Cover Reveal & Exclusive Excerpt for THE OGRESS & THE ORPHANS by Kelly Barnhill
I started this book by accident. Like many people in this country, and perhaps some of you as well, I found the last handful of years difficult, weighted by heartsickness and worry and chronic rage. I found myself feeling silenced by my own sadness over the state of my country, and I honestly didn’t think I would ever publish another book again. So instead, I did what I always do when I find myself at a crossroads: I started writing fairy tales. Every day, one after another after another: stories of spiderwitches and pig keepers and siblings on a long journey. Stories of tall towers and cruel dukes, of kindly librarians and sentient stones, of rare birds and magical doors and cats who know more than they let on. And then I started a story that felt . . . different. It started out as a fairy tale, but it revealed itself to be a story that asked a very specific question: What is a neighbor? It asked other questions, too — about the purpose of generosity and the shape of altruism and the best recipes for acorn bread and honey candies and truly excellent soap and what it might be like to have a best friend who is a crow. But the question about neighborliness stood at the center. The book that it became is a good deal different – and a good deal longer – than the fairy tale that began this journey, but the questions remain the same. What is a neighbor? Who is my neighbor? And what happens to a beloved community when it loses its heart, its conscience and its way? I’m still working on my answers to these questions. Perhaps, if we try, we can find those answers together.
Brief Description of THE OGRESS & THE OPRHANS:
A new instant fantasy classic from Newbery medalist Kelly Barnhill about the power of generosity and love—and how a community suffers when they disappear.
Stone-in-the-Glen, once a lovely town, has fallen on hard times. Fires, floods, and other calamities have caused the people to lose their library, their school, their park, and even their neighborliness. The people put their faith in the Mayor, a dazzling fellow who promises he alone can help. After all, he is a famous dragon slayer. (At least, no one has seen a dragon in his presence.) Only the clever children of the Orphan House and the kindly Ogress at the edge of town can see how dire the town’s problems are. Then one day a child goes missing from the Orphan House. At the Mayor’s suggestion, all eyes turn to the Ogress. The Orphans know this can’t be: the Ogress, along with a flock of excellent crows, secretly delivers gifts to the people of Stone-in-the-Glen. But how can the Orphans tell the story of the Ogress’s goodness to people who refuse to listen? And how can they make their deluded neighbors see the real villain in their midst?
Kelly Barnhill lives in Minnesota with her husband and three children. She is the author of four novels, most recently The Girl Who Drank the Moon, winner of the 2017 John Newbery Medal. She is also the winner of the World Fantasy Award and has been a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award, a Nebula Award, and the PEN/USA literary prize. Visit her online at kellybarnhill.com or on Twitter: @kellybarnhill.