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Description

Product Description

David Almond’s Printz Honor–winning novel celebrates its 10th anniversary!

Ten-year-old Michael was looking forward to moving into a new house. But now his baby sister is ill, his parents are frantic, and Doctor Death has come to call. Michael feels helpless. Then he steps into the crumbling garage. . . . What is this thing beneath the spiders'' webs and dead flies? A human being, or a strange kind of beast never before seen? The only person Michael can confide in is his new friend, Mina. Together, they carry the creature out into the light, and Michael''s world changes forever. . . .

Review

"Almond makes a triumphant debut in the field of children''s literature with prose that is at once eerie, magical, and poignant."-- Publishers Weekly, Starred

"A powerful, atmospheric story . . . the marvelous and everyday mix in haunting, memorable ways."-- Kirkus Reviews, Pointer

"A lovingly done, thought-provoking novel."-- School Library Journal, Starred

"Its strength as a novel is in its subtlety. . . . Skellig is a fine book."
-- The New York Times Book Review

"Some of the writing takes one''s breath away."-- Booklist, Starred

From the Inside Flap

Ten-year-old Michael was looking forward to moving into a new house. But now his baby sister is ill, his parents are frantic, and Doctor Death has come to call. Michael feels helpless. Then he steps into the crumbling garage. . . . What is this thing beneath the spiders'' webs and dead flies? A human being, or a strange kind of beast never before seen? The only person Michael can confide in is his new friend, Mina. Together, they carry the creature out into the light, and Michael''s world changes forever. . . .

From the Back Cover

Ten-year-old Michael was looking forward to moving into a new house. It was all going to be wonderful. But now his baby sister''s ill, his parents are frantic, and Dr. Death has come to call. Michael feels helpless. Then one day he steps into the crumbling garage.

What is this thing beneath the spiderwebs and dead flies? A human being, or a strange kind of beast never seen before? The only person Michael can confide in is his new friend Mina. Together they carry the creature out into the light, and Michael''s world changes forever.

Told in lyrical prose, Skellig is a mystery, an adventure, and a family story, in which Michael learns about nature, poetry, and the healing power of love.

About the Author

“I grew up in a big extended Catholic family [in the north of England]. I listened to the stories and songs at family parties. I listened to the gossip that filled Dragone’s coffee shop. I ran with my friends through the open spaces and the narrow lanes. We scared each other with ghost stories told in fragile tents on dark nights. We promised never-ending friendship and whispered of the amazing journeys we’d take together.

“I sat with my grandfather in his allotment, held tiny Easter chicks in my hands while he smoked his pipe and the factory sirens wailed and larks yelled high above. I trembled at the images presented to us in church, at the awful threats and glorious promises made by black-clad priests with Irish voices. I scribbled stories and stitched them into little books. I disliked school and loved the library, a little square building in which I dreamed that books with my name on them would stand one day on the shelves.

Skellig, my first children’s novel, came out of the blue, as if it had been waiting a long time to be told. It seemed to write itself. It took six months, was rapidly taken by Hodder Children’s Books and has changed my life. By the time Skellig came out, I’d written my next children’s novel, Kit’s Wilderness. These books are suffused with the landscape and spirit of my own childhood. By looking back into the past, by re-imagining it and blending it with what I see around me now, I found a way to move forward and to become something that I am intensely happy to be: a writer for children.”

David Almond is the winner of the 2001 Michael L. Printz Award for Kit’s Wilderness, which has also been named best book of the year by School Library Journal, Booklist, and Publishers Weekly. He has been called "the foremost practitioner in children''s literature of magical realism." ( Booklist) His first book for young readers, Skellig, is a Printz Honor winner. David Almond lives with his family in Newcastle, England.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

I found him in the garage on a Sunday afternoon. It was the day after we moved into Falconer Road. The winter was ending. Mum had said we''d be moving just in time for the spring. Nobody else was there. Just me. The others were inside the house with Dr. Death, worrying about the baby.

He was lying there in the darkness behind the tea chests, in the dust and dirt. It was as if he''d been there forever. He was filthy and pale and dried out and I thought he was dead. I couldn''t have been more wrong. I''d soon begin to see the truth about him, that there''d never been another creature like him in the world.

