by David Almond, published 2000
“I put my hand beneath his should to steady him. I felt something there, something held in my his jacket. I reached across his back and felt something beneath his other shoulder as well. Like thin arms, folded up.”
A beautiful and lyrical children’s book that honestly, goes best with it’s prequel, My Name is Mina. Together, the two books create a world where two children understand the possibilities of imagination and life. Paraphrasing William Blake, they see angels, but not in a dream.
One reason I like this book read with My Name is Mina is because you get a fuller perspective. Skellig is all first-person through Michael’s eyes, and he is just beginning to fly, so to speak. Whereas Mina has been freed from the institutional confines of school, and she is ready for any miracle life presents. Reading both books gives us a glimpse of where Michael too will eventually find his freedom.
By freedom I simply mean intellectual and emotional freedom to think and feel and do as one is impelled to, rather than to keep up the false appearances that one’s friends and acquaintances demand. I’m not speaking of anarchy, but simply the freedom to be.
Skellig paints a beautiful picture of family, friendship, fear, and hope, all packaged into a story of two very courageous and inquiring children, who may be an excellent model for breaking out of the mold. I think if Skellig were written today, the children would be like those who are now speaking up and taking on climate change. In other words, children who refused to be silenced. I hope many young people get to enjoy this children’s book and it’s prequel.