My Father's Dragon is the book that started it all for me. Somehow the original book fell into my hands at a young age and the rest is history. My Father's Dragon is a children's novel by Ruth Stiles Gannett about a young boy, Elmer Elevator, who runs away to Wild Island to rescue a baby Dragon. Both a Newbery Honor Book and an ALA Notable Book, it is the first book of a trilogy whose other titles are Elmer and the Dragon (ok) and The Dragons of Blueland (kinda lame). The narrative mode is unusual, in that the narrator refers to the protagonist only as "my father", giving the impression that this is a true story that happened long ago. The other two books in the trilogy are narrated in the third person.
We don't learn the actual name of the dragon until the third book, which is Boris. No wonder they kept it secret so long. Boris? Seriously? What is he, Bulgarian? It's a good thing the book series holds some serious meaning to me, because that is probably the dumbest dragon name of all time. The dragon in the story also eats tangerine peels and skunk cabbage, so that's kinda weird too. All in all though, the series is worth a read, especially if you are 9 years old.