We called it the garage because that''s what the real estate agent, Mr. Stone, called it. It was more like a demolition site or a rubbish dump or like one of those ancient warehouses they keep pulling down at the wharf. Stone led us down the garden, tugged the door open, and shined his little flashlight into the gloom. We shoved our heads in at the doorway with him.

"You have to see it with your mind''s eye," he said. "See it cleaned, with new doors and the roof repaired. See it as a wonderful two-car garage."

He looked at me with a stupid grin on his face.

"Or something for you, lad-a hideaway for you and your pals. What about that, eh?"

I looked away. I didn''t want anything to do with him. All the way round the house it had been the same. Just see it in your mind''s eye. Just imagine what could be done. All the way round I kept thinking of the old man, Ernie Myers, that had lived here on his own for years. He''d been dead nearly a week before they found him under the table in the kitchen. That''s what I saw when Stone told us about seeing with the mind''s eye. He even said it when we got to the dining room and there was an old cracked toilet sitting there in the comer behind a plywood screen. I just wanted him to shut up, but he whispered that toward the end Ernie couldn''t manage the stairs. His bed was brought in here and a toilet was put in so everything was easy for him. Stone looked at me like he didn''t think I should know about such things. I wanted to get out, to get back to our old house again, but Mum and Dad took it all in. They went on like it was going to be some big adventure. They bought the house. They started cleaning it and scrubbing it and painting it. Then the baby came too early. And here we were.

Chapter 2

I NEARLY GOT INTO THE GARAGE that Sunday morning. I took my own flashlight and shined it in. The outside doors to the back lane must have fallen off years ago and there were dozens of massive planks nailed across the entrance. The timbers holding the roof were rotten and the roof was sagging in. The bits of the floor you could see between the rubbish were full of cracks and holes. The people that took the rubbish out of the house were supposed to take it out of the garage as well, but they took one look at the place and said they wouldn''t go in it even for extra money. There were old chests of drawers and broken washbasins and bags of cement, ancient doors leaning against the walls, deck chairs with the cloth seats rotted away. Great rolls of rope and cable hung from nails. Heaps of water pipes and great boxes of rusty nails were scattered on the floor. Everything was covered in dust and spiders'' webs. There was mortar that had fallen from the walls. ''There was a little window in one of the walls but it was filthy and there were rolls of cracked linoleum standing in front of it. The place stank of rot and dust. Even the bricks were crumbling like they couldn''t bear the weight anymore. It was like the whole thing was sick of itself and would collapse in a heap and have to get bulldozed away.

I heard something scratching in one of the corners, and something scuttling about; then it all stopped and it was just dead quiet in there.

I stood daring myself to go in.

I was just going to slip inside when I heard Mum shouting at me

"Michael! What you doing?"
She was at the back door.
"Didn''t we tell you to wait till we''re sure it''s

I stepped back and looked at her.
"Well, didn''t we?" she shouted.
"Yes," I said.
"So keep out! All right?"
I shoved the door and it lurched half shut on its
single hinge.
"All right?" she yelled.
'',All right,” said. "Yes. All right. All right."
"Do you not think we''ve got more to worry about than stupid you getting crushed in a stupid garage?

"Yes."
"You just keep out, then! Right?"
"Right. Right, right, right.
Then I went back into the wilderness we called garden and she went back to the stupid baby.

