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Written by Ally Kennen

Featured Books for 9+ readers

LoveReading View on Sparks

The best kind of headlong, page turning adventure, Sparks races along at breakneck speed as three children set abut the audacious task of fulfilling their grandfather’s dreams by giving him a Viking funeral! Hilariously funny and also full of deeply felt emotions around the death of a much loved grandparent. How Carla organises her young siblings and a gang of friends whom she hijacks from the local carnival so that she can carry out the outrageous plot and set her grandfather’s body out to sea is a fantastical and fantastic story.


Sparks Synopsis

When Carla's beloved Grandpa dies, she is inconsolable. Then she finds a secret letter, and decides to give him the end he always wanted. A Viking funeral, in a burning boat heading out to sea. Carla and her siblings set out on a crazy and dangerous race against time to achieve the impossible. Sparks is a dark, funny and moving story about love, death, sailing and coffin-stealing from a very popular, original and award-winning children's writer. Ally Kennan is the acclaimed author of teen novels Beast , Berserk , and Bedlam . Sparks is her first book for readers of 9 and up.

Sparks Press Reviews

'Kennen is a natural for this age group, creating characters that feel like flesh and blood people (even the corpse has a personality) and seasoning the story with a pitch-perfect blend of humour, adventure and emotion.' The Telegraph


Review of ‘Sparks’ by Books for Keeps [5 stars]


This quirky little gem of a book, with its intriguing subtitle ‘How to give Grandpa a Viking funeral’ perfectly illustrates the maxim that anything is possible with sufficient determination and resourcefulness. The most powerful motivation behind this particular triumph is Carla’s love for her Grandpa Magnus, who left her a letter telling her of his secret dream of a Viking funeral and made her feel she could do ‘this amazing thing, but not on her own’. The odds seem stacked against her – she’s only a child, she must break the law, she must work in secret as her mother, ragged with grief, is determined to organise a conventional, staid funeral for her father.


What follows is a touching story, rooted in realism, fraught with moral dilemmas and physical hardship, but one which gradually brings together all those who loved and respected Magnus and were determined that his send-off should have nothing to do with sterile convention but everything to do with honouring a man’s last and deepest desire. Carla is guided by her Grandpa’s voice, which never leaves her and the final chapter unites Grandpa’s friends and family in an act of homage and a knowledge that ultimately, what really matters is the connection between people, not the laws which seek to manage them.   

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781407145600
Publication date: 07/05/2015
Publisher: Scholastic Press an imprint of Scholastic
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781407145600
Publication date: 05/04/2010
Publisher: Marion Lloyd Books an imprint of Scholastic
Format: Paperback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781407145600
Publication date: 7th May 2015
Author: Ally Kennen
Publisher: Scholastic Press an imprint of Scholastic
Format: Paperback
Suitable for: 9+ readers

About Ally Kennen

Ally Kennen comes from a proud lineage of bare-knuckle boxers, country vicars and French aristocracy.  She grew up in an isolated farm on Exmoor, with no flushing toilet, dead tadpoles in the taps, and annual rat infestations.  The farm was a foster home to many children and teenagers. Ally has worked as a classroom assistant, nursery nurse, museum guard and archaeologist. She is also a professional singer. Ally lives in Somerset with her husband, small daughter, smaller son and baby four chickens and a curmudgeonly cat. No woman has ever beaten Ally in an arm wrestle.   In ...

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