TRANS* & Nonbinary

Lending Library

King of the Dragon Flies

by Kacen Callender (they/he) 
The Gender Creative Child, by Diane Ehrensaft, PhD

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.

Trigger and Content Warnings;

  • Homomisia, internalized homomisia & homomesic slurs (theme)
  • Racism & racial slurs
  • Hate crimes mentioned
  • Coming out themes
  • Child abuse
  • Domestic abuse mentioned
  • Parental abandonment
  • Recreational drug use mentioned
  • Grief & loss depiction
  • Death of a brother from a heart attack (theme)
  • Police brutality mentioned
  • Animal death, on-page

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