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The Storybarn Selects… From The Reader Bookshelf

Written by Lily Kehoe, 22nd March 2023

As we continue to explore the Reader Bookshelf we've asked members of our Children & Young People Team to talk about their favourite children's books from the collection.

This week, Head of Children & Young People Kara Orford, shares her thoughts on The Colour of the Sun by David Almond.

“The day is long, the world is wide, you’re young and free” Davie’s mum encourages as she packs him off with a piece of warm bara brith wrapped in greaseproof paper, ready for a summer day’s adventure. It soon becomes apparent that this is a day that Davie will remember for a long time to come.

To begin with, it seems that The Colour of the Sun may be a murder mystery! There’s much kerfuffle in the town as Davie is one of the first to arrive on the scene at what appears to be a very recent murder. The body of Jimmy Killen has been discovered in the rubble of a building site and there are whisperings that this may be something to do with a long standing family feud between The Killens and The Craigs. Davie thinks he knows who is responsible. The air is thick with drama and speculation, but afraid that on hearing the news, his Mum would keep him ‘safe’ indoors and out of harm’s way, Davie decides to continue his adventure and heads off away from the crowds and up the hill. This isn’t a murder mystery after all, it’s so much more than that.

Davie’s Dad has recently died and he’s got some pretty big questions about life, death and what it’s all about. He seems aimless, unsure of what he’s searching for as he climbs. There’s an ethereal feel to the book and as we follow Davie on his wanderings it becomes increasingly difficult to tell as a reader, what is real and what is a dream? What is a memory? A fleeting recollection? As we get wrapped up in Davie’s thoughts, following his journey, it really doesn’t seem to matter. Leaving the town, getting higher and higher into the hills, Davie meets several characters, all with words of wisdom, wonderings and advice. There’s the priest who appears to be having a lapse of faith, he’s fallen in love and is looking for meaning beyond the church, there are two little girls, enthralled in imaginative play “Don’t step on the fairies, you nit!”, a friend of his dad’s and a dog that insists on following him. They all have a role to play as Davie tries to make sense of his town, his place and the world around him. In lots of ways, The Colour of the Sun is a coming of age story, about making sense of ‘grown up’ feelings, when you’ve still got one foot firmly planted in your childhood, but it’s also a deeply moving story of hope, warmth, love and friendship.

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