Highlighting 20 Great Michael Morpurgo stories: a chance to explore some of Michael Morpurgo’s most fascinating characters and stories, split into themes close to the author’s heart: War, Journeys, Legends and Animals.
Award-winning author and illustrator duo Michael Morpurgo and Michael Foreman have created a touching story about the way lives become entangled during conflict and how, unexpectedly, those ties can lead to enduring friendship. When Alex and her little brother Charlie met two old men on the beach they hear the unusual story of how their friendship developed despite fighting on opposing sides and how their past links to their own mother’s childhood. ~ Julia Eccleshare
Michael Morpurgo’s tender story of Joey, a brave hearted farm horse who finds himself caught up in the horrors of war, cleverly conveys both the violence and the occasional compassion, which occurs during conflict. A classic story of animal courage and bravery. ~ Julia Eccleshare *** There is a stunning new hardback edition of War Horse, beautifully illustrated by Rae Smith, the stage designer of the epic theatre production. Click here to find out more.
Shortlisted for the Blue Peter Best Book of the Decade & One of our 'Must Reads'. It will seem odd when reading this book that the author enjoyed writing it the most of all the 90 or so he has written so far. That’s because it’s the one that most touched a nerve with him, that he was most passionate about and as a consequence he lost himself completely in it while writing. The story of a young farm boy who took on the nightmare of the trenches in the first world war is essential reading not just for a child starting out in life but for parents of any age. It’s a brilliant story about childhood, about growing up too young, it’s about loss and friendships and love and war. The author’s anger at the appalling treatment of young men in the story is clear and the hope is that the British government will realise their wrong-doing and pardon ALL those young men whose story this was written for.
Shortlisted for the Blue Peter Award category, ‘the book I couldn’t put down’ The Story of Adolphus Tips is told in a diary. It tells the story of one brave cat and movingly brings to life a true story of how a whole community got caught up in the Second World War. Adolphus Tips is no ordinary cat. When the village of Slapton is evacuated, Lily and her family move to her uncle’s farm for safety. Lily intends to take Adolphus Tips too. But Tips is nowhere to be found. How Tips survives the terror when the beach is given over to training soldiers is a thrilling story. How Lily braves the guns and bombs to search for Tips and meets some extra-special US soldiers is full of warmth and insight. ~ Julia Eccleshare
A touching and tender story about an unusual childhood. Arthur is shipped off to Australia as a six year old orphan during World War Two. He suffers physical and emotional hardship as well as some rarer moments of kindness and compassion during a roller coaster of a childhood which he narrates simply and without being too judgemental. Unsurprisingly, his adult life is chaotic and only his love of the sailing holds him together and which ultimately links him up with his long lost sister.
Shortlisted for Children’s Book Award 2016, Books for Older Readers category - September 2015 Book of the Month A beautiful and captivating tour de force of family, love, war and forgiveness, this is a major new novel from the author of War Horse and Private Peaceful, Michael Morpurgo and is set in World War One on the Isles of Scilly. A tale in which things that were lost may still wash up, once again, on the shore. As ever with Michael it is always a story of family and stories. Shortlisted for the Costa Children's Book Award 2014 The Costa Judges described Morpurgo's novel, which begins in May 1915, as "a captivating, utterly transporting war novel that lives on powerfully in the memory". A Note from the Michael Morpurgo “There was once in our family a hideous medal, commemorating the sinking of the Lusitania in May of 1915. On one side, if I remember rightly, there was the ship going down, on the other a skeleton, selling tickets to the passengers. The medal has long since vanished, but ever since those two images stayed with me. I learned later that the ship was torpedoed by a German U Boat, 12 miles off Kinsale, in the south of Ireland. It was at the time the greatest single wartime civilian disaster in history. I discovered too that three hours or so after the sinking, the grand piano from the dining saloon of this luxurious liner was found floating on the ocean, in some reports, with a child still clinging on. That was my inspiration for Listen to the Moon. It is a story of love and loss, of family and community fractured by war, of the power of hope, and above all of the will of the human spirit to survive.” A Piece of Passion from Pubisher, Ann-Janine Murtagh “Michael Morpurgo is simply the Master of British Storytelling and I feel privileged to have published many wonderful Michael Morpurgo novels over the years but when I first read Listen to the Moon I fell in love with his writing all over again and as if for the first time. It is a supremely beautiful book from a storyteller at the very height of his powers and a testament to the transforming power of storytelling itself. Listen to the Moon is just perfect. We are hugely proud to be publishing it on the HarperCollins Children’s list this Autumn’.
