by Kacen Callender


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.






School Library Journal


Publishers Weekly


The Horn Book


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.

King and the Dragonflies (National Book Award Winner)

SKU: 9781338129335
  • 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.

  • ISBN-13: 9781338129335
    Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
    Publication date: 02/04/2020
    Pages: 272
    Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.90(d)
    Age Range: 8 - 12 Years
    Books - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Death, Grief, Bereavement
    Books - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Friendship
    Books - Juvenile Fiction | LGBTQ+
    Books - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Prejudice & Racism

    -African American boys    -Brothers
    -Hate crimes    -Louisiana
    -Dragonflies    -Grief
    -African Americans
    - Topical | Death/Dying
    - Topical | LGBTQ+
    - Ethnic Orientation | African American
    - Topical | Friendship
    - Demographic Orientation | Small Town
    - Geographic Orientation | Louisiana
    - Topical | Family
    - Sex & Gender | Gay
    Expertly CuratedExpertly Curated Lists
    Black Juvenile Fiction
    Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Award
    LGBTQIA+ Juvenile Fiction
    Top Juv Fiction