This October, delve deep into the magical worlds of David Almond’s Half a Creature from the Sea, a stunning collection of short stories from the Carnegie Medal-winning author of Skellig. Inspired by his Tyneside childhood, these eight moving and mystical tales allow you to imagine the North East as never before. Durham Book Festival 2017 will see people across of County Durham reading Half a Creature from the Sea and celebrating the work of this master storyteller.
A perfect crossover collection for children and adults, this charming book brings together different characters – whether they be mysterious sea creatures, poltergeists, or Newcastle United footballers – to share in the same story. In this spirit of sharing stories, we are distributing 3,000 copies of Half a Creature from the Sea to schools, libraries, prisons, businesses, and to university staff and students across Durham.
Much like Almond’s award-winning book Skellig, Half a Creature from the Sea seamlessly weaves fantasy with entirely human stories. The magical elements of these tales are captivating, yet it is what they reveal about the narrators, in most cases ordinary-seeming children from the North East, that is so special. A young boy from Felling encounters a poltergeist, a fragile girl from a seaside town uncovers the mystery of her past, and is there really a monster in May Malone’s house?
Set in familiar locations around the region, this collection shows that even the most ordinary places can create extraordinary stories. The framing of these tales with David Almond’s own anecdotes about what inspired them reveals pride in his North Eastern roots, and in the northern, often working class, lives that he writes about.
The Big Read in Durham Libraries
Library users all over County Durham will be sharing this magical book this Autumn. We will be distributing FREE copies of Half a Creature from the Sea to readers and holding book group meetings to discuss its themes. The prison library service will be sharing the book too.
Participating libraries are: Annfield Plain, Barnard Castle, Belmont, Blackhall, Brandon, Chester-le-Street, Chilton, Consett, Cornforth, Crook, Durham Clayport, Ferryhill, Horden, Lanchester, Langley Park, Newton Aycliffe, Newton Hall, Peterlee, Sacriston, Sedgefield, Shildon, South Moor, Stanley, Willington and Wolsingham. Get in touch with your nearest branch for more details.
On Tuesday 26 September at 2.30pm, we will be hosting a special free library book group summit meeting at Spennymoor Library and inviting members from all the library book groups to join together for a discussion. There is no need to book for this event.
The Other Half
Taking a leaf from David Almond’s Half a Creature from the Sea, the community of East Durham were invited to share their own stories of childhood. Three have been committed to film in the authors’ own words.
If you’d like to use Half a Creature from the Sea in your classroom, here are some specially produced teaching ideas for you to use: