February 03



I loved a pig once.


A typical farm breed, she was pink with grey spots and had fine, white hairs all over her body. The runt of a litter, my brother had saved her life, sneaking her into his college dorm room. Days later he brought her home, to the outskirts of a big, midwestern city, where I lived with my parents and siblings.


The pig moved into our house. She learned to use the litter box. She gained a pound a day.


This was twenty-five years ago. Specifics from that time now blur together, a flash-pan of family memories and grainy old photographs: giving the pig bubble baths, her sleeping in front of the heating vent, jelly dripping from her snout.


But yet… I remember clearly how it felt to love her.


This brief, but powerful, childhood experience and two of my favorite books, Charlotte’s Web and The Penderwicks, inspired the idea for my debut middle grade novel, The Unlikely Story of a Pig in the City (HarperCollins, 10/3/17).


In the book, 11-year-old Josie lives in a small townhouse with a big family. In the city, everybody’s packed together, and when her brother brings home a piglet named Hamlet on Thanksgiving, things threaten to burst. Josie strikes a deal with her parents: she has until New Year’s Day to find a safe, forever home for innocent Hamlet, or the pig faces a dark, uncertain future. Josie’s well aware she’s already an outsider, that her love of gymnastics is crumbling with every inch she grows, and that her parents can barely afford another mouth to feed. But there’s something about Hamlet that reminds her of herself, of where she thinks she belongs, and ultimately, what it means to get bigger when you’ve always been small.



The Unlikely Story of a Pig in the City

HarperCollins Children’s Books

Release Date: 10/3/2017

Sequel forthcoming in Fall 2018


The book cover designer for The Unlikely Story of a Pig in the City is David Curtis, and the artist is Pascal Campion.

authorjodikendall_headshot_theunlikelystoryofapiginthecityJodi Kendall is a children’s book author based in New York City. As a freelance writer, Jodi once followed an overnight secret transport of a manta ray across state lines. On another trip, she was harnessed into an open-door airplane so she could snap photographs of the largest whale shark aggregation on the planet. She faced her fear of sharks by swimming with seven species in an aquarium tank, and got up close and personal with venomous snakes in Borneo. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from The University of Arizona and is an active member of SCBWI and featured Guest Speaker for Skype Classroom. Jodi grew up in Columbus, Ohio with her family of seven and a household of countless pets, including hamsters, ducks, dogs, rabbits, an iguana, and yes… even a farm pig!