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Glenda Millard is an award-winning Australian author of twelve picture books, seven fiction titles for younger readers and three young adult novels. Australian, she left school at 15 and went straight out to work, unable to fulfil her writing dreams. At the age of 45 she found herself out of a job and her children grown up. She began to write and hasn't stopped since, winning many awards in Australia for her picture books and fiction. With her appearance on the Carnegie shortlist this year, her writing is finally getting the recognition it deserves in the UK.
All titles in the Kingdom of Silk series have won or been shortlisted for every major book prize in Australia: the Queensland Premier's Literary Awards, Children's Book Council of Australia Awards, NSW Premier's Literary Awards and WA Premier's Literary Awards.
Glenda's novel, The Stars at Oktober Bend has been shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2017.
In a nutshell: family and survival in a strange wartime landscape From the author of The Stars at Oktober Bend, now shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal, this is another powerful, tender and precisely written YA novel. 11 year old Skip is living on the streets under the protection of a war veteran, also homeless, Billy. When bombs start to fall, they first shelter in the library, together with another boy, six year old Max. From there they flee to an abandoned funfair, meeting up with a teenage girl Tia and her baby. Despite the danger and destruction all around them, this strange little nuclear family finds reasons to be happy. Set in a haunting landscape, filled with strange, unforgettable characters and exploring themes such as the madness and futility of war, and the strength of human resilience, A Small Free Kiss in the Dark leaves readers with much to think about. Brian Conaghan’s Costa winner The Bombs the Brought Us Together is also set in a war torn landscape and stars young people buoyed up by love and companionship. ~ Andrea Reece
Shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2017 | Longlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award | August 2016 Book of the Month | In a Nutshell: Survival | Friendship | Power of words Heartrending and, ultimately, hopeful, this tells the extraordinarily powerful tale of unforgettable Alice, whose “soul is filled with songbirds”, and who refuses to let the cowards win. Fifteen-year-old Alice Nightingale has hair as red as fire, skin as pale as bone and, after a brutal assault, her “electrics are wrecked”. Her words may “come out weird”, but it’s through words that Alice transcends being “cursed with twelveness” (the doctors think she will forever remain a twelve-year-old). She writes in the inimitable, incisive language of her soul - “poems mean whatever people want them to. that is why I like them” - and sets her thoughts free by leaving poems around her town, where she lives with huge-hearted brother, Joey, and sick grandmother, gram. At the age of fourteen, with their dad dead, mother gone, and granddad in prison, Joey is “the last man standing”, Alice observes. Like Alice, Manny’s life is suffused with tragedy. He’s a former child soldier, a refugee from Sierra Leone, where “stories are not written on paper”, and where a war claimed his family, and childhood. After finding one of Alice’s poems, Manny is desperate to meet the girl who wrote it, and he follows a paper trail that eventually leads to her heart. Manny gives Alice hope in a world that’s been beyond cruel to her, while she’s “truly gold” to him, a beacon of light and love. The exceptional writing performs a kind of alchemy as the horrific details of Alice’s assault unfold, along with the reason behind her grandfather’s imprisonment. Most remarkable of all is Alice’s unique narrative voice - “my soul is filled/ with songbirds/ but when i open myself/ to set them free they shit/ on my lips”. Alice’s condition might render her vulnerable, but she possesses a calm strength. “i never wanted to hide. hiding is what people do when they are afraid or ashamed. i was neither.” And, “if we let cowards stop us living the way we want to, we let them win.” Alice Nightingale won't let them win, especially not with Joey, Manny and friend Tilda on her side. ~ Joanne Owen A Note from the Publisher: Sad things happen in this book, but you will find yourself willing on Alice and Manny as they rejoice in the beauty of the world and work out how to take their places in it. Their story confronts identity and belonging and demonstrates the power of love, family and friendship.
