The Ogress and the Orphans

Algonquin. Mar. 2022. 400p. Tr $19.95. ISBN 9781643750743.
Gr 3-7–With her trademark style and grace, Newbery Medal–winning Barnhill (The Girl Who Drank the Moon) has once again transported readers into a world that will feel as familiar as their own. The Ogress has moved into the poverty-stricken town of Stone-in-the-Glen, and not all are happy about it. Everyone keeps to themselves and the last thing any of them want is to live next to an ogress. When she decides to start leaving presents for the townfolks, they are happy to accept them but still are not welcoming towards her. The only kindness she receives comes from the children of the Orphan House. When confronted with something terrible, will people believe in the Ogress, or will they keep to themselves and refuse to accept what they see and know about her? Beautifully written, full of moments that resonate deeply with readers, this book is simultaneously heartbreaking and hopeful. It will challenge readers to consider whether they will stand up for others or are content to watch from the sidelines. Adults may see parallels in the contemporary real-world issues mirrored in the divide in this story; it allows readers to ponder our society and consider our responses to challenging situations.
VERDICT A middle grade novel with heart, this one will be a hit with educators, parents, and students who will push through the injustices to favor hope.

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