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David Almond

David Almond(1951- )
David Almond has written several novels for children. Skellig won the Carnegie Medal and Kit’s Wilderness won the 2001 Michael L. Printz Award, and Best Book of the Year by School Library Journal, Booklist, and Publishers Weekly. Find out more about his books at David Almond’s website.

Skellig

Skellig — (1998-2011) Publisher: Michael’s world after his family moves house seems lonely and frightening, when his new baby sister is fighting for her life in hospital. Then he discovers something — a creature in the crumbling garage, and nothing is ever the same.

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Skellig: Sad and joyful, poignant and funny

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Skellig by David Almond

Michael is living in a stage of upheaval and transition in his life: his parents have just moved to a rather derelict house, his unnamed baby sister is drastically ill, and the house is often visited by 'Doctor Death', the doctor sent to check up on his sister. On top of this, he now has to bus for school; the previous occupant of the house was dead for a week before anyone found him, and the outside garden is a wilderness. The garage in particular is a nightmare — slumping over, filled with junk and dead creatures, and liable to fall over any second. But Michael decides to have a peek inside, and finds an amazing discovery...

What is the strange creature hidden beneath the cobwebs and the dead flies? Is it a human, a bird or something else entirely? Calling itself Skellig, the strange being seems near death, and Michael longs to help it, feeling that in some st... Read More

More speculative fiction from David Almond

fantasy book reviews David Almond Kit's Wilderness Kit’s Wilderness — (1999)  Ages 9-12. Publisher: In Stoneygate there was a wilderness, an empty space between the houses and the river where the ancient coal pit had once been. In the wilderness Kit met Askew, with his wild dog, Jax. Askew who ran the game called Death. The wilderness where Kit begins to confront death — and life.


fantasy and science fiction book reviewsHeaven Eyes — (2000) Young adult. Publisher: Erin Law and her friends are Damaged Children. At least that is the label given to them by Maureen, the woman who runs the orphanage that they live in. Damaged, Beyond Repair because they have no parents to take care of them. But Erin knows that if they care for each other they can put up with the psychologists, the social workers, the therapists — at least most of the time. Sometimes there is nothing left but to run away, to run for freedom. And that is what Erin and two friends do, run away one night downriver on a raft. What they find on their journey is stranger than you can imagine, maybe, and you might not think it’s true. But Erin will tell you it is all true. And the proof is a girl named Heaven Eyes, who sees through all the darkness in the world to the joy that lies beneath.


fantasy and science fiction book reviewsSecret Heart — (2001) Young adult. Publisher: Joe Maloney is out of place in this world. His mother wants him to be a man, and he can’t be that yet. His only friend, Stanny Mole, wants to teach him how to kill, and Joe can’t learn that. Joe’s mind is always somewhere else: on the weird creatures he sees in the distant sky, the songs he hears in the air around him, the vibrations of life he feels everywhere. Everybody laughs at Joe Maloney. And then a tattered circus comes to town, and a tiger comes for him. It leads him out into the night, and nothing in Joe Maloney’s world is ever the same again. The transformative power of imagination and beauty flows through this story of a boy who walks where others wouldn’t dare to go, a boy with the heart of a tiger, an unlikely hero who knows that sometimes the most important things are the most mysterious.


fantasy and science fiction book reviewsThe Fire- Eaters — (2003) Ages 8 and up. Publisher: Bobby Burns knows he’s a lucky lad. Growing up in sleepy Keely Bay, Bobby is exposed to all manner of wondrous things: stars reflecting off the icy sea, a friend that can heal injured fawns with her dreams, a man who can eat fire. But darkness seems to be approaching Bobby’s life from all sides. Bobby’s new school is a cold, cruel place. His father is suffering from a mysterious illness that threatens to tear his family apart. And the USA and USSR are testing nuclear missiles and creeping closer and closer to a world-engulfing war. Together with his wonder-working friend, Ailsa Spink, and the fire-eating illusionist McNulty, Bobby will learn to believe in miracles that will save the people and place he loves.


David Almond Clay fantasy book reviewClay — (2005) Young adult. Publisher: Another lyrical and gripping read from the multi-award winner, David Almond. With fascination, Davie and his best friend Geordie watch the arrival of a new boy, Stephen Rose, in their town. His history is a mystery, he seems to have come from nowhere, and when he arrives to live with his distant aunt, the local ‘loony’, ‘Crazy Mary’, no one envies him his new home. But perhaps he’s the answer to Davie and Geordie’s prayers — a secret weapon in their war against monstrous Mouldy and his gang? Intrigued by him, gradually Davie and Geordie befriend Stephen. But they are heading innocently down a dangerous path that brings with it a monster of an entirely unexpected nature. Their encounter with the mysterious Stephen is as incredible as it is menacing, and as the true shocking story of Stephen’s past slowly emerges, Davie’s life is changed forever.


fantasy and science fiction book reviewsMy Dad’s a Birdman — (2007) Ages 8 and up. Publisher: In a rainy town in the north of England, there are strange goings-on. Dad is building a pair of wings, eating flies, and feathering his nest. Auntie Doreen is getting cross and making dumplings. Contest barker Mr. Poop is parading the streets shouting louder and louder, and even Mr. Mint, the headmaster, is not quite himself. And watching it all is Lizzie, missing her mam and looking after Dad by letting him follow his newfound whimsy. From an inspired creative pairing comes a story of the Great Human Bird Competition — an exuberant tale of the healing power of flights of fancy, and a very special father-daughter bond.


