The Song from Somewhere Else by A. F. Harrold
  

The Song from Somewhere Else

Written by A. F. Harrold
Illustrated by Levi Pinfold

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A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month November 2017 | Longlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award

Award-winning A.F. Harrold blends reality and imagination in a moving and thought-provoking story about friendship, loneliness and being brave when things are difficult. Bullied at school and unsupported at home, Frank makes an unusual friendship with Nick, the weird boy in her class who everyone else shuns. After Nick rescues Frank from the bullies, she goes round to his house where she discovers something very unusual. What should Frank believe about what she sees? And should she keep Nick’s secret? Levi Penfold’s illustrations add to the illusory feel of this story that tests imagination and belief and leaves the reader wondering. ~ Julia Eccleshare

Julia Eccleshare's Picks of the Month for November 2017

Christmas Dinner of Souls by Ross Montgomery

Here We Are by Oliver Jeffers

Katinka's Tail by Judith Kerr

Lucky Button by Michael Morpurgo

Pick A Pine Tree by Patricia Toht

The Stone Bird by Jenny McCartney

The Lion and the Unicorn and Other Hairy Tales by Jane Ray

The Song from Somewhere Else by A. F. Harrold

Synopsis

The Song from Somewhere Else by A. F. Harrold

Frank doesn't know how to feel when Nick Underbridge rescues her from bullies one afternoon. No one likes Nick. He's big, he's weird and he smells - or so everyone in Frank's class thinks. And yet, there's something nice about Nick's house. There's strange music playing there, and it feels light and good and makes Frank feel happy for the first time in forever. But there's more to Nick, and to his house, than meets the eye, and soon Frank realises she isn't the only one keeping secrets. Or the only one who needs help ...

A poignant, darkly comic and deeply moving story about the power of the extraordinary, and finding friendship where you least expect it. Written by the author of the critically acclaimed The Imaginary and illustrated by award-winning illustrator Levi Pinfold, this is perfect for fans of Roald Dahl and Neil Gaiman.

Reviews

"Broodingly atmospheric ... A fantasy blending the strange and the everyday" Sunday Times

"Extraordinary ... as moving, strange and profound as Skellig" Guardian

Praise for The Imaginary:

"A richly visualised story which explores imaginary friends and the very special role they play in children's lives. Emily Gravett's illustrations capture the hazy world of the imaginaries brilliantly" Julia Eccleshare

“The kind of children's book that's the reason why adults should never stop reading children's books. Touching, exciting and wonderful to look at (Emily Gravett's illustrations are incredible), I absolutely adored this.” – Robin Stevens

“A glorious delight… Loved it!” – Jeremy Strong

“Packed full of heart, but also deeply disturbing and eccentric, it’s a wonderful collaboration. I’m not sure words and pictures have ever fitted together quite so seamlessly.” – Phil Earle

"By turns scary and funny, touching without being sentimental, and beautifully illustrated by Emily Gravett, The Imaginary is a delight from start to finish.” - The Financial Times

“A moving read about loyalty and belief in the extraordinary “– The Guardian

“A tribute to the power of the imagination and friendship” – Books for Keeps

“This is young fiction of the very best quality, showcasing inspiration, inventiveness and an intoxicating passion for storytelling. The Imaginary has the potential to be a family favourite and a future classic.” – Booktrust

About the Author

A. F. Harrold

A.F. Harrold is an English poet (1975-present). He writes and performs for adults and children, in cabaret and in schools, in bars and in basements, in fields and indoors. He was Glastonbury Festival Website's Poet-In-Residence in 2008, and Poet-In-Residence at Cheltenham Literature Festival in 2010. He won the Cheltenham All Stars Slam Championship in 2007 and has had his work on BBC Radio 4, Radio 3 and BBC7. He is active in schools work, running workshops and slams and doing performances at ungodly hours of the morning, and has published several collections of poetry. He is the owner of many books, a handful of hats, a few good ideas and one beard. He spends his time showing off on stage, writing poems and books, and stroking his beard (it helps churn the ideas). He is the author of the Fizzlebert Stump series and the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medal longlisted The Imaginary, illustrated by Emily Gravett. The Imaginary is the winner of the 7-11 category of the UKLA Awards. A.F Harrold lives in Reading with a stand-up comedian and two cats.

A Q&A with the author

1. What are your 5 favourite books, and why?

Again, no favourites, per se, but at various times in my life the following five have been important to me: Barbara Firth (the greatest illustrator of bears in children’s books full stop, no argument); J.R.R. Tolkien (for, almost accidentally, allowing us a glimpse into his lifelong private world-building exercise); Norman MacCaig (one of the great poets of nature and time and thought – never fussy and complex, but always sharp, charming and short); Iris Murdoch (for her ungainly, unlikely, unworldly novels of love and philosophy; Jill Bennett (I have a print of her drawing of the BFG (from Danny Champion of the World) on the wall by my desk, which is so many times more mysterious and fascinating than Blake’s BFG that became the standard).

Let’s plump for The Hobbit. It was a book that certainly hooked my imagination and tangled me up in its world. I went to sleep listening to the tapes of it.

How about the boy in The Witches simply for what he does and what he goes through and how he ends up. There’s pluck for you.

I have a soft spot for both Mr Gum and Mr Twit. Every villain needs a good beard, surely?

I’d like to think I could be Professor Calculus, but I’d probably discover I was Thompson or Thomson.

7. If you could recommend just one book for everyone to read what would it be?

My inability to think of anything else to do. To make poems was the only thing that felt right. Every now and then one of them isn’t terrible. And now stories seem to happen as well.

The Imaginary came about because of two thoughts that occurred around the same time. One was the image of an imaginary boy stood by the side of the road after an accident. He was on his own for the first time. He was beginning to fade. The other was a thought of a canteen, a greasy spoon sort of place, full of big blokes with ‘I love Mum’ tattoos and mugs of builder’s tea and cigarettes on the go. A foreman type walks in with a clipboard and says, ‘Little Billy Jones needs a friend …’ and one of the hairy Neanderthal-ish chaps gets up and says, ‘Okay boss,’ and goes out the door, squeezing himself into whatever shape Billy Jones wants his imaginary friend to be. So, an agency for imaginary friends. Neither of the those images/pictures/thoughts makes it unchanged into the book, but they were the initial spurs.

I began writing poetry seriously (and awfully) as a teenager, but I’d had a typewriter as a kid and banged away on it, though I’ve no idea and no memory of what I was writing.

Just keep on with it. The more you do it, the better you’ll get. And read lots.

Photo credit: Naomi Woddis

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Book Info

Format

Paperback
240 pages
Interest Age: From 9 years

Author

A. F. Harrold
More books by A. F. Harrold

Author's Website

www.afharrold.co.uk/

Publisher

Bloomsbury Childrens an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

Publication date

1st November 2017

ISBN

9781408884751

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