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Moving and engrossing story about a particularly poignant time in history and about the universal concerns of young people growing up
Winner of the Costa Children's Book Award 2018 | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month October 2018 |One of our 2018 Books of the Year
Award winning Hilary McKay tells a captivating and deeply moving story of three young people growing up in the years before and during World War One. How their lives were totally changed by the War, how what really happened to the soldiers could never be talked about and how a girl like Clarry suddenly had opportunities because of the war are all touched on in a story that is also about universal adolescent relationships and the timeless concerns of being a teenager. Following their mother’s death at her birth, Clarry and her older brother Peter live a joyless life with their gloomy father. The pair live for their summer holidays in Cornwall with their grandparents which they share with their older cousin Rupert. Here, the trio are free to be themselves and to begin to break away from the constraints of family expectations. When war is declared Rupert enlists: his family is horrified and Clarry and Peter are left trying to work out where he might be, how they themselves should react to the war and, above all, whether Rupert is safe. Hilary McKay has a rare gift for novels about families and their interplay. Here, she weaves her story round one of the most powerful backdrops in history. And she does so with the lightest of touch which makes her history come alive.
The Costa Judges said: ‘Chime, resonance and sparkle – a truly great read.’
Julia Eccleshare's Picks for October 2018:
A Dangerous Game by Malorie Blackman
Uncle Gobb and the Plot Plot by Michael Rosen
Hampstead the Hamster by Michael Rosen
Pick A Pine Tree by Patricia Toht
Stubby: A True Story of Friendship by Michael Foreman
The Antlered Ship by Dashka Slater
All the Way Home by Debi Gliori
Snow in the Garden by Shirley Hughes
The Skylark's War by Hilary McKay
Race to the Frozen North The Matthew Henson Story by Catherine Johnson
The Skylarks' War is a beautiful story following the loves and losses of a family growing up against the harsh backdrop of World War One, from the award-winning Hilary McKay.
Clarry and her older brother Peter live for their summers in Cornwall, staying with their grandparents and running free with their charismatic cousin, Rupert. But normal life resumes each September - boarding school for Peter and Rupert, and a boring life for Clarry at home with her absent father, as the shadow of a terrible war looms ever closer. When Rupert goes off to fight at the front, Clarry feels their skylark summers are finally slipping away from them. Can their family survive this fearful war?
The Skylarks’ War is a book like no other: A snapshot of the early 20th century as the First World War approaches and a coming of age novel as we follow these three children through their idyllic summers and the harsh realities of conflict, absence, war and death. This is a classic in the making and one which will be read by children and adults alike for many decades to come.
...a family book, like those of Noel Streatfeild or R F Delderfield... I find it hard to imagine anyone not enjoying it. You will smile, and you will cry... You will recognise yourself and your friends -- Adele Geras McKay couples warmth and grace with wry humour like nobody else out there -- Katherine Rundell The Guardian
Hilary McKay's novel is about love as much as war: the effect on children of being deprived of it and the beneficial results on adults of its persistence. McKay is incapable of writing an uninteresting character or a dull scene... I loved it. Mary Hoffman
I thoroughly loved The Skylarks War. The story is at once intimate and sweeping, with Clarry the shining heart of it all . -- Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, author of The War That Saved My Life
What a brilliant book. I laughed, I blubbed. The painful jolt of the Great War to one family carefully told. Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust
Winning as ever, with an overall Secret Garden feel Kirkus Reviews
I laughed, I cried and I wanted all the characters to be my best friend Natasha Farrant
One of my favourite books of the year, this is McKay at her absolute finest. -- Fiona Noble Bookseller Children's Buyer Guide, Highlights of the Season
Hilary McKay is a genius. This beautiful book is so many things simultaneously: complex and subtle, beautiful and raw, timely and timeless. I never wanted it to end. -- Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock, Carnegie-shortlisted author of The Smell of Other People's Houses
The Skylarks War is bloody brilliant, the kind of classic that rings with beauty and conviction and heart -stopping emotion. Not read a novel this good since Eva Ibbotson died. -- Amanda Craig
Hilary McKay is surely the heir to Mary Wesley. The Skylarks War is just lovely. -- Charlotte Eyre, The Bookseller
This is McKay at her finest, all the heart and warmth of the Casson family books - with a touch of the Cazalets. It's both a thrilling family adventure and a truthful, heart-breaking examination of the impact of war... [an] exceptional historical novel. -- Fiona Noble Bookseller, Children's Book of the Month
This book is agony and ecstasy, and never have I read such a human and accessible account of World War I. Vivid, hilarious, and heartbreaking, Hilary McKay's radiant characters touch my heart like real people, friends and loved ones I know well. Possibly the finest writer of our time. -- Elizabeth Wein, New York Times-bestselling author of Code Name Verity and The Pearl Thief
|Publication date:||20th September 2018|
|Publisher:||Macmillan Children's Books an imprint of Pan Macmillan|
|Year Groups:||Key Stage 3|
Hilary McKay won the Costa Children's Book Award for The Skylarks' War, the Guardian Fiction Prize for The Exiles, and the Smarties and the Whitbread Award for The Exiles in Love and Saffy's Angel respectively. Hilary McKay's Fairy Tales was her first book with Macmillan Children's Books and is a critically acclaimed collection of clever retellings. You can read her character Rose Casson's blog by clicking here - and Rose's tweets on the right hand side of this page. Q & A with Hilary McKayWhat is your earliest childhood memory?Watching steam trains with my grandfather. He died before I ...More About Hilary McKay