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In a series of interconnected stories, a boy describes his life growing up in the English urban district of Felling. Full description

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Format: Book
Language: English
Published: Delacorte Press, 2002
Edition: First American edition.
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David Almond's extraordinary novels have established him as an author of unique insight and skill. These stories encapsulate his endless sense of mystery and wonderment, as they weave a tangible tapestry of growing up in a large, loving family. Here are the kernels of his novels--joy and fear, darkness and light, the
healing power of love and imagination in overcoming the wounds of ignorance and prejudice. These stories merge memory and dream, the real and the imagined, in a collection of exquisite tenderness. From the Hardcover edition.

Review by Booklist Review

Gr. 9-12. Like Almond's award-winning novels, these connected stories, based on personal experience, are about the miraculous in daily life, the unknown in the familiar. Almond writes with lyrical simplicity about growing up in a working-class family in a small mining town in the north of England. Catholic faith is central to childhood vision, and tentative questioning of Catholicism is as much a part of coming-of-age as is awakening sexuality. Almond comes close to the sentimental, especially in the idyllic picture of the loving family he's created, but he writes powerfully of ordinary life and of the dark outside: bullies on the street and in the house next door, cruelty in the name of faith, sorrow when the father and baby sister die. As with his other books, some of Almond's best writing combines the fragile and the grotesque, especially in the exquisite stories about the coming of the circus and the carnival. There's a strong sense of the adult looking back (many of the chapters were previously published in British literary magazines), so the audience here will be mainly readers who know Almond's work and are exploring their own stories of innocence and experience. --Hazel Rochman

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

"In this evocative collection of autobiographical vignettes," wrote PW in a starred review, "readers can trace connecting threads between Almond's published works and his childhood experience as a sensitive, pensive English child preoccupied by the mysteries of religion, death and immortality." Ages 12-up. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-9-Eighteen nostalgic vignettes form the patchwork of this memory quilt, Almond's wistful recollection of the people and places he knew during his childhood in a poor mining town in the north of England nearly 50 years ago. Like memory itself, the stories weave in and out of time and place, and while they appear disjointed at first, they quickly and subtly reveal patterns and themes that mold the boy into a man: the abiding love of parents and siblings, even beyond their deaths; first cigarette, first fight, first love; and the ubiquitous, disapproving eye of the Catholic Church and the teenage temptation to spit in it. Lilting dialect and homespun humor imbue Almond's narrative with a beauty and simplicity that transcend the poverty and squalor of the diverse settings, which range from graveyards to fun fairs, schoolrooms to empty lots. The chronological and cultural gap that separates Almond's youth from that of modern children is so palpable in these stories that many readers will feel overwhelmed and perhaps even discouraged. Tenacious ones, however, will be rewarded with a captivating portrait of Almond the child, whose life experiences helped produce Almond the writer and his eloquent body of literature.-William McLoughlin, Brookside School, Worthington, OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

David Almond was born on May 15, 1951 in the United Kingdom. He writes novels for children and young adults including The Savage, Slog's Dad, My Name Is Mina, The Boy Who Swam with Piranhas, and The Tightrope Walkers. He has received numerous awards including the Carnegie Medal for Skellig, two Whitbread Awards, the Michael L. Printz Award for young-adult books for Kit's Wilderness, the Smarties Prize and the Boston Globe Horn Book Award for The Fire-Eaters, the 2015 Guardian Children's Fiction Prize for A Song for Ella Grey, and the Hans Christian Andersen Award.

(Bowker Author Biography)

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