The Ogress and the Orphans

A ragtag band of orphans and a kindhearted ogress fight xenophobia and cynicism with empathy and love in this bewitching fairytale-style fantasy from Newbery Award-winner Kelly Barnhill (The Girl Who Drank the Moon).

Stone-in-the-Glen was once a model town, but it has become a shell of itself and its citizens have grown apart since that terrible night when the Library burned. Drawn to the town's need, a compassionate Ogress builds a home on its outskirts and comforts her neighbors with anonymous deliveries of food and handmade cards. Her shyness and differences make her an easy target for the conniving Mayor, who steers his disgruntled constituents into blaming the Ogress for the town's problems. The clever orphans know the truth, but the adults won't believe them. Led by Anthea, a teenager unwillingly aging out of the Orphan House, the children and the Ogress set out to repair the rift that fear, misinformation and parasitic leadership have created in their community.

Barnhill delivers a plea for empathy with deft charm, soothing the presence of cruel neighbors and hints of a menacing dragon with talking stones, books that slow the passage of time and chatty crows. Despite the deceptive simplicity of the story, characters act in wonderfully complex ways: bullies turn out to have soft hearts while kindly people don't always take a stand for what's right. Deeply moving and often hilarious, The Ogress and the Orphans will encourage readers to live by the Ogress's adage: "The more you give, the more you have." --Jaclyn Fulwood, youth experience manager, Dayton Metro Library

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