My friend's son and a group of his friends were playing a war game on the school playground, using sticks for guns. In the middle of the game, a teacher came running over to them. Game over
, she said. Don't you know you aren't allowed to play war here? What do you think these are?
she said, snatching the sticks up into the air. One boy was brave enough to respond. They're sticks
, he said. And then he got braver. They're not real guns
, he said, we know that. Do you?
This question of what is real and what is imaginary is at the heart of David Almond's stark and poetic novel, Raven Summer
. Liam Lynch lives in remote, seemingly quiet Northumberland, England, but war is not so far away. Jets heading for Iraq fly overhead and there is a story of a reporter being held hostage in Baghdad - war is literally in the air. During the...
Beyond the Book
begins with a raven beckoning to Liam to follow him. He flies a bit ahead, stops, calls to Liam - Jak jak! Jak jak!
- and then flies a bit ahead again. Like this, the raven leads Liam to the abandoned baby. What is the symbolism of this loud, large beaked, black bird?
Ravens figure prominently in many legends from around the world.
The Welsh hero, Bran, whose name means raven, was the holder of ancestral memories. He was said to be so intelligent that he had his head interred in the Sacred White Mount in London (where the Tower of London stands) - this is after being decapitated in a battle with Ireland and his...