Glenda Millard’s Kingdom of Silk books have won many awards in her native Australia, and no wonder: there are very few books, for children or adults, which describe love so clearly or so lyrically. There are seven books in the series, The Tender Moments of Saffron Silk is number six, and it is definitely worth reading them all, and in order, to really get to know the Silks. They are an uncommon lot: the rest of the world might see them as eccentric, even weird, that doesn’t bother them at all. Parents Ben and Annie have five daughters (‘the Rainbow Girls’), a son named Griffin and an adopted son, Perry Angel, who joins the family midway through the series. Nell is ‘the tiny bit magic’ grandmother, and Layla, Griffin’s best friend, understands them so well she ‘might as well be a Silk’. They live on a beautiful plot of land in the Australian countryside, and Millard evokes the sense of place beautifully. Each book describes a different event in their lives, but the emphasis is always on themes of love, friendship and belonging. In The Tender Moments of Saffron Silk, Saffron, the youngest and most dreamy of the Rainbow Girls isn’t well. She has terrible headaches, accompanied by blinding lights she thinks of as firebirds. The Silks have already lost one daughter, baby Tishkin, and everyone is scared for Saffron. Little Perry is the one to realise just how frightened Saffron herself is though, and to work out what special help she needs. Everything ends well, and a small Silk miracle takes place at the hospital. Millard has a light touch and avoids sentimentality, this is another beautiful and affecting read. ~ Andrea Reece Book 6 in the Kingdom of Silk series. A Piece of Passion from editor Emma Langley The fact that it took over 10 years for these books to be published in the UK is a huge slander against our publishing industry. I – with many Australian family – was perhaps more predisposed to a series set in rural Australia, and revolving around the Silk Family of five daughters, two sons (one adopted), two parents a fairygrandmother and various friends and pets. Because, these books are stories of families and friendship; about kindness and goodness in the world; and crafted out of the most extraordinarily beautiful writing. Frankly, no one can write about families and friendship quite like Glenda Millard can. And yes, these books do tug at the heartstrings, but they do so with great sensitivity and without ever becoming overly sentimental. The stories, the characters and the evocatively realised setting will stay with you a long time after you’ve turned the last page, which is lucky, because Cameron’s Creek is a place to which every reader will want to return. There are some lovely recipes included within this book - you can find 2 here to download - Golden Dumplings and Armenian Love Cake!
The first book in the Kingdom of Silk series. Griffin has a secret in his heart that nobody else knows - until he meets Layla., a princess with a daisy-chain crown. Once I had read the book, I was utterly smitten. I could not get hold of the rest of the series quickly enough PLAYING BY THE BOOK.
'i am the small green pea, you are the tender pod, hold me...' Glenda Millard's beautiful lullaby words sing over the stunning illustration as we watch a mother and baby, a boy and a dog run for their lives. A polar bear, too has come adrift. When will they find land? Who will welcome them in? In all the wide world we each need a safe place to call home.
We are all in this world together - I, you, we. A glorious, heartfelt picture book about being there for one another from award-winning creators Glenda Millard and Stephen Michael King. 'I am the small green pea, you are the tender pod, hold me...' A mother and baby, a boy and a dog run for their lives. A polar bear, too, has come adrift. When will they find land? Who will welcome them in? In all the wide world we each need a safe place to call home. Words sing over the pictures in this evocative story: a beautiful lullaby about what we can be for each other.
Alice is fifteen, with hair as red as fire and skin as pale as bone, but something inside her is broken. She has a brain injury, the result of an assault. Manny was once a child soldier. He is sixteen and has lost all his family. When Manny first sees Alice, she is sitting on the rusty roof of her river house, looking like a carving on an old-fashioned ship, sailing through the stars. He has a poem in his pocket and he knows the words by heart. And he is sure that girl has written them. When Manny and Alice meet they find the beginnings of love and healing.
In the sorry land of Dark, Peterboy searches for something wonderful to make the light shine again in his Grandpapa's eyes. Instead he finds a wounded duck, and Grandpapa mends her from top to tail; quack, waddle and wing. In return she cosies his toes. But ducks live for the feel of wind in their wings, and the day comes when Peterboy must make a fine and fitting fare-thee-well for Idaduck. The children wear their candle-hats to light her way. Grandpapa plays oompapas on his curly brass tootle, and the Darklings' farewell goes all night, until the sun rises on the most wonderful day.
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