My Name is Mina by David Almond
  

My Name is Mina

Written by David Almond

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The Lovereading4Kids comment

Shortlisted for the 2012 Carnegie Medal.

The Judges said: A wonderful celebration of words, language and creativity which completely nails the voice of Mina, its central character, and demonstrates a true stream of consciousness. Mina has much to teach us all about the wonder of life in this absorbing and very clever example of a post-modern approach to literature.

A Lovereading4kids 'Great Read' you may have missed 2011 selection. One of the 4 titles shortlisted for the Guardian Children's Book Prize 2011.

Mina was Michael's thoughtful, resourceful and spiky neighbour in David Almond's prizewinning Skellig. This is the story of her life before his arrival, in a series of stunningly individual essays, poems, written dreams – each in a narrative style carefully chosen to catch the mood. Together they capture her confusion and sometimes anger about many aspects of her life, including the death of her father and her antipathy to school. They also celebrate her love of language and her passionate understanding of how it works. Seeing the world through Mina's eyes and hearing it through her voice is a journey of unbridled imagination and touching honesty.

Shortlisted for the prestigious Sheffield Children's Book Award 2011.

Synopsis

My Name is Mina by David Almond

A message from Author David Almond about why he wrote My Name is Mina.

For me, Mina was always the most important and most interesting character in Skellig. When she popped up behind Michael and asked ‘Are you the new boy here?’ it was as if she was asking me the same question. She jumped into the book with her own life and interests. Until she arrived, I had no idea that William Blake would figure so strongly, or that birds would be so important, or that ideas about education would be such a strong theme. Without her, the book would have been a rather frail thing. Skellig would probably never have flown. Mina wasn’t just a character she was a kind of muse as well.

Skellig was published over ten years ago. Mina has stayed with me ever since, and I’ve often wondered about her. Where on earth did she come from? Did she ever go to school? Did her father really die before she was born? Did she know Ernie Myers? Why does she spend so much time in a tree? And what is in those notebooks and sketchbooks? Then last year my American publisher, Beverly Horowitz, asked if I’d consider writing a little ‘extra’ to put into the 10th anniversary US edition of Skellig. I played around with a few ideas, then I thought of trying to write a page or two from Mina’s notebooks. As soon as I started, Mina – as both character and muse – leapt into life again. It was like she was saying ‘About time! Why has it taken so long? Let’s get on with it.’ So I got on with it, and pretty soon I was able to tell my UK Editor, Anne McNeil, that the little extra was growing quickly and organically into a whole new book with its own Mina-ish form.

My Name is Mina was a lovely book to write. I hope you enjoy reading it.

___________________________________

There's an empty notebook lying on the table in the moonlight. It's been there for an age. I keep on saying that I'll write a journal. So I'll start right here, right now. I open the book and write the very first words: My name is Mina and I love the night. Then what shall I write? I can't just write that this happened then this happened then this happened to boring infinitum. I'll let my journal grow just like the mind does, just like a tree or a beast does, just like life does. Why should a book tell a tale in a dull straight line?

And so Mina writes and writes in her notebook, and through her stories, thoughts, lessons and dreams, Mina's journal and mind grow into something extraordinary. In this stunning book, David Almond revisits Mina before she has met Michael, before she has met Skellig, in what is a thought-provoking and extraordinary prequel to his best-selling debut novel, Skellig - winner of the Carnegie Medal and the Whitbread Children's Book Award. David Almond is also winner of the 2010 Hans Christian Andersen award.

Reviews

"skilful, affecting and impassioned" - The Times

"A celebration of the richness of the everyday world... to read it is to feel uplifted." The Sunday Times

"A wonderful book in its own right, perhaps an even better one than Skellig"

Jonathan Douglas, National Literacy Trust Director
: "Fantastic - witty and wistful, engaging and entertaining. I loved it."

'a master novelist' - Independent

'a writer of subtle, page-turning and daring exactness.' - Times Educational Supplement

'Almond manages to make a work of art out of the simplest words.' - Amanda Craig, The Times

'David Almond is a fine writer, one of the very finest we have. He is simply incapable of writing a bad sentence.' - Michael Morpurgo

'... exceptional, delicate writing ... make a moving and thoughtful story told with exceptional elegance. Julia Eccleshare

'exquisite prose which sparkles off the page' Writeaway BACKLIST REVIEWS:

'a book of startling quality and tremendous beauty' The Bookbag

'David Almond's novels all have a unique, mystical thread running through them. He weaves a story web, spiderlike, that holds the reader spellbound while he spins new though-threads on universal themes.' Carousel

'One of these days, someone is going to notice that David Almond has been kidnapped by children's publishing and demand him back for adults. But until then, we must rejoice in every new offering of his.' Sunday Telegraph

superb coming-of-age novel from one of our master story-tellers. --Bookseller

This is a novel of power and beauty. --The Daily Telegraph

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

Paperback
304 pages

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 Books

Publication date

1st September 2011

ISBN

9780340997260

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