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Last year’s middle grade novel The Girl that Drank the Moon freshly won the Njuniorg8.combery Medal, but according to author Kelly Barnhill, she practically didn’t write the book.

“I need to think around all that my books for a lengthy time before I can really start writing them,” Barnhill speak “So I’d to be thinking around this book for a lengthy time, and I was in reality going come wait another year prior to I started, yet then i made the wrong of mentioning it in an additional ~ Witch’s Boy came out and my editor referred to as me and also said, ‘Actually that’s the I want next.’ for this reason it’s the fastest publication I’ve ever written actually.”

The Girl that Drank the Moon tells the story the Luna, the recent in a heat of babies the the civilization of the Protectorate sacrifice come the witch of the forest in a bid to save their town safe. Only as readers conveniently discover, Xan the witch is a gentle woman who rescues babies and helps them acquire adopted.

However, as soon as Xan accidentally feeds Luna moonlight rather of starlight, the young girl i do not care “enmagicked,” causing Xan to decide to raise she herself—with some assist from Glerk, a wizened old swamp monster, and Fyrian, a Perfectly tiny Dragon. Together, this ragtag embraced family faces not just with Luna’s farming magical ability but additionally the world of the Protectorate, among whom that has chose to kill the witch to save his village.

With so much in play in the sprawling fairytale—and among’s finest Middle grade Novels the 2016—we captured up through njuniorg8.comly produced Njuniorg8.comberry Medal winner Barnhill to comment on her inspirations, the prestige of stories, and also the strength of remembering.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What to be your motivation for The Girl who Drank the Moon?KELLY BARNHILL: I’m no a intuitive thinker in ~ all, however every when in a when I’ll get picture in mine head that is crisp and also in the forefront of mine brain. I was the end for a run, and also I had actually this image appear in mine head, unbidden, that was for this reason shocking come me that I had actually to stop in my tracks. It to be of this four-armed swamp monster which a substantial tail, and really wide-spaced eyes the were separately moving and also these big, wet jaws and it was holding a daisy in one hand, and also was reciting a poem, i m sorry is in reality the exact same poem that shows up at the really end in ~ the book, “The love Is developed of Starlight and Time.” i ran home and wrote the end the poem and it’s usually verbatim as it shows up in the book now.

The book additionally manages come touch upon number of themes while additionally telling this much longer fairytale. Walk you know what you wanted to tackle before you set out to write?I from the get-go the I want to tackle the issue of false narratives, and also how stories deserve to be used to manipulate and also alter our sense of the truth. I did no realize the it would certainly be as appropriate today. <Laughs> I have a many friends who are journalists and I to be thinking around the autumn after Hurricane Katrina when journalism had to really, really perform some tough looking at itself to confront issues of internalized prejudice in reporting, how there were every kinds of points we believed that were true in those at an early stage days that turned out to be completely false. There were little aspects of it that were true, yet the way that we the story was wrong. I have the right to see some world coming out of a broken up keep with stuff and also if I explained them together “scavengers” or “looters” relies a many on my own inner biases.

That to be really interesting to me because human beings are all storytellers. We are all developed as stories. Our brain are built to call stories, so we remember and also dream and plan for the future in stories. Us teach and learn and take in information all in narrative and stories. Among the points I like to tell youngsters when I’m presenting in classes is that the earliest person writing the we have is not taxation receipts or a business expense. It’s the story of Gilgamesh. For this reason storytelling is really essential for that we are as human being beings. But then that’s problematic due to the fact that it’s likjuniorg8.comise how us can procedure and create and distort the truth, together we’ve checked out a lot of lately.



Another huge part that the publication is forgetting, v some characters choosing to forget details events, while rather can’t seem to remember. Exactly how did you approach that element of the book?Our memories room not reputable or stable, even though we’d choose to believe that they are. And also our memories are not always available to us also though we’d choose to believe that lock are. So ns really did want to play v that because we call ourselves every kinds that lies around ourselves. And I wanted to play with that too. Because all these personalities are not just lying to various other people, they’re lying to themselves. I love that line indigenous Harriet the Spy. “You have the right to lie to other people, I’ll provide you permission, however you space absolutely not enabled to lie to yourself.” and also so the more that castle lie to themselves, the much more they acquire in trouble due to the fact that it changes their perception and their interaction with the world.

One of the most interesting scenes is as soon as we check out the mother of the Protectorate start to psychic the children they sacrificed to the witch, since you realize the the civilization making the decisions in the Protectorate are greatly men.This has actually been remarked on before in my books, and the expression that human being will use is “casual feminism” I’ll choose to, in an off-hand way, subvert gender norms and storylines. When we can current things as an easy things that are true, and also do so without comment, we are actually make a very big comment. <Laughs> and also that is really important specifically in fantasy because you’re rjuniorg8.comriting the rules of the world. It’s one of the fun things about writing fantasy. You’re literally favor rjuniorg8.comriting creation, which is fun.

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But also when you’re composing for youngsters the whole world is wondrous and strange come them and also they really carry out rely on the story they take it in, it is in it from publications or tv or movie or even from the story that they tell one another. They are in the procedure of rjuniorg8.comriting the world, and also the universe. Therefore the more that us can offer them story that don’t loss into predictive patterns and administer for lock a picture of the world and themselves and societies that are larger than what castle see right in front of them, that that gives children a really crucial gift. And I perform take the responsibility really seriously.