Kielder Water is a wild and beautiful place, rich in folk music and legend.
Years ago, before a great dam was built to fill the valley with water, there were farms and homesteads in that valley and musicians who livened their rooms with song.
After the village was abandoned and before the waters rushed in, a father and daughter returned there. The girl began to play her fiddle, bringing her tune to one empty house after another — for this was the last time that music would be heard in that place.
With exquisite artwork by Levi Pinfold, David Almond’s lyrical narrative – inspired by a true tale – pays homage to his friends Mike and Kathryn Tickell and all the musicians of Northumberland, to show that music is ancient and unstoppable, and that dams and lakes cannot overwhelm it.
Shortlisted for the 2020 CILIP Kate Greenaway Award.
David Almond talked about the story of the dam, and the music and poetry which lie submerged within us all on Radio 4, on Sunday April 26th 2020; listen again via the BBC website.
"With its every detail – its masterful illustrations, its landscape format, and the elegant text that offers readers a way to see the promise of new life from what has been destroyed – this book triumphs."
Kirkus Reviews (USA)
"With riveting language and moody art, this true story will evoke awe and reverence of place for even very young readers."
Publishers Weekly (USA)
" a poignant collaboration between David Almond and illustrator Levi Pinfold, filled with wordless landscapes and harmonies heard deep in the reader’s mind…"
"Perhaps the most extraordinarily lovely and melancholy picture book published this year.."
"This stunning, wild and atmospheric picture book by two giants of children’s literature tells the true story of a musician father and his daughter who, before the community is lost, enter each house in the valley and play music, sing and dance in each one, so that they will always contain music – and magic.."
The Dam, illustrated by Levi Pinfold, was published by Walker Books in hardback on 11th September 2018, and in paperback on 1st August 2019.
La Diga, the Italian edition of The Dam, published by orecchio acerbo, won the Andersen Prize 2019 for best illustrated book and for children’s book of the year, and the Premio Letteratura Ragazzi 2019, for best children’s poetry book of 2019.