Author Kelly Barnhill on her new kids book, ‘The Ogress and the Orphans’

Fairy tales are deceptively simple – “once upon a time” stories, filled with adventure and righteous moral power.

But many believe they should not be relegated to the kids’ shelf. Writer Neil Gaiman famously said, “Fairy tales are more than true. Not because they tell us that dragons exist. But because they tell us dragons can be beaten. ”

Novelist Kelly Barnhill knows her way around fairy tales. Her book, “The Girl Who Drank the Moon,” won the prestigious Newberry Medal in 2017. She’s out with a new book for middle grade kids, this one also filled with fantastic creatures and children trying to navigate a changing world.

But as she writes in the opening, it’s about more than that. “This book stated out as a fairy tale, but revealed itself to be a story that asks a specific question: What is a neighbor? ‘

On Friday’s Big Books and Bold Ideas, Barnhill joined MPR News host Kerri Miller to talk about her new book, the secrets of fairy tales and how her new novel, “The Ogress and the Orphans,” can speak to kids who are on the cusp of leaving childhood.


To listen to the full conversation you can use the audio player above.

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