Minecraft Adventures B2G1 Free

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN a $100 Credit

Subscribe to PowellsBooks.news
for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

Visit our stores

    Recently Viewed clear list

    Original Essays | August 14, 2015

    Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz: IMG The Blind Spot of United States History

    The most frequent question readers ask about An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States is "Why hasn't this book been written before?" I'm... Continue »
    1. $11.20 Sale Trade Paper add to wish list

Qualifying orders ship free.
List price: $6.99
Used Trade Paper
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Qty Store Section
2 Beaverton Children's Young Adult- General
5 Burnside Children's- Michael L. Printz Award Winners
1 Burnside Children's Middle Readers- General



Skellig Cover



Reading Group Guide

1. Michael is very unhappy at the beginning of the novel. Discuss how Michael's life changes after he discovers Skellig and meets Mina. Think about ways that you deal with fear and loneliness. How can you help a friend who appears unhappy?

2. Almond never gives the reader a specific description of Skellig. Based on the glimpses of Skellig found throughout the novel, what is your impression of Skellig? How might Michael describe Skellig at the end of the novel?

3. Michael brushes his hands against Skellig's back and detects what appear to be wings. When he asks his mother about shoulder blades, she answers, "They say that shoulder blades are where your wings were when you were an angel . . . where your wings will grow again one day." What does this statement reveal about Skellig?

4. When Michael questions why Skellig eats living things and makes pellets like an owl, Mina answers, "We can't know. Sometimes we just have to accept that there are things we can't know." Why is this an important moment in the novel?

5. When Michael's soccer teammates discover his friendship with Mina, they begin teasing him. How does this affect Michael's relationship with them? Why do you think they make fun of Mina? How does she handle the teasing? How would you handle the situation if your classmates made fun of a special friend?

6. Discuss Michael's relationship with his mother and father. How does the baby's illness put a strain on these relationships? How is Michael's relationship with his parents different from Mina's relationship with her mother?

7. At the same time that his sister is undergoing heart surgery, Michael discovers that Skellig is gone. Mina calms Michael by quoting William Blake: "[Blake] said the soul was able to leap out of the body for a while and then leap back again. He said it could be caused by great fear or enormous pain. Sometimes it was because of too much joy. It was possible to be overwhelmed by the presence of so much beauty in the world." Why do you think Mina quoted this passage to Michael? How are fear and pain related? How are joy and beauty related? How does Skellig represent all these qualities?

8. What does the nurse mean when she describes Michael's baby sister as having a "heart of fire"? Why does Michael want to name the baby Persephone? Why is Joy an appropriate name for her? What other names might symbolize her journey and her place in the world?

9. Skellig returns for one last visit with Michael and Mina. What do you think is Skellig's purpose for entering Michael's life? How does he touch other lives? Do you think he'll ever return?

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Janet Hamilton, December 26, 2006 (view all comments by Janet Hamilton)
In Skellig, David Almond has created a creature both believable and unbelievable. Young Michael finds Skellig in a falling down garage, covered with dust, spider webs and dead flies. ?He was filthy and pale and dried out and I thought he was dead,? is how Michael describes his first impression. Giving Skellig friendship and sustenance, with the help of his new friend Mina, Michael brings him back to life and in the process, with the help of a heart surgeon, keeps his baby sister alive. Is Skellig real? Is he a beer drinking, Chinese-food loving angel? Do we all have wings folded under our shoulder blades? What must we do to discover their presence and purpose. Could we all fly out from the dark places where we are hidden in our dried out dust-bin lives if we learned to listen and look and feel and be present to experience the heart beat of others right there next to our own?

Gently full of magic and realism, and the beauty and harshness of nature, Almond?s young adult novel is masculine and feminine, thoughtful and intense, full of contradictions, and tenderly oozing with life and of death. He captures the challenge of the human heart to embrace its own helplessness and work a magic transformation. In writing about a young boy just discovering his inner power, Almond has created a story that will speak softly yet memorably to ten year olds as well as reverberate in the echo chambers of much older readers as well.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(4 of 9 readers found this comment helpful)
Monty90650, December 16, 2006 (view all comments by Monty90650)
Skellig is one of the most beautifully written books I have ever read. Everyone can relate to Michael's experience with loneliness and fear and the difficulties that his family faces. However, into his life comes the miracle of Skellig (a wonderfully beautiful creature that Michael befriends and helps). Michael's life and family are dramatically transformed in a marvelously unexpected manner. If only we all experienced such miracles.

Everyone to whom I have recommended the book has read and loved it! It should have won the Printz Prize that year. It was far better then the competition!
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(5 of 9 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 2 comments

Product Details

Almond, David
Yearling Books
Quimby, Laura
New York
Family - General
Children's 9-12 - Fiction - General
Family life
Moving, Household
Children's 9-12 - Family
Social Situations - Moving
Social Issues - Moving
Children s-General
fantasy;fiction;angels;young adult;friendship;ya;family;intellect;magical realism;illness;death;mystery;children s;children;birds;carnegie medal;children s fiction;england;owls;magic;novel;printz honor;love;moving;select for future;william blake;strangers
fantasy;fiction;angels;young adult;friendship;ya