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4.6 out of 54.6 out of 5
1,571 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Leona
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Dreamy, lovely book
Reviewed in the United States on May 23, 2013
I had been told for many years to read David Almond''s work, and I finally decided to download "Skellig" when finding some books for my new Kindle. I can''t believe I didn''t read this sooner. I guess this book had been marketed toward younger people, and the story... See more
I had been told for many years to read David Almond''s work, and I finally decided to download "Skellig" when finding some books for my new Kindle. I can''t believe I didn''t read this sooner. I guess this book had been marketed toward younger people, and the story is definitely accessible for older children, but it really is great for anyone of any age.
"Skellig" is dreamlike and mysterious, thoughtful, both visceral and philosophical, beautiful and concise prose. I made myself stretch it out over a few days, but I could see this novel being devoured in just an hour or two. The day after I finished I went and got a hard copy of "My Name is Mina", the "prequel" from the library, and it was equally as excellent.
I recommend this if you like semi-surreal fiction, if you''re looking for a book that ponders knowledge and purpose, or if you simply appreciate lovely writing. I feel this is also one of those books that you should read a few different times in your life because can read it differently each time. So if you like it, keep it in your collection!
12 people found this helpful
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Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Captivating
Reviewed in the United States on January 20, 2021
A fable, A child''s book,A proverb. All of those things. As good for an adult or a book read by an adult to a child. Who is Smelling. We are never sure. A beautiful book.
2 people found this helpful
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Jennifer Lowry
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A Book That Took My Heart...
Reviewed in the United States on February 2, 2020
I didn’t know how to take this book at first and entering inside the dangerous shed with a Michael, I didn’t know what I would find. I wasn’t sure what was happening or how I was feeling about it. Then, I stayed and listened with my heart and heard the layers of this... See more
I didn’t know how to take this book at first and entering inside the dangerous shed with a Michael, I didn’t know what I would find. I wasn’t sure what was happening or how I was feeling about it. Then, I stayed and listened with my heart and heard the layers of this book. It is special. It is extraordinary. Lovely.
One person found this helpful
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laurenpie
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Honest exploration of conflicting feelings toward family and friends
Reviewed in the United States on November 28, 2011
A beautiful children''s fantasy novel. A gentle, open and honest exploration of a young boy''s conflicting feelings regarding his deathly-ill baby sister, his parents, and his friends. Almond deftly refrains from answering every question (e.g., the exact nature of... See more
A beautiful children''s fantasy novel. A gentle, open and honest exploration of a young boy''s conflicting feelings regarding his deathly-ill baby sister, his parents, and his friends.

Almond deftly refrains from answering every question (e.g., the exact nature of Skellig) or tediously driving home every symbolism, leaving room for delightful contemplation.

Superb writing throughout. The last paragraph of Chapter Two, in all it''s starkness, is absolutely heart-wrenching. The initial discovery of Skellig was heart-pounding, and the closing chapters heart-lifting. I won''t soon forget "27 and 53"!

Themes of forgiveness, family love and loyalty, and non-judgmental acceptance of those who don''t fit into society''s mold.
4 people found this helpful
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Kat Weglarz
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Extraordinary
Reviewed in the United States on February 1, 2020
I started this book at 1 pm. If I hadn’t had to work I would have finished it in one sitting. I have no words to describe what the book is about but I can feel its meaning. I think my dreams tonight might bring me closer to...well Skellig.
One person found this helpful
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Dana Hall
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
love, compassion, and believing
Reviewed in the United States on August 20, 2013
This book has wonderful imagery, but what enjoyed was the layout of the story and the layers. A young boy''s baby sister could be dying, the family moves into a new home where the boy and his new friend discover love and compassion and the power of believing in... See more
This book has wonderful imagery, but what enjoyed was the layout of the story and the layers.
A young boy''s baby sister could be dying, the family moves into a new home where the boy and his new friend discover love and compassion and the power of believing in something.
I would recommend this book to young adults and under, although I am almost fifty and thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

discover the beauty around them, the importance of
4 people found this helpful
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ChanelS
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
An extraordinary story of belief.
Reviewed in the United States on August 4, 2019
This is a story for young and old; for those who are on the point of giving up, but belief gives them reason to continue. Simply but beautifully written.
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C. DeVere
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A great book but...
Reviewed in the United States on June 21, 2014
I''m only twelve so I cam''t say that I''m an amazing book reviewer, but I feel that this book dragged on near the start. We were required to read this book for school, and don''t get me wrong, I love books, but I couldn''t help procrastinating a little bit because of how... See more
I''m only twelve so I cam''t say that I''m an amazing book reviewer, but I feel that this book dragged on near the start. We were required to read this book for school, and don''t get me wrong, I love books, but I couldn''t help procrastinating a little bit because of how nothing really happened at the start. There was nothing to engage me. I loved the story nearer to the end, but the book put me off at the start.
6 people found this helpful
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Top reviews from other countries

