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Counting Stars
Cover of Counting Stars
Counting Stars
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David Almond's extraordinary novels have established him as an author of unique insight and skill. These stories encapsulate his endless sense of mystery and wonderment, as they weave a tangible tapestry of growing up in a large, loving family. Here are the kernels of his novels—joy and fear, darkness and light, the
healing power of love and imagination in overcoming the wounds of ignorance and prejudice. These stories merge memory and dream, the real and the imagined, in a collection of exquisite tenderness.
David Almond's extraordinary novels have established him as an author of unique insight and skill. These stories encapsulate his endless sense of mystery and wonderment, as they weave a tangible tapestry of growing up in a large, loving family. Here are the kernels of his novels—joy and fear, darkness and light, the
healing power of love and imagination in overcoming the wounds of ignorance and prejudice. These stories merge memory and dream, the real and the imagined, in a collection of exquisite tenderness.
Available formats-
  • OverDrive Read
  • EPUB eBook
Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
    4.5
  • Lexile:
    630
  • Interest Level:
    UG
  • Text Difficulty:
    7 - 12

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Excerpts-
  • From the book
    Introduction

    THESE STORIES ARE ABOUT MY CHILDHOOD. They're about the people I grew up with, our hopes and fears, our tragedies and joys. They explore a time that has disappeared and a place that has changed. They bring back those who have gone, and allow them to walk and speak again within the pages of a book. Like all stories, they merge memory and dream, the real and the imagined, truth and lies. And, perhaps like all stories, they are an attempt to reassemble what is fragmented, to rediscover what has been lost.

    The Middle of the World

    SHE STARTED WITH THE UNIVERSE. Then she wrote The Galaxy, The Solar System, The Earth, Europe, England, Felling, Our House, The Kitchen, The White Chair With A Hundred Holes Like Stars, then her name, Margaret, and she paused.

    "What's in the middle of me?" she asked.

    "Your heart," said Mary.

    She wrote My Heart.

    "In the middle of that?"

    "Your soul," said Catherine.

    She wrote My Soul.

    Mam reached down and lifted the front of Margaret's T-shirt and prodded her navel.

    "That's where your middle is," she said. "That's where you were part of me."

    Margaret drew a row of stick figures, then drew concentric rings growing out from each of them.

    "Where's the real middle of the world?" she said.

    "They used to think the Mediterranean," said Catherine. "Medi means middle. Terra means world. The sea at the middle of the world."

    Margaret drew a blue sea with a green earth around it.

    "There was another sea at the edges," said Catherine. "It was filled with monsters and it went right to the end of the world. If you got that far, you just fell off."

    Margaret drew this sea. She put fangs and fins for monsters.

    "There's no end, really, is there?" she said.

    "No," said Catherine.

    "And there's no middle, is there?"

    Catherine laughed.

    "Not really."

    Mam prodded Margaret's navel again.

    "That's the middle of the world," she said.

    * * *

    Later that day we went to the grave. Colin rushed home from Reyrolle's on his Vespa for lunch. He bolted his food and rattled away again. We heard the scooter taking him on to Felling Bank and down toward the square.

    When it faded, Mary said,

    "Should we go to the grave today?"

    We hadn't been for months. We thought of the dead being in Heaven rather than being in the earth.

    "Good idea," said Mam. "I'll make some bara brith for when you get home."

    We were on the rocky path at the foot of the street when Dandy ran after us. He was a little black poodle that was never clipped and had horrible breath.

    "Go home!" said Mary. "Dandy, go home!"

    He yapped and growled and whined.

    "Dandy, go home!"

    No good. We just had to let him trot along beside us.

    Margaret fiddled with her navel as she walked.

    "When I started," she said, "what was I like?"

    "What do you think you were like?" said Mary. "Like a gorilla? You were very very very little. You were that little, you couldn't even be seen. You were that little, nobody even knew you were blinkin there!"

    "Daft dog," said Catherine, as Dandy ran madly through a clump of foxgloves and jumped at bees.

About the Author-
  • "I grew up in a big extended Catholic family [in the north of England]. I listened to the stories and songs at family parties. I listened to the gossip that filled Dragone's coffee shop.
    I ran with my friends through the open spaces and the narrow lanes. We scared each other with ghost stories told in fragile tents on dark nights. We promised never-ending friendship and whispered of the amazing journeys we'd take together.
    I sat with my grandfather in his allotment, held tiny Easter chicks in my hands while he smoked his pipe and the factory sirens wailed and larks yelled high above. I trembled at the images presented to us in church, at the awful threats and glorious promises made by black-clad priests with Irish voices. I scribbled stories and stitched them into little books. I disliked school and loved the library, a little square building in which I dreamed that books with my name on them would stand one day on the shelves.
    Skellig, my first children's novel, came out of the blue, as if it had been waiting a long time to be told. It seemed to write itself. It took six months, was rapidly taken by Hodder Children's Books and has changed my life. By the time Skellig came out, I'd written my next children's novel, Kit's Wilderness. These books are suffused with the landscape and spirit of my own childhood. By looking back into the past, by re-imagining it and blending it with what I see around me now, I found a way to move forward and to become something that I am intensely happy to be: a writer for children."
    David Almond is the winner of the 2001 Michael L. Printz Award for Kit's Wilderness, which has also been named best book of the year by School Library Journal, Booklist, and Publishers Weekly. He has been called "the foremost practitioner in children's literature of magical realism." (Booklist) His first book for young readers, Skellig, is a Printz Honor winner. David Almond lives with his family in Newcastle, England.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    November 17, 2003
    "In this evocative collection of autobiographical vignettes," wrote PW
    in a starred review, "readers can trace connecting threads between Almond's published works and his childhood experience as a sensitive, pensive English child preoccupied by the mysteries of religion, death and immortality." Ages 12-up.

Title Information+
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    Random House Children's Books
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Counting Stars
David Almond
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