As the best-selling War Horse demonstrates, award winning Michael Morpurgo writes about both animals and war with exceptional flair. In this passionate and touching story, the interlinked fortunes of an Afghan boy and the dog who helped him to escape from his war torn country and find sanctuary in the UK is full of emotion and tension. Now in detention in the UK and facing deportation with his mother, despite having lived safely in the UK for six years, Aman tells his desperate story to his friend Matt’s grandpa. Sensing the injustice of it all, Grandpa campaigns furiously to ensure Aman and his mother a secure future. ~ Julia Eccleshare
Award-winning Michael Morpurgo packs a tremendous emotional punch in this deeply moving story about growing up. When Olly’s brother Matt goes to Africa to help in a war-torn zone she is left in charge of the swallows which nest every year in the family’s barn. As Olly waits for news from Matt she watches over the birds as they prepare to fly away for the winter. Matt’s story, including his bravery and courage, Olly’s story and the story of Hero, the swallow who makes the long journey and survives are skilfully woven together to make a sensitive story that is full of insights about what growing up feels like. ~ Julia Eccleshare
Michael Morpurgo’s name is almost synonymous with the little islands off the toe of Cornwall called The Isles of Scilly for a considerable number of his books are set there. The Wreck of the Zanzibar is no exception. Here the author, through a 14 year old girl called Laura, takes you back in time to the turn of the 20th century. It’s 1907 and through Laura’s diary we gather that life for everyone including Laura’s family is very tough on the island of Bryher. First Laura’s twin brother disappears and hardship is joined by heart ache, the milking cows die, a storm devastates everything, they’re starving to death and then a ship called the Zanzibar is wrecked. The story of how all the lives of those aboard including Laura’s long lost brother are saved on that night by the people of Bryher is tear-jerking stuff but it turns out the wreck is also the saviour of the people of Bryher. No wonder Michael Morpurgo is considered THE master storyteller for children.
A wonderfully emotional but heart-warming tale from the pen of one of the foremost writers for children. Brilliantly interwoven in historical fact at the time of the sinking of the Titanic is the story of Kaspar the Savoy cat, who we also discover is a survivor of the sinking of the Titanic. The story is utterly compelling and brought to life still further by some really dreamy illustrations by Michael Foreman. A story to read aloud during those cold wintry evenings as much as a story to cuddle up with alone. Wonderful.
Michael Morpurgo has created a fresh version of the classic story of Pinocchio, the wooden puppet with a terrible habit of telling lies who comes alive and has some incredible adventures. Here, Pinocchio tells his own story which, in his own words, he describes as ‘a roller coaster of danger and disaster, mistakes and misery, hope and happiness”. And this is not one of Pinocchio’s lies! Bouncing from one adventure to another Pinocchio certainly tells a story that more than lives up to his description of it! Emma Chichester Clarke’s illustrations breathe vibrant live into the lively hero and the wonderful cast of friends he meets long the way.
A vivid re-telling of the story of the great French heroine Joan of Arc which weaves together the hopes and aspirations of a contemporary French girl with the stirring story from the past. Inspired by a picture at home, Eloise has always loved the thought of the brave and determined Joan. When her family move to Orleans Eloise gazes up at the site of the English fort which Joan stormed. Like her heroine, Eloise befriends a sparrow and soon the true story of Joan unfolds. Award-winning Michael Morpurgo is moving and compelling in this retelling which was originally published as Joan of Arc. ~ Julia Eccleshare
Robin Hood is one of the most popular characters of English folk legend and Michael Morpurgo paints a suitably romantic and heroic picture of him in this lively story. Following a big storm, a young boy in the present sets out to check on the survival of his favourite tree. When he finds a mysterious skull he is swept back into the past – right into the world of Robin Hood and his merry band of outlaws. Michael Morpurgo brings the life of the forest alive as Robin and his men fight for justice for the oppressed against the tyrannical Sheriff of Nottingham. ~ Julia Eccleshare
This fantastic tale interweaves the story of a blind boy who lives on the Scilly Isles, with the myth and truth of King Arthur, Michael Morpurgo takes the reader deep inside the mind of a boy who seems ordinary but is really anything but. The story is told by the boy, Bun, in the first person, as his own true story that becomes a story from his imagination about discovering a very special sword and shield in a tomb on his father's farm.
Interest Age 7-12 Reading Age 8+ | When Christine finds an abandoned fox club she cares for it herself. But can she keep it secret from her Dad? This is a wonderfully touching and beautifully crafted story about growing up and learning about real life from one of our best-loved authors.
