Announcing The Rock and the Butterfly

Anne Innis Dagg, the giraffe scientist I had the great privilege to get to know and introduce to readers through The Girl Who Loved Giraffes, died last month at the age of 91. She was to travel with her daughter to South Africa this summer. Now her daughter will instead take Anne’s ashes to mix with the soil there.

It’s always hard when someone we’ve grown close to is no longer there. And that’s the subject of my next book, The Rock and the Butterfly, illustrated by Brooke Kerrigan, being released by Orca in October.

This was a special project for both Brooke and me. The idea for the story occurred to me when I was thinking about what to write to Brooke’s mom when Brooke’s dad died. I’d remembered Brooke’s mom (illustrator now painter Heather Collins) telling me early in our friendship that in her marriage, she was the butterfly and her husband (graphic designer Blair Kerrigan) was the rock. As I thought about this while walking in the woods near my home, a story about what might happen to a butterfly when the rock it depends on disappears began to take shape.

After every fluttery day, the butterfly folded its wings and tucked itself into a groove in the rock to rest. If the butterfly felt dizzy from too much flitting, the rock helped stop the world from spinning.


Concerned that Heather might think the story that emerged trivialized the loss she had experienced, I hesitated to send it, but I took a chance and was relieved when she told me she was moved and even comforted by it.

Months later, I started to wonder if maybe some version of the story I’d written for Heather might offer kids who’d experienced the loss of someone close might also find comfort in it, and if maybe it could help assure kids who hadn’t experienced such a loss yet that when they eventually did, they’d be okay, just maybe not right away.

Around the same time I had started thinking along those lines, I heard that Brooke had started wondering if she might do some kind of illustration to go with the story.

As you can see, Brooke and Orca have done a beautiful job.

I’ll be sending Anne Dagg’s daughter a copy when the book comes out in October.

It’s available for pre-order now.

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Kathy Stinson is the author of the classic Red Is Best and the award-winning The Man with the Violin. Her wide range of titles includes picture books, non-fiction, young adult fiction, historical fiction, horror, biography, series books, and short stories. She has met with her readers in every province and territory of Canada, in the United States, Britain, Liberia, and Korea. She lives in a small town in Ontario.

Kathy Stinson


  1. Wendy Mason Geoghegan on May 15, 2024 at 11:31 am

    Oh how very special this book is and I will certainly be looking forward to obtaining a few copies upon its release.

  2. Kathy Stinson on May 15, 2024 at 11:47 am

    Thank you, Wendy. I think you’ll like it.

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