A Note About Flannery O’Connor from The King of the Birds

In The King of the Birds, inspired by the life of Flannery O’Connor, a young fan of fowl brings home a peacock to be the king of her collection, but he refuses to show off his colorful tail. The girl goes to great lengths to encourage the peacock to display his plumage — she throws him a party, lets him play in the fig tree, feeds him flowers and stages a parade — all to no avail.

Then she finally stumbles on the perfect solution. When she introduces the queen of the birds — a peahen — to her collection, the peacock immediately displays his glorious shimmering tail.

This delightful story, full of humor and heart, celebrates the legacy of a great American writer.

The last page of the book includes an author’s note about Flannery O’Connor — but for those who haven’t had a chance to pick up the book yet, we thought we would put the note up here on our blog just so everyone could learn more about Flannery O’Connor:

This story was inspired by the life and writings of Flannery O’Connor, who was born in Georgia in 1925 and departed our world at the age of thirty-nine, surrounded by her collection of ducks, swans, guinea hens and — of course — peacocks.

The real Flannery described her young self as a “pigeon-toed child with a receding chin and a you-leave-me-alone-or-I’ll-bite-you complex.” When Flannery was six, she really did appear in the news because of a chicken she had trained to walk backwards.

Ms. O’Connor and her “I’ll-bite-you complex” went on to write stories that un-hid people’s ugly, mean parts and proved that everybody — even preachers and grandmothers — needs to be forgiven.

When you are older, go read “A Good Man Is Hard to Find,” and let us know what you think.

Acree & Natalie


THE KING OF THE BIRDS Written by Acree Graham Macam Illustrated by Natalie Nelson

In this picture book, inspired by the life of Flannery O’Connor, a young fan of fowl brings home a peacock to be the king of her collection, but he refuses to show off his colorful tail. The girl goes to great lengths to encourage the peacock to display his plumage — she throws him a party, lets him play in the fig tree, feeds him flowers and stages a parade — all to no avail.

Then she finally stumbles on the perfect solution. When she introduces the queen of the birds — a peahen — to her collection, the peacock immediately displays his glorious shimmering tail.

This delightful story, full of humor and heart, celebrates the legacy of a great American writer.

Includes an author’s note about Flannery O’Connor.

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