David Almond’s first book for young people is Skellig, which was written in the late 1990s. I missed this when it first came out, but recently picked it up. It wasn’t “edge of your seat” thrilling, but instead sweet and magical. I kept turning pages to see what would happen next.
Michael has experienced a lot of stressful changes. His sister was born prematurely. Although she was released from the hospital, she isn’t doing well at home. Everyone is worried about her health, which doesn’t leave a lot of time for Michael. Additionally the family has recently moved to a new house, which needs a lot of work. Once his dad gets a chance to get the rooms painted and the garden cleaned up, it should be great for their growing family. But now… all Michael can think about is how far away he is from his friends.
One of the features of the property is a dilapidated garage that Michael is not supposed to go near for fear it will collapse—but of course, he does. There he discovers a strange-looking old man hiding behind a tea chest in the corner. Michael is scared, but instead of telling an adult about his discovery, he goes back a second time to get a better look. Then a third time to bring the man food and aspirin. At last he decides to confide in his neighbor, Mina, and brings her to meet Skellig.
As Michael’s sister returns to the hospital for another surgery, he and Mina move Skellig to a safer place. They agree that he is an extraordinary being, but is he a man, angel, owl or ghost? And is there any chance he can save Michael’s sister?
According to the reviews, this book is for children ages 8 and up, but I found it a great story about friendship for all ages. Mina is wise beyond her years and the lessons in the book will stick with me for a long time.
Check the WRL catalog for Skellig
Almond has recently released Mina’s story in My Name is Mina.