Robin McKinley Books

Author Robin McKinley was born November 16, 1952 in Warren, Ohio and her full name is Jennifer Carolyn Robin McKinley. McKinley’s mother was a teacher and her father was an officer in the Navy. Because of his different naval posts, she grew up around the world in places like Japan, California, Maine, and New York. In the state of Maine, she went to Gould Academy, which is a prep school there. She went to Dickinson College in the state of Pennsylvania from 1970 until 1972, and would graduate summa cum laude from Bowdoin College which is located in Maine in the year 1975.

Order of Damar Series

# Read Title Published
1 The Door in the Hedge 1981
2 The Blue Sword 1982
3 The Hero and the Crown 1984
4 Imaginary Lands 1985
5 A Knot in the Grain 1994
6 The Stone Fey 1998

Order of Folktales Series

# Read Title Published
1 Beauty 1978
2 Rose Daughter 1997
3 Spindle's End 2000

Order of Tales of Elemental Spirits Series

# Read Title Published
1 Water 2002
2 Elementals 2002
3 Fire 2009

Order of Pegasus Series

# Read Title Published
1 Pegasus 2010

Order of Robin McKinley Standalone Novels

# Read Title Published
1 The Outlaws of Sherwood 1988
2 Black Beauty 1989
3 My Father is in the Navy 1992
4 Rowan 1992
5 Deerskin 1993
6 Sunshine 2003
7 Dragonhaven 2007
8 Chalice 2008
9 Shadows 2013
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She loves bell ringing, learning the piano, gardening, riding horses, and cooking. During her time working as a research assistant and in a bookstore, she would work on her retelling of the “Beauty and the Beast” story that she called “Beauty”. Not only was it accepted by the very first publisher she sent it to, but it made her a household name. She has never had any children (her husband did, with his first wife), but she does have two dogs named Darkness and Chaos. From the year 1991 until 2015, she was married to Peter Dickinson, also an author; the marriage ended when he died at the age of 88.

Robin McKinley has written some stand alone novels, some children’s picture books, the “Pegasus” series, and the “Damar” series. McKinley has adapted some classic folk-tales and fairy tales and rewritten them to make them her own and add a feminist twist to them. These stories involve a woman in danger, but she does not wait for someone to rescue her. Instead she saves her own skin. She has also written some short stories and edited an anthology, one that she also contributed to. Most of her work is children’s fantasy novels.


In her writing career, McKinley has taken home quite a few awards. McKinley has won the Newbery Honor for “The Blue Sword” and a Newbery Medal for “The Hero and the Crown”. She has also won the World Fantasy Award for Anthology or Collection while editing “Imaginary Lands” and Phoenix Award Honor Book for her book “Beauty”. Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for the novel “Sunshine” from the Adult Literature category.


For those looking to get into Robin McKinley’s work, this next section will help with that. It will look at the novels: “The Blue Sword”, “Pegasus”, and “Beauty”.

The Blue Sword: This is the first novel in the “Pegasus” series that was released in the year 2010. The story is told in the third person and focuses on Angharad Crewe or Harry. Harry is an orphan who goes to live in Damr, a desert country that is shared by both the magical and secretive Hillfolk and the Homelanders. Everything, for Harry, is quiet and nice. That is until she is taken by Corlath, King of the Hillfolk, who takes her into the desert. She knows nothing of why she was taken or how to speak to the Hillfolk. Corlath knows why she was chosen of course. She is to be trained so that she is a match for any of his men. Is there enough courage in her to accept her true fate?

Pegasus: This is the first novel in the “Damar” series that was released in the year 1982. On Princess Sylviianel’s twelfth birthday, she is bound to her Pegasus named Ebon in a ceremony. For a century now, both the humans and pegasi have lived together in peace, and they rely on pegasi shamans and human magicians to communicate with each other. Sylvi and Ebon are close friends who can talk to each other, but as they grow even closer together, is this bond able to destroy the peace between nations?

Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast:” This is a stand alone novel that was released in the year 1978. Beauty does not like her nickname, never has. She is both awkward and thin. It is not her, but her two sisters that have all of the beauty. She knows that she has far more courage, however. Her father comes back and tells her about the enchanted castle in the forest and the deal that he made with the beast that lives there. She must go to the castle as a prisoner, one of her own free will. Her father does protest, but Beauty goes anyway.