekly

...vivid fantasy that blends Russian and Jewish folk traditions.

The plot keeps readers on their toes with skillful pacing ... [it] puts a spin on the usual dragon story without losing its excitement.

Center for Children's Books

An irresistible blend of moral quandaries, magic, humor, danger, and bravery. Imaginative details bestow a fairy-tale-like quality to the story, which will effortlessly ensnare historical fantasy fans.


This delightful series opener is an exciting blend of Russian and Jewish traditions.


The combination of sweet characters, enduring relationships, strong faith, and a spellbinding adventure conjures up an irresistible tale readers of all ages will enjoy.

Anya fulfills the need for Jewish characters that rise above their circumstances without abandoning their religion. Anya is a character for the child I once was.

This is such a gorgeous story of friendship and bravery and harnessing your power, and I loved every minute of it!

There's a lot to like in this book: a spunky main character, a one-of-a-kind dragon, an authentic historical setting, and mythology that's seamlessly woven into the story.

Fresh, funny, sometimes scary, and always magical.

Aimee Lucido

author of


Malayna Evans

author of


Adam Gidwitz

author of


Funny, fast-paced, and with an unforgettable cast that you can't help but love.

Colorful and funny and full of fantastic details and so much heart. My kids and I read it together and loved every second of it! 

This book subverts expectations at every turn in the best possible way, and I absolutely loved reading it.

Crystal Smith

author of


Tiana Smith

author of


Laura Speake

Gibson's Bookstore

Concord, NH



Anya and the Dragon received the Sydney Taylor Book Award Honor for Middle Grade published in 2019! 

The STBA is presented annually to outstanding books for children and teens that authentically portray the Jewish experience.

Anya and the Dragon is a Lectio Book Award nominee!

Lectio Book Award’s mission is to encourage avid recreational reading, while also providing literary resources that support faculty in educating the whole-child.


One of my first acts of confidence with the manuscript of Anya and the Dragon was submitting it to the Ink & Insights critiquers. I paid $35 (I'm pretty sure) and got back a TON of amazing feedback for my first 100 pages. All entries were also put in the running for contest winnings, but I did it for the feedback and I was happy with that.

Then a couple months later I got an email telling me I had won second place for the Apprentice category AND had won Judges' Favorite!

It was such a huge confidence boost and why I had the courage to submit to PitchWars a few months later.

Anya (Kozlova) and the Dragon was a PitchWars '17 selection! I was lucky enough to work with the ultra talented Alexandra Ott, and she helped me fix this little novel up enough to land my agent, Rena Rossner, out of the contest!

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Sofiya Pasternack |

© 2020 by Sofiya Pasternack