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.
The beautiful and haunting novel that launched David Almond as one of the best children’s writers of today
When a move to a new house coincides with his baby sister’s illness, Michael’s world seems suddenly lonely and uncertain.
Then, one Sunday afternoon, he stumbles into the old, ramshackle garage of his new home, and finds something magical. A strange creature – part owl, part angel, a being who needs Michael’s help if he is to survive. With his new friend Mina, Michael nourishes Skellig back to health, while his baby sister languishes in the hospital.
But Skellig is far more than he at first appears, and as he helps Michael breathe life into his tiny sister, Michael’s world changes for ever …
Skellig won the Carnegie Medal and the Whitbread Children’s Book Award and is now a major Sky1 feature film, starring Tim Roth and John Simm.
Powerful and moving – The Guardian
This newly jacketed edition celebrates 20 years of this multi-award-winning novel.
Skellig is published by Hachette Children’s Group.
I’m the one who’s left behind. I’m the one to tell the tale. I knew them both… knew how they lived and how they died.
Claire is Ella Grey’s best friend. She’s there when the whirlwind arrives on the scene: catapulted into a North East landscape of gutted shipyards; of high arched bridges and ancient collapsed mines. She witnesses a love so dramatic it is as if her best friend has been captured and taken from her. But the loss of her friend to the arms of Orpheus is nothing compared to the loss she feels when Ella is taken from the world. This is her story – as she bears witness to a love so complete; so sure, that not even death can prove final.
A Song for Ella Grey was first published in 2014. It won the Guardian Children’s Fiction Award 2015.
David talks about A Song for Ella Grey on the Guardian website.
In Stoneygate there was a wilderness, an empty space where the coal pit had once been. There, Kit met Askew, with his wild dog Jax. Askew, who ran the game called Death …
Kit has just moved to Stoneygate with his family, to live with his ageing grandfather who is gradually succumbing to Alzheimer’s Disease. Stoneygate is an insular place, scarred by its mining history – by the danger and death it has brought them. Where the coal mine used to be there is now a wilderness.
Here Kit meets Askew, a surly and threatening figure who masterminds the game called Death, a frightening ritual of hypnotism; and Kit makes friends with Allie, the clever school troublemaker.
As Kit struggles to adjust to his new life and the gradual failing of his beloved grandfather, these two friendships pull him towards a terrifying resolution. Haunted by ghosts of the past, Kit must confront death and – ultimately – life.
"Almond’s masterpiece: Kit’s Wilderness is one of those rare works that changes how we see the world" — The Guardian
"Could a children’s book win the Booker? The best writing is the kind that defies categories, and Almond’s Kit’s Wilderness makes the grade." — The Times
Kit’s Wilderness won the 1999 Smarties Prize in the UK, and the 2001 Michael L Printz Award in the US.