Counting Stars by David Almond
  

Counting Stars

Written by David Almond

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The Lovereading4Kids comment

In a nutshell: finely told stories of family, joy, love | David Almond is one of our very finest, and in some ways most daring authors for young people, and the stories in this collection, beautifully told and quite profound, are typical of his work. They are firmly rooted in the North-East, and in his own childhood. His voice is distinctive, and so too is his extraordinary ability to weave together dreams, myth and faith in stories that are so closely inspired by his own experiences. Among those experiences are the deaths of his sister, father and his mother, yet even so this remains a joyful and a life-affirming collection. It’s a book to read and read again and, as the years pass, each new reading will reveal more truths. ~ Andrea Reece

This new edition of a much-loved book includes a number of previously unpublished stories, and an afterword that explains and explores the roots of Almond's work.

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Synopsis

Counting Stars by David Almond

These beautifully-written stories grow out of David Almond's childhood in the streets and fields of Tyneside. They're funny and sad, realistic and strange, and are suffused with a profound sense of mystery and wonder. They show that the ordinary world is filled with extraordinary possibilities, that the local really does contain the universal.

In Counting Stars David Almond tackles the themes common to his work - joy, darkness, love, death and identity - with exquisite sensitivity and tenderness. A must-read for Almond fans everywhere.

From the author of the modern children's classic Skellig - winner of the Carnegie Medal and the Whitbread Children's Book Award.

David Almond won the 2015 Guardian Children's Book Prize with A Song for Ella Grey.

Reviews

Sparely written...this could well be Almond's best work yet. The Independent

He has the rare gift of being tender towards experience without either sentimentalising or indulging it; he knows that raw material must be worked on before it becomes art and he knows how to do it. The Guardian

A moving, perceptive collection that drifts back and forth over the shadowy border between fiction and autobiography, conjuring with brilliant clarity the elusive joys, sorrows and shames of childhood. The Times

Challenging and stunning. The Bookseller

... a haunting and lyrical collection ... intimate and personal ... Full of emotion and sensitivity that are hard to match. The Bookseller

A collection of linked short stories from David Almond, a writer whose work is challenging and stunning. The Bookseller

About the Author

David Almond

David Almond was our Guest Editor in September 2011 CLICK HERE to see his choices.

As a child

I grew up in a large Catholic family in Felling-on-Tyne: four sisters and one brother. I always knew I'd be a writer – I wrote stories and stitched them into little books. I had an uncle who was a printer, and in his printing shop I learned my love of black words on white pages. I loved our local library and dreamed of seeing books with my name on the cover on its shelves. I also dreamed of playing for Newcastle United (and I still wait for the call!). There was much joy in my childhood, but also much sadness: a baby sister died when I was 7; my dad died when we were all still young; my mum was always seriously ill with arthritis. But it was a childhood, like all childhoods, that provided everything a writer needs, and it illuminates and informs everything I write.

As an adult

After school, I read English and American Literature. When I graduated I became a teacher – long holidays, short days, just perfect for a writer. After 5 years, I gave up the job and lived in a commune in rural Norfolk where I wrote and met my partner Sara Jane. I wrote a long adult novel that was rejected by every UK publisher. I had two collections of short stories published by the tiny IRON Press. I started another adult novel, put it aside, and suddenly, out of the blue, I found myself writing Skellig. It was as if the story had been waiting for me, and once I began, it seemed to write itself. I hadn't expected to write a children's novel, but in some way it was the natural outcome of everything I'd done before, and was the stepping-stone to everything I've done since. I now live in Northumberland with Sara Jane and our daughter Freya. I'm a full-time writer. Sara Jane makes ceramics, Freya goes to school.

As an artist

For years, I was hardly published and hardly anyone knew about me apart from a handful of keen fans. And I made just about no money at all from writing. That didn't really matter to me. I'd keep on writing, no matter what. Then I wrote Skellig and everything changed. I began to sell lots of books, to be translated into many languages, to travel, to win lots of prizes. I've written a number of novels after Skellig, including Kit's Wilderness, The Fire-Eaters and Clay. There have been stage versions of the novels, and films and an opera are on their way. I used to write in the attic at home, but there were lots of distractions – especially from email and telephone. So last year, I had a cabin built at the bottom of the garden. It's very nice, blue-grey and surrounded by trees. I have a radiator to keep me warm and I have a tap and a kettle for making tea. Every morning – when I'm at home and not travelling or making school visits or talking to people on the phone or answering emails – I carry my laptop down to the cabin and I set to work.

Things you didn't know about David Almond

I once held the school high-jump record – 5 ft 2.5 inches.

I have a pet rabbit called Bill who can grunt.

I dream about football – and kick in my sleep!

I love Japanese food – except for the thing I was given once that looked like an alien's brain.

I've taken part in three Great North Runs (half-marathons).

My favourite place is Upper Swaledale in Yorkshire.

I love bikes, camping and fires.

My first TV appearance was as an altar boy in a televised mass when I was eleven.

My grandfather was a bookie (he took bets on horse races). His advice? "Never bet." He also told me, "Never read novels. They're all just lies."

My nickname at school was Dai, and several old friends still call me that.

Julia Eccleshare on David Almond:

One of the best-loved and finest writers of today, David Almond made an immediate impact with Skellig, his first book. The moving story of a boy’s discovery of a strange creature in the shed which can be interpreted in many ways introduced some to the recurrent themes of David Almond’s writing. Infused with a touch of magic or the supernatural or ‘belief’, David Almond writes sensitively about the inner complexities of growing up. Much influenced by the landscape of Tyneside where he was brought up and still lives, David Almond’s books have a strong sense of place especially in titles such as Heaven’s Eyes, The Fire-Eater and Kit’s Wilderness. Although often clearly set in some particular time, there is a timeless quality to David Almond’s stories which give them enduring appeal.

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Book Info

Format

Hardback
224 pages
Interest Age: From 12

Author

David Almond
More books by David Almond

Author's Website

www.davidalmond.com/

Author's Facebook Latest

Publisher

Hodder Children's Books an imprint of Hachette Children's Group

Publication date

1st September 2016

ISBN

9781444934243

Categories


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