Giveaways Smugglerific Cover

A Smugglerific Cover (& Giveaway): The Witch’s Boy by Kelly Barnhill

Today we are thrilled to unveil the gorgeous cover for upcoming middle grade fantasy novel The Witch’s Boy by Kelly Barnhill. The book has recently been selected as a BEA Middle Grade Editors’ Buzz pick AND features cover art from award-winning artist and author Jon Klassen. Needless to say, we are very excited. Full disclosure: Thea works for Workman Publishing (of which Algonquin Young Readers is an imprint).

Without further ado, behold: the Smugglerific Cover!

The Smugglerific Cover

The Witch's Boy

Acclaimed author Kelly Barnhill takes classic elements—feuding kingdoms, a cursed boy, a cunning girl, an enchanted forest—and weaves them into a rich adventure that explores good and evil, love and hate, magic, and the power of friendship.

When Ned and his identical twin brother tumble from their raft into a raging, bewitched river, only Ned survives. Villagers are convinced the wrong boy lived. But when a Bandit King comes to steal the magic that Ned’s mother, a witch, is meant to protect, it’s Ned who safeguards the magic and summons the strength to protect his family and community.

Meanwhile, across the forest lives Áine, the daughter of the Bandit King. She is haunted by her mother’s last words to her: “The wrong boy will save your life and you will save his.” But when Áine’s and Ned’s paths cross, can they trust each other long enough to make their way through the treacherous woods and stop the war about to boil over?

The Witch’s Boy comes out on September 16, 2014 from Algonquin Young Readers.

Preorder the Book:
Amazon Print | B&N Print | books-a-million | Indiebound
Amazon Kindle | B&N NOOK | | iBooks


Kelly Barnhill on the Cover

When you write a book, it’s easy to delude yourself into thinking that no one else will ever see this story, no one else will ever meet these characters, and no one else will ever inhabit this world. Or at least it is easy for me. When it comes to self-delusions, I am an expert. Still, the writing process, for a long time, is a profoundly intimate, nuanced and quiet communication between the page and me. Once the story is finished, the number of people who interact with the story starts to grow—my writing group, then my husband, then my agent, then my editor—but all of these are people whom I know and trust and care about. And not only that, when I listen to their reactions to the text, I am not seeing what they see. It’s just about the text at that point, not the seeing. What they see and what I see are separate.

All of that changes when an artist comes into the picture.

I’ve never met Mr. Klassen, though I know and love his work. I held my breath when my book made its way to his desk. I bit my nails and fussed. I knew what kinds of adjectives the folks handing him the manuscript would likely use. I knew they’d tell him my one request regarding the art—that there be a wolf somewhere on the cover—though I didn’t know if they’d tell him that it wasn’t really my request at all. It was actually request from my nine-year-old son, as the wolf, very early on, was his idea. But really, all Mr. Klassen had to go on was his own reading, his own vision, his own relationship with the story.

And that relationship would be made visible. And I would see it too. Artists, man. I seriously don’t know how they do it. It’s like magic.

What we have here is a glimpse into that relationship, that inhabitation, that singular vision—a vision of my story that is not my own. My story in another person’s eyes. It is, for me, a different kind of seeing. I am seeing—for just a moment—as Jon sees. And that is a special thing indeed.

When I first saw this cover, I cried. A lot. It is so dang pretty, I can hardly stand it. He has such a compassionate eye, and such a tender hand – and I knew this, of course, but to see it come in contact with my book was truly thrilling. I want to clutch this image to my chest and sing to it. I want to tattoo it on my heart.

But the more I look at it, the more deeply moved I feel. Because what I see in this image is a reader—one who has inhabited the world that I have inhabited. Who has journeyed with the characters with whom I journeyed. Who lived with this story and got it. And cared. And that, I have to say, is a special thing indeed.

And, in truth, it makes the next stage in my journey—this journey of letting go—a little bit easier. Because this story, this world and these characters—all who have been so dear to me—simply don’t belong to me anymore. They belong to the kid who picks up the book. And my vision, my manner of seeing, when it comes down to it, doesn’t matter anymore. Only the reader matters.