fantasy and science fiction book reviewsThe Savage — (2008) Young adult. Publisher: Mysterious and utterly mesmerizing, this graphic-novel-within-a-novel pairs the extraordinary prose of David Almond with the visual genius of Dave McKean. Blue Baker is writing a story — not all that stuff about wizards and fairies and happily ever after — a real story, about blood and guts and adventures, because that’s what life’s really like. At least it is for Blue, since his dad died and Hopper, the town bully, started knocking him and the other kids around. But Blue’s story has a life of its own — weird and wild and magic and dark — and when the savage pays a nighttime visit to Hopper, Blue starts to wonder where he ends and his creation begins.


fantasy and science fiction book reviewsRaven Summer — (2009) Young adult. Publisher: Liam and his friend Max are playing in their neighborhood when the call of a bird leads them out into a field beyond their town. There, they find a baby lying alone atop a pile of stones — with a note pinned to her clothing. Mystified, Liam brings the baby home to his parents. They agree to take her in, but police searches turn up no sign of the baby’s parents. Finally they must surrender the baby to a foster family, who name her Allison. Visiting her in Northumberland, Liam meets Oliver, a foster son from Liberia who claims to be a refugee from the war there, and Crystal, a foster daughter. When Liam’s parents decide to adopt Allison, Crystal and Oliver are invited to her christening. There, Oliver tells Liam about how he will be slaughtered if he is sent back to Liberia. The next time Liam sees Crystal, it is when she and Oliver have run away from their foster homes, desperate to keep Oliver from being sent back to Liberia. In a cave where the two are hiding, Liam learns the truth behind Oliver’s dark past — and is forced to ponder what all children are capable of.


fantasy and science fiction book reviewsThe Boy Who Climbed into the Moon — (2010) Ages 8 and up. Publisher: Crackpot notions, community spirit, and sky-high aspirations transform a quiet boy’s life in this whimsical tale from the stellar team of David Almond and Polly Dunbar. There are some strange ideas floating around in Paul’s apartment block. There’s Mabel, who now calls herself Molly and whose brother hides under a paper bag. Then there’s Clarence, the poodle who thinks he can fly. But the strangest notion of all is Paul’s. You see, Paul believes that the moon is not the moon but a great hole in the sky. And he knows that sausages are better than war. How on earth (or not) will he find out if he is bonkers or a genius? With a few equally bonkers (or genius) helpers and a very long ladder, that’s how! From a master of magical realism and a celebrated artist comes another delightfully outrageous expedition.


fantasy and science fiction book reviewsSlog’s Dad — (2010) Ages 10 and up. Publisher: The ineffable nature of grieving and belief inspires a tender, gritty, and breathtaking work of graphic storytelling from the creators of The Savage. “Slogger, man,” I said. “Your dad s dead.” “I know that, Davie. But it s him. He s come back again, like he said he would.” Do you believe in life after death? Slog does. He believes that the scruffy man on a bench outside the butcher shop is his dad, returned to visit him one last time. Slog s friend Davie isn t so sure. Can it be that some mysteries are never meant to be solved? And that belief, at times, is its own reward? The acclaimed creators of The Savage reunite for a feat of graphic storytelling that defies categorization. Eerie, poignant, and masterful, Slog s Dad is a tale of astonishing power and complexity.


fantasy and science fiction book reviewsThe True Tale of the Monster Billy Dean — (2012) Ages 10 and up. Publisher: From master storyteller David Almond comes a gripping, exquisitely written novel about a hidden-away child who emerges into a broken world. Billy Dean is a secret child. He has a beautiful young mother and a father who arrives at night carrying the scents of candles and incense and cigarettes. Birds fly to his window. Mice run out from his walls. His world is a carpet, a bed, pictures of the holy island, and a single locked door. His father fills his mind and his dreams with mysterious tales and memories and dreadful warnings. But then his father disappears, and Billy’s mother brings him out into the world at last. He learns the horrifying story of what was saved and what was destroyed on the day he was born, the day the bombers came to Blinkbonny. The kind butcher, Mr. McCaufrey, and the medium, Missus Malone, are waiting for him. He becomes The Angel Child, one who can heal the living, contact the dead, bring comfort to a troubled world. But there is one figure who is beyond healing, who comes looking for Billy himself — and is determined on a kind of reckoning.


fantasy and science fiction book reviewsThe Boy Who Swam with Piranhas — (2013) Ages 9 and up. Publisher: A boy escapes home to seek his own way in the world in a whimsical new outing by the award-winning David Almond, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers. Stanley Potts’s uncle Ernie has developed an over-the-top fascination with canning fish in the house, and life at 69 Fish Quay Lane has turned barmy. But there’s darkness in the madness, and when Uncle Ernie’s obsession takes an unexpectedly cruel turn, Stan has no choice but to leave. As he journeys away from the life he’s always known, he mingles with a carnival full of eccentric characters and meets the legendary Pancho Pirelli, the man who swims in a tank full of perilous piranhas. Will Stan be bold enough to dive in the churning waters himself and choose his own destiny?


fantasy and science fiction book reviewsMouse Bird Snake Wolf — (2013) Publisher: The imagination of three children takes on unexpected life in a creation tale from the dream team of David Almond and Dave McKean. The gods have created a world that is safe and calm and rather wonderful. They have built mountains, forests, and seas and filled the world with animals, people, and unnamed beasts. Now their days are fat with long naps in the clouds, mutual admiration, and tea and cake. But their world has gaps in it filled with emptiness, gaps that intrigue Harry, Sue, and little Ben until they begin to see what might fill them. One by one the children conjure, from twigs and leaves and stones, a mousy thing, a chirpy thing, and a twisty legless thing. But as the children’s ideas grow bolder, the power of their visions proves greater and more dangerous than they, or the gods, could ever have imagined. Is it possible to unmake what’s been made?


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