Winner of the Independent Booksellers' Prize 2010. Prize-winning author Michael Morpurgo’s new novel is a towering adventure and emotional roller coaster set at the time of a great tsunami. Trying to get over his father’s death, Will and his mother travel to Indonesia for a trip of a life time. For his Christmas present, Will is given a ride on an elephant. Elephants are his favourite animals and when Will sets off on Oona’s back he feels like a king. But then Oona begins to act strangely and soon she and Will are fighting for their lives as the great tsunami comes crashing in. ~ Julia Eccleshare
The inspiring magic of a white lion brings friendship and hope to a lonely ten year old. Miserable at his boarding school, Bertie runs away. He is rescued by a kind old lady who tells him of how another Bertie, a little boy from a long time before, saved an orphaned lion cub in Africa. The symbol of the white lion becomes an emblem of hope as well as a link across generations. Michael Morpurgo is skilful in weaving together magical and real stories. ~ Julia Eccleshare The Lovereading view: One of our 'Must Reads'. We're told by the author that The Butterfly Lion grew from several magical roots: the memories of a small boy who tried to run away from school a long time ago; a book about a pride of white lions discovered by Chris McBride; a chance meeting in a lift with Virginia McKenna, actress and champion of lions and all creatures born free; a true story of a soldier of the First World War who rescued some circus animals in France from certain death; and the sighting from a train of a white horse carved out on a chalky hillside near Westbury in Wiltshire. A book to savour and to read and re-read time and time again. The whole family will be enthralled by its powerful and gripping story and will weep and cheer by turns.
A terrific page-turner set during World War One in which two children befriend a man who lives alone on an island in the Isles of Scilly. As their friendship develops he tells the children of a dreaded curse that has afflicted a nearby island. Determined to find out more and to lift the curse it becomes a race against time and against all the other inahbitants of the Isles of Scilly for the children to prevent the curse from striking again. The author's ability to interweave fact and fiction into an empowering adventure is second to none.
Once again the former Children’s Laureate, Michael Morpurgo, weaves an intensely moving story about an extraordinary animal caught up in a very human war. It’s World War Two in Germany, the animals in Dresden Zoo are to be killed because of the bombing but Elizabeth's mother who works there decides to save a young elephant and keep it in her garden. When her house is bombed she and her children and Marlene the elephant must escape the bombings and the Russians. It’s utterly compelling and like Michael’s other animal stories such as Adolphus Tips, Kaspar the Cat, The Butterfly Lion and Where the Whales Came, it is not to be missed.
Michael Morpurgo - Storytelling Genius
Highlighting 20 Great Reads...
2016 is the 40th anniversary of Farms for City Children, the charity founded by Clare and Michael Morpurgo in 1976, and there will be events up and down the country. To join in the start of these celebrations we are, each week during March celebrating a different theme of Michael's writing with these specially selected books:
WAR - Private Peaceful, The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips, War Horse, Little Manfred, Listen to the Moon.
JOURNEYS - Kensuke’s Kingdom, Dear Olly, Alone on a Wide Wide Sea, Kaspar Prince of Cats, The Wreck of the Zanzibar.
LEGENDS - Outlaw, Pinocchio, The Sleeping Sword, Beowulf, Sparrow.
ANIMALS - Born to Run, Butterfly Lion, Running Wild, An Elephant in the Garden, Why the Whales Came.
We have asked our readers to review many of the books to feature during Michael Morpurgo month - you can download all their reviews here.
To find out more about Michael Morpurgo Month see his Facebook page or the Twitter hashtag #MorpurgoMonth. Or visit wwww.MichaelMorpurgo.com for exclusive videos and downloads and the chance to win signed copies of the books, an iPad and even a school visit from Michael himself!
Michael Morpurgo is one of the UK’s best-loved authors and storytellers.
He was appointed Children’s Laureate in May 2003, a post he helped to set up with his friend Ted Hughes in 1999.
He was awarded an OBE for services to Literature in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2007. He has written over 120 books. Michael travels all over the UK and abroad talking to children and telling his stories and encouraging them to tell theirs.
A message from Michael Morpurgo on the 40th anniversary:
"All those years ago Clare and I arrived in Devon and with the money left to her by her father Allen Lane we bought a farm and rather idealistically set up a charity. Working with the teachers and with the neighbouring farmers, we pioneered a programme of work designed to extend children in every way possible out on the farm – physically, mentally, emotionally and intellectually. It is hard work, real work, and the children know their work is essential and important, that it matters to the animals, to the farm, that it simply matters. They matter. Who knows what effect this has had long term? I hope some of these children will have treasured their time on the farm for the rest of their lives, that as parents themselves now they will remember and pass on the stories of their time in the countryside, on the farm.”
The anniversary year for Farms for City Children will include the launch in early April of Love Mud#LearnWild, a campaign in association with the outdoor children’s clothing company Muddy Puddles to make learning outdoors and interaction with nature an integral part of education.
There will be alumni events at all three farms and the Exetreme Imagination Literature festival in association with Farms for City Children in Exeter in October with the theme of the ‘environment’. As part of the celebrations for 2016, Walker Books will publish a new story by Michael Morpurgo in aid of FFCC, inspired by the true story of a boy who visited the farm, Didn’t We Have a Lovely Time. This will be illustrated by Quentin Blake, Vice President of Farms for City Children.
During this 40th anniversary year, Farms for City Children is also asking former pupils and teachers who visited the farm with their schools to get in touch via the charity’s digital channels to pass on their stories of their time on the farm using the hashtag - #farmersforaweek.
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