About the Author

Kelly Barnhill

Kelly Barnhill writes novels for children and short stories for adults and poetry that she whispers in the dark when no one is listening. Her first novel, The Mostly True Story of Jack, received four-starred reviews, and her second, Iron Hearted Violet, received a Parents’ Choice Gold Award. Her most recent novel is The Witch’s Boy.

Kelly lives on a city street in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with a field and a creek behind her house. A coyote runs by every morning at six a.m. and a heron flies over her yard just before the sun sets on slow summer evenings. Kelly is a fast runner and a steady hiker and a good camper. She also makes delicious pie.

She has received grants and awards from the Minnesota State Arts Board, the Jerome Foundation, Intermedia Arts, and the Loft. She has three very smart kids and one very smart husband and a dog who she believes might be one thousand years old. No one can say for sure. (The dog, incidentally, is very smart too.)

Find out more about Kelly on her website, or follow her on twitter (@kellybarnhill).


The Giveaway

To celebrate the cover reveal, Algonquin Young Readers is giving away an ARC of The Witch’s Boy! This giveaway is INTERNATIONAL, and will run until Sunday, March 16 at 12:01am EST. To enter, use the form below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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  • Lexi
    March 10, 2014 at 12:30 am

    The cover looks really fun.

  • Kendra
    March 10, 2014 at 2:20 am

    What a beautiful and unique cover! It seems darker than the usual illustrations popular in MG books.

  • Kyla
    March 10, 2014 at 3:13 am

    Yay! The cover looks fun & cute. Looking forward to read it. Thanks! 🙂

  • Gerd D.
    March 10, 2014 at 4:39 am

    Lovely cover.
    Has a great animated feel to it. You can almost see it move.

  • Mieneke van der Salm
    March 10, 2014 at 5:22 am

    That is a stunning cover! I agree with Gerd D., it almost seems animated. Love the sound of the story too 🙂

  • Hebe
    March 10, 2014 at 6:56 am

    This is such a lovely post about writing, and a nice cover too. Thank you!

  • mary anne
    March 10, 2014 at 6:57 am

    Great cover. It took a second look for me to see that it was shadow – O don’t know why I saw it as outlines from inside something at first. And then it felt a little scarier – they are so small. And there are such dark hills behind them. And where is that light coming from? Makes me want to read the book.

  • Stephanie Burgis
    March 10, 2014 at 7:31 am

    Oh, wow. I love that cover and the description. I can’t wait to read the book!

  • Lan
    March 10, 2014 at 8:21 am

    Again, amazing cover! It’s on my to-read list!

  • Kim B.
    March 10, 2014 at 8:30 am

    One of the best covers I’ve seen in a while. Can’t wait to read this.

  • Kelly Barnhill
    March 10, 2014 at 8:34 am

    Thanks so much, Booksmugglers! <3

  • Karen Schulz
    March 10, 2014 at 8:39 am

    Awesome cover. I can’t wait to read the story.

  • Tracey
    March 10, 2014 at 8:54 am

    A good cover is so important, and this is a great one. Congrats to you!

  • Sigaloenta
    March 10, 2014 at 9:00 am

    A beautiful illustration. And Kelly Barnhill’s lovely response, too! I don’t often read middle grade books, but I’ll be looking out for this one!

  • Christy H
    March 10, 2014 at 10:57 am

    What an a-dorable cover!

  • superbwg
    March 10, 2014 at 11:05 am

    I love the almost primitive/cave painting look of the cover

  • timothy
    March 10, 2014 at 11:23 am

    Kelly is such a warm, open-hearted writer. I can’t wait to read this book!

  • Christine L.
    March 10, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    The cover is lovely indeed. The feeling I get is a blend of a Tim Burtop stop-motion film (e.g. Coraline) mixed with Eustace and Jill from Chronicles of Narnia travelling with a Talking Dog.

  • Carla Bosch
    March 10, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    What a cute cover! I love the drawing effect and the font of the title, so beautiful! 🙂 Thanks for the giveaway, can’t wait to read the book! 🙂

  • Carol. Smialek
    March 10, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    This looks like a great book for my two boys. I can’t wait to bring it home for them.

