Longlisted for the Steel City Bookclub Awards 2020
Endorsed by Amnesty International
Feb 16, 2023
By Sita Brahmachari
Illustrated by Jane Ray
A story that beautifully weaves together themes of bereavement, identity and hope, alongside the traditional selkie legend.
Ten-year-old Isla has moved from Edinburgh to the Orkney Islands with her parents, to start a new life after the death of Isla's beloved young brother. Isla's mother's family is from Orkney and her father's is from Africa, and she finds island life is very different to her former city home. Her discovery of the old Orcadian legend about the selkies, half human, half seal people, becomes the key to adjustment and acceptance.
Many strands are woven into this deceptively simple story – loss and discovery, legend and reality, the pleasures and problems of settling into a new place, the need to make new friends, the coming to terms with sadness. Jane Ray's illustrations capture the beauty of the island landscape and integrate it perfectly with the atmosphere and rich texture of the storytelling.
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"A dreamy, lyrical meditation on death, family and finding comfort in nature in which Brahmachari uses folklore to explore how letting go is not the same as saying goodbye."
Children's Books Ireland
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Sita Brahmachari is the highly acclaimed author of Artichoke Hearts which won the Waterstone's Children's Book Prize 2011, was chosen for The Book Trust's Booked Up scheme, nominated for the Carnegie Prize 2012 and also included in the Guardian's top 50 diverse books. Her second novel Jasmine Skies was nominated for the Carnegie Prize 2013 . Kite Spirit has been recorded in audio form by actress Juliet Stevenson and was nominated for the UKLA Book Award, and Red Leaves was chosen as one of Book Trust's top reads in 2015 and endorsed by Amnesty International. Sita Brahmachari lives in London.
Jane Ray's distinctive style has established her as a highly successful artist. Best known as an illustrator and author of picture books for children, her work has attracted enormous attention around the world. She has been shortlisted five times for the prestigious Kate Greenaway Medal. Among her many highly acclaimed titles include Ahmed and the Feather Girl; Greek Myths: Stories of Sun, Stone and Sea and Zeraffa Giraffa. Jane Ray lives in London.