King and the Dragonflies
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.
Kacen Callender is the author of multiple books for children, teens, and adults, including the Stonewall and Lambda Literary award-winning Hurricane Child and King and the Dragonflies, a National Book Award winner and winner of the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Fiction and Poetry. Born and raised in St. Thomas of the USVI, they enjoy playing video games in their free time. Kacen currently lives and writes in Philadelphia.
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!
*[A] dynamic tale that will resonate with children struggling to reconcile who they are with what they think society wants them to be.-Booklist, starred review
*Callender masterfully balances resonant themes of grief, love, family, friendship, racism, sexuality, and coming-of-age...deeply affecting, memorable.-The Horn Book, starred review
*[A] powerful tale of grief, intersectional identity, and love.-Publishers Weekly, starred review
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