can be difficult, but sometimes it really does feel like a kind
of magic. I think that stories are living things among the
most important things in the world."
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.
His first book for young readers, Skellig, is a Printz Honor
Note from the Author
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."