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Kacen Callender

King and the Dragonflies

“I didn't even know so much water could be inside a person- like he was hiding an entire ocean beneath his skin.”

 

Twelve-year-old Kingston James is sure his brother Khalid has turned into a dragonfly. When Khalid unexpectedly passed away, he shed what was his first skin for another to live down by the bayou in their small Louisiana town. Khalid still visits in dreams, and King must keep these secrets to himself as he watches grief transform his family.

It would be easier if King could talk with his best friend, Sandy Sanders. But just days before he died, Khalid told King to end their friendship, after overhearing a secret about Sandy—that he thinks he might be gay. "You don't want anyone to think you're gay too, do you?"

But when Sandy goes missing, sparking a town-wide search, and King finds his former best friend hiding in a tent in his backyard, he agrees to help Sandy escape from his abusive father, and the two begin an adventure as they build their own private paradise down by the bayou and among the dragonflies. As King's friendship with Sandy is reignited, he's forced to confront questions about himself and the reality of his brother's death.

Product Info

Publisher: ‎ Scholastic Press
Dates: February 4, 2020
Language: ‎ English
Hardcover: ‎ 272 pages
ISBN-13: ‎ 978-1338129335
Reading age: ‎ 8+

 

Full Description

A 2021 Coretta Scott King Honor Book!

Winner of the 2020 National Book Award for Young People's Literature!

Winner of the 2020 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Fiction and Poetry!

In a small but turbulent Louisiana town, one boy's grief takes him beyond the bayous of his backyard, to learn that there is no right way to be yourself.

Twelve-year-old Kingston James is sure his brother Khalid has turned into a dragonfly. When Khalid unexpectedly passed away, he shed what was his first skin for another to live down by the bayou in their small Louisiana town. Khalid still visits in dreams, and King must keep these secrets to himself as he watches grief transform his family.

It would be easier if King could talk with his best friend, Sandy Sanders. But just days before he died, Khalid told King to end their friendship, after overhearing a secret about Sandy-that he thinks he might be gay. "You don't want anyone to think you're gay too, do you?"

But when Sandy goes missing, sparking a town-wide search, and King finds his former best friend hiding in a tent in his backyard, he agrees to help Sandy escape from his abusive father, and the two begin an adventure as they build their own private paradise down by the bayou and among the dragonflies. As King's friendship with Sandy is reignited, he's forced to confront questions about himself and the reality of his brother's death.

The Thing About Jellyfish meets The Stars Beneath Our Feet in this story about loss, grief, and finding the courage to discover one's identity, from the author of Hurricane Child.

 

Content Warnings

Homophobia
Internalised homophobia
Homophobic language & slurs
Racism & racial slurs
Hate crimes (mentioned)
Coming out
Domestic abuse (mentioned)
Parental abandonment
Recreational drug use (mentioned)
Grief & loss (depiction)
Death of a brother
Death from a heart attack (mentioned)
Police brutality (mentioned)
Animal death (on-page)

Packaging

Out & Proud- your purchase will arrive in a box covered in colour - loudly celebrating your purchase from us to you, a member or ally of the rainbow community!

A Quiet Pride- this discreet option is designed to keep you safe while still getting your favourite books in the mail. If you are not out at home or you don’t feel like advertising your rainbow purchase, you will receive a plain brown box with no identifying markers.

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