Resources and School visits

James Russell is a passionate advocate for children's literature and visits over 60 New Zealand schools a year inspiring children to read and to write. Some of these are arranged by Read NZ Te Pou Muramura (formerly NZ Book Council) or the Storylines National Children's Literature Trust. Others are simply schools getting in touch and requesting a visit. Some of James's visits to schools have also been sponsored by organisations wanting to have a positive impact on their community.

Packages include a school visit with workshops and readings, along with copies of his books for the schools. Please don't hesitate to get in touch with any requests by emailing

The wonderful New Zealand Read Aloud teachers have also created some awesome teaching resource sheets (pictured) for children who are reading The Dragon Brothers picture book Trilogy and The Dragon Defenders - Book One junior novel.

The Dragon Defenders worksheets are split up into activities covering three chapters at a time, so they can be worked on over a period of weeks. There's lots of fun, practical and adventurous stuff to learn!

They're completely free and available for download here. Have fun!

Here's what schools (and parents) have said about James's visits:

New Zealand author James Russell visited our school last week, and spoke to almost 600 children ranging from year 1 to year 6. James kindly delivered 3 separate sessions, tailoring each one to the age of the audience. The children and teachers alike were captivated by the wonderful Dragon Brothers picture books and the successful Dragon Defenders novel; they loved the accompanying app too. James could not have been more entertaining and accommodating; I would recommend him to any school for an author visit.

-Mary Callister, Librarian, Karori Normal School, Wellington

"I just want to say a massive thank you for coming to Willow Park and talking to the children. My boy Neo was so excited when I picked him up. He talked non-stop about getting to meet you, the book and the second book!!! I have never seen him so excited about reading! The feedback from teachers was so positive. One teacher said her year 1 and 2 class spent ages discussing the books in class. She was blown away by you and thanks you for coming to school. The spin off from this for Neo is that I showed him how one little conversation can affect so many people in a positive and inspiring way."

-Thanks, Carla

"Just wanted to say how much we LOVE your books! We have a 5 year old daughter (you recently went to her school, Waiuku Primary) who started on the Dragon Brothers Trilogy and we then moved onto the novels. We are halfway through book 2 at the moment and she hangs out every night for another chapter. The AR app adds an incredible, novel experience as well. So thank you and please keep writing - we are so lucky to have talent like yours locally."

-Best wishes, Carlee

"Hi James I just wanted to touch base with you, and thank you for the impact your “Dragon Defenders” has had on my family of three boys. Our oldest Mac, is 7 and he has gone from a hesitant reader, who was afraid to take risks in fear of getting it wrong, to curling up in bed and reading independently. My husband and I delight in reading to Mac and his brother Finn (5), who also listens intently. We read a couple of chapters, and then Mac is allowed to read a chapter on his own before lights out. We (me included) are hooked on Paddy and Flynn, and Charlie, our youngest (3), adores being read the Dragon Hunters picture book trilogy (which is where it all started). I am also a primary relief teacher, and am raving about your books to anyone who listens! Please keep writing and hooking our boys into reading. I am in awe of the progress Mac has made, simply by reading for enjoyment. Look forward to more…no pressure!"

-Kind regards Logan and Fiona

"You visited Waiheke Primary School today and my ten year old son come home raving about your talk and your books. We love reading together so we are going to purchase the full series one book at a time. Thank you for encouraging our kids to read and use their wild imaginations!"


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Louise Ward

Wardini Books and RNZ critic

"The plot is thrilling, the setting at once idyllic and dangerous. Readers will be inspired to leave their devices and see what they can see from the top of a tree, to go outside, look for dragons, and have adventures as breathtaking as Paddy, Flynn and Briar."

Adele Broadbent

"Part 3 in this heart-pounding adventure is sure to please Dragon Defenders fans. An Unfamiliar Place pounds the young brothers with new challenges, but with their feathered accomplice (Lightning the falcon) along for the ride, they battle through and never give up! The story stands on its own but the digital side of this great Kiwi series is a wonderful bonus. Loved it!"

Charlotte McKay

Judge, NZ Book Awards for Children and Young Adults

"Told at a rip-roaring pace with feats of incredible daring, masterful guile, and heart-stopping action. This is the book the fans have been waiting for!"

Eileen Merriman

award-winning author of A Trio of Sophies and Pieces of You

"A fast-paced action adventure that will have readers hanging on until the last page."

Tom E. Moffatt

award-winning author of Barking Mad and Mind-Swapping Madness

"An earth-shattering adventure of seismic proportions. You might need to feign sickness so you can finish it in one sitting."

Jenna Todd

NZ Book Awards Judge, Time Out Books manager

"I had so much fun reading this. It’s a rollicking adventure with a loveable cast of brave heroes."
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