NoYellow
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Stoke Reads On 101: Book 2
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 23, 2017
I read ''Skellig'' as part of a reading challenge with secondary school students. As a reader: The everyday woven with moments of soaring hope, searing pain and extraordinary beauty. Full of Almond''s ideas, but with space for me to think for myself. Torn between wanting to...See more
I read ''Skellig'' as part of a reading challenge with secondary school students. As a reader: The everyday woven with moments of soaring hope, searing pain and extraordinary beauty. Full of Almond''s ideas, but with space for me to think for myself. Torn between wanting to find out what would happen and not wanting it to end. I loved Mina - and look forward to meeting her again - but was absorbed and moved by the whole story. In Skellig, I found a perfect balance. As a librarian: Lots of questions from readers about this book - about Mina''s home learning, Michael''s friendship with her and what kind of creature Skellig is, to name a few. One student takes a chance with it, and lots of others follow. A great conversation starter and introduction to the beauty of language, as well as a fascinating read. See all the ''Stoke Reads On 101'' titles at goodreads.com
13 people found this helpful
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HarmonyTop Contributor: Camping
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Recommended to us for 11 plus reading
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 12, 2017
I bought this for my son as it was recommended by the tutor of the extra tuition for his upcoming 11 plus exams. It was recommended to jelp with the language analysis aspect of the exams. He was told to read the book, picking out phrases and explaining how this...See more
I bought this for my son as it was recommended by the tutor of the extra tuition for his upcoming 11 plus exams. It was recommended to jelp with the language analysis aspect of the exams. He was told to read the book, picking out phrases and explaining how this describes/makes the atmosphere feel. (Also, my daughters class is reading the book at school at the moment and she is a year older and has already sat her 11 plus) The book is in perfect condition, just like I had picked it off the shelf in a book store and delivered next day with Prime. I chose a new book as the second hand ones were coming in over £3 anyway. Me and my son both recommend the book.
9 people found this helpful
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Katniss697
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Captivating.. 📚 👍
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 8, 2016
I just got my Kindle and I wanted a good book to read to test it out! so when my Dad saw this book and was like "try Skellig". In the first half I was about to put the book down because I wasn''t really enjoying it but something kept me going. Like Michael and Mina kept...See more
I just got my Kindle and I wanted a good book to read to test it out! so when my Dad saw this book and was like "try Skellig". In the first half I was about to put the book down because I wasn''t really enjoying it but something kept me going. Like Michael and Mina kept Skellig going. And by the end of the book I would say its in my top 10 favourite books!! 🌈 ☺ 😊 I would give it 8 out of 10! I loved this book but would only say to read it if your at least 9+ as it does contain some violence. But other than that READ IT!! 📚 🌞 🎶 🌈
17 people found this helpful
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Mrs. S. R. Wray
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
I feel changed for the better as a result of having read it
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 18, 2010
This book was recommended to me by a teacher of a primary seven class (the final year of primary school in Northern Ireland). I was in doing a school visit with his class because they were about to read one of my books, and the class kept a running vote on their favourite...See more
This book was recommended to me by a teacher of a primary seven class (the final year of primary school in Northern Ireland). I was in doing a school visit with his class because they were about to read one of my books, and the class kept a running vote on their favourite books of the year. This one was their winner so far (the others included Phillip Pullman''s Northern Lights trilogy, a Michael Morpurgo book, The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe,and a Roald Dahl book (I forget which one). Skellig was the only book on the list I hadn''t read, and the children and their teacher gave it such a glowing review that I thought I should (I''ve read one other David Almond book - Clay, which I thought was very good.) Well, I''m so glad to have read it. The book is simple and yet really profound - it made me laugh and cry and think. I loved the down to earth language of all the characters, including the mysterious Skellig. I feel touched and moved and uplifted by reading the book - I think the writing is pure genius. Saying that, when the book arrived in the post from Amazon, my thirteen year old son saw it and said, ''oh, we had to read that in school - it''s not very good.'' I don''t know - children''s books are wasted on some children!
8 people found this helpful
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Hamburg User
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A fun book to read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 13, 2017
A fun book to read. I only actually got and read this book as I teach English as a foreign language, and the teenagers have to read this. I got it so as to be able to ask some questions where I already knew the answers. An interesting idea to write about and if you can let...See more
A fun book to read. I only actually got and read this book as I teach English as a foreign language, and the teenagers have to read this. I got it so as to be able to ask some questions where I already knew the answers. An interesting idea to write about and if you can let yourself enjoy the fantasy without asking too many questions, you''ll enjoy it too.
5 people found this helpful
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