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Iron Hearted Violet

Iron Hearted Violet

By: Kelly Barnhill

Genre: Fantasy

Curriculum Subjects: Adventure: Magic/Fantasy, Folk/Fairy Tales: Princess, Character Development

Grade: 3 – 7


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In most fairy tales, princesses are beautiful, dragons are terrifying, and stories are harmless. This isn’t most fairy tales.


Princess Violet is plain, reckless, and quite possibly too clever for her own good. Particularly when it comes to telling stories. One day she and her best friend, Demetrius, stumble upon a hidden room and find a peculiar book. A forbidden book. It tells a story of an evil being — called the Nybbas — imprisoned in their world. The story cannot be true — not really. But then the whispers start. Violet and Demetrius, along with an ancient, scarred dragon, may hold the key to the Nybbas’s triumph . . . or its demise. It all depends on how they tell the story. After all, stories make their own rules.


Iron Hearted Violet is a story of a princess unlike any other. It is a story of the last dragon in existence, deathly afraid of its own reflection. Above all, it is a story about the power of stories, our belief in them, and how one enchanted tale changed the course of an entire kingdom.



A 2012 Andre Norton Award Finalist

A Parents’ Choice Gold Award Winner


“Barnhill inverts common fairy-tale notions…[and creates] the most inventive rendition of architecture since J.K. Rowling conjured Hogwarts….Poetic.” –The New York Times Book Review


“A splendid fantasy…layered and complex, Barnhill’s story brings a modern feel to age-old fairy tale tropes.” -PW


“Storytelling plays a key role in the book, intriguingly blurring the line between what is real and what is imaginary….Triumphant.” –The Horn Book