Lark - WINNER OF THE 2020 CARNEGIE MEDAL (The Truth of Things)
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An uncompromising and heartbreaking end to the story of Nicky and Kenny, the beloved brothers of the Carnegie shortlisted Rook, beautifully told in McGowan's gritty realism. The brothers set off on their adventure, with Kenny’s beloved Jack Russell Tina skipping at their heels. Because, you see, the cruel gods are stronger than the kind gods, and they will always beat them in the end.
They are stoical and unsentimental but for Nicky in particular, past events have caused anguish, and painful memories reach a climax in conjunction with the eddying storm. From innovative dyslexic-friendly publishers, Barrington Stoke, Lark is edited to a reading age of nine, and interest age of young teen.In 2008, McGowan published his first book for middle readers, Einstein's Underpants and How They Saved the World. Parents - please ask your children's schools to take the free training and empower Dyslexic Thinking today. How to Teach Philosophy to Your Dog: Exploring the Big Questions in Life by Anthony McGowan (review)". The wonderful shortlist for this year’s Carnegie Book Award included such luminous characters as a rapper, a drag artist, and a lighthouse keeper’s daughter.
I also loved that book and thought it would have been a worthy winner, but I’m particularly interested in Lark‘s win because its physical presentation marks something of a turning point in Barrington Stoke’s presentation of its books. In the case of that series, using photographs was part of a concerted effort to make the books appear more like typical mass market paperbacks, and to appeal to readers who might be more drawn to teenage magazines such as Jackie. This is the first hint that in this book the tables will be turned: while Nicky has always been the carer, in Lark it’s ultimately Kenny who has to care for his brother.We come to understand, by the end of the book, that Kenny too has cared for and protected Nicky; it’s not an unequal relationship but what Marah Gubar might term a ‘kinship’ relationship in which each brother contributes in different ways. It's the last in the series of four short books (Brock, Pike, and Rook come before it) about two brothers - Kenny (who has special needs) and Nicky. His Barrington Stoke titles include the Carnegie Medal shortlisted Rook and the 2020 Carnegie Medal winner Lark which the judges described as "a standalone masterpiece".
Kirkus Reviews said of it: "the author’s delight in unearthing the overlooked pain points of everyday life and laughing at them makes up for the fractured, willy-nilly nature of the narrative. He gives them a map and instructions on the buses they must take to get there, assuring the paths are well marked and it will be a good day trip. In thinking about the significance of this year’s Carnegie winner, I’ve thought a lot about issues of representation: the way Lark made me feel seen, and the questions around disability representation it raised for me. I understand the vernacular used was to mimic the speech of teenage boys, but when my son read 'dig up dead bodies to have it off with', he googled have it off with so he could understand the whole sentence. Taking their rescue dog Tina with them, Nicky plans to distract Kenny from the up and coming visit from their estranged mother through a little adventure on the moors.
The comical tale of a teenager who has died and gone to Hell was published in 2005 by Random House and was shortlisted for the Branford Boase Award. I was attracted by the blurb, the lovely creamy pages, the relatively short length and the wide set font - always a dream to read.
You guys are such a force for good and I am a passionate supporter of Indie booksellers, so I'm so happy this worked out well (I'd love to know how many books were sold if you have it to hand - it felt like quite a lot! He got quite upset very soon after starting to read the book asking why people would have sex with dead people. They are just as likely to welcome evocative, lyrical nature writing as gritty realism, just as they are likely to come from all sorts of social and ethnic backgrounds.McGowan penned approximately twenty of the titles in the series, which contains continuous adventure stories with a single set of main characters to take readers through the primary school years. Their books are short, edited ‘to ensure unnecessary words don’t hinder comprehension while the text will still challenge the reader’, and written with a view to the interests rather than the reading age of the intended reader.