The Ogress and the Orphans

Finalist, National Book Awards 2022 for Young People's Literature

book cover for Kelly Barnhill, The Ogress and the Orphans
ISBN 9781643750743
Algonquin Young Readers / Workman Publishing
author photo of Kelly Barnhill. (Photo credit: Janna Fraboni Photography)
Kelly Barnhill

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 Newbery Medal. More about this author >

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From the publisher:

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?

Judges Citation

Enriched by gentle humor and evocative storytelling, Kelly Barnhill’s The Ogress and the Orphans turns the tired fairy tale trope of monster versus hero upside down. Its quietly precise language and sizable cast of totally individual characters—including an eloquent flock of crows and a narrator no one (except the reader) ever seems to hear—make every page a delight. Best of all, the healing power of generosity is the central message of this good-hearted fantasy.


Kelly Barnhill at the 2022 National Book Awards Finalist Reading