  • jpetroroy
    March 10, 2014 at 2:00 pm

    So striking!

  • Allison
    March 10, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    Oh, I love that cover! it reminds me of the movie Brother Bear

  • Jess Mikkelson
    March 10, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    This looks like it’ll be right up both of my kids’ alleys! So excited!

  • Marie Chettle
    March 10, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    Love the cover

  • Anita Yancey
    March 10, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    Sounds like a very interesting story. I really like the unusual cover.

  • Meghan
    March 10, 2014 at 3:26 pm

    Sounds like a great story! Love the cover as well.

  • Amy
    March 10, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    I love the cover ! Seems like a really cute book.

  • Jennifer Kirkeby
    March 10, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    I can not wait to read this!

  • Angie
    March 10, 2014 at 6:44 pm

    I really am looking forward to reading this book. Not enough fantasy books out there!

  • Charlotte
    March 10, 2014 at 8:43 pm

    Her first two books were such that she is an author whose new books I’ll autimatially read! Looking forward to this one lots.

  • Anonymous
    March 10, 2014 at 9:38 pm

    I am loving the cover! It really sets the mood for the story and it’s so different from others.

    March 10, 2014 at 9:56 pm

    I love the old good sepia colour and creepy cover. Must read it.

  • Llehn
    March 10, 2014 at 11:10 pm

    What a unique cover!

  • Christyn King
    March 10, 2014 at 11:19 pm

    THis book looks good. I am always looking for new books for my classroom library.

  • Mary Preston
    March 11, 2014 at 4:34 am

    What a wonderful read this promises to be. AMAZING cover.

  • Ashfa Anwer
    March 11, 2014 at 5:46 am

    Love the cover, it’s awesome!!!

  • Stephanie Quinn
    March 11, 2014 at 10:23 am

    This is just the kind of book that I look for to add to my school library. I cannot wait to read

  • Margaret
    March 11, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    It sounds like awesome fun and the cover is stellar.

  • Vanessa
    March 11, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    This looks fun. My daughter and I would probably enjoy ths one together.

  • Aden Rowe
    March 11, 2014 at 4:27 pm

    Adore this cover! The artist fantastic. It really seems standout-y.

  • Katrina
    March 11, 2014 at 6:53 pm


  • Heather Martin
    March 11, 2014 at 8:03 pm

    I’ve been wanting to read this. Thanks for the highlight.

  • Hannah
    March 12, 2014 at 12:14 am

    It’s so dang pretty. I will keep an eye out for this one, especially because I really liked Iron Hearted Violet

  • Kirsten W
    March 12, 2014 at 3:40 am

    Middle grade books have the best covers ever. This is no exception. (YA, why are you all covered in boring fancy dresses?!)

  • Katharine
    March 12, 2014 at 8:36 am

    Sounds like a great story!

  • April V.
    March 12, 2014 at 10:56 am

    I really like that cover. It combines an atmospheric feel of old fairy tales and a new world feel. My only issue is that the arrow seems to be aimed directly at his head…

  • Victoria Zumbrum
    March 12, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    I love the cover. Thanks for the awesome giveaway.

  • Emilia
    March 12, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    Looks good!

  • Jen
    March 13, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    I always love Klassen’s art. This cover is just beautiful. Makes me want to read the book!

  • Michael Carter
    March 13, 2014 at 6:04 pm

    The book looks great!
    Please enter me.
    Thanks —

  • Julie Rowan-Zoch
    March 13, 2014 at 11:13 pm

    I love the use of silhouette in the cover, the earthy colors and ‘just enough’ decorative font. Elegant and edgy!

  • Kristen H. (@bookgoil)
    March 14, 2014 at 9:51 pm

    I love the imagery in the cover! Cannot wait to read it!

  • Tara
    March 15, 2014 at 12:26 am

    I am so excited to read this to my daughter. We are big Klassen fans and also witches.

  • Elizabeth Oliver
    March 15, 2014 at 7:40 pm

    Love everything about this cover and it’s rare I say that!

  • Ann
    March 15, 2014 at 9:34 pm

    Looks like my kind of book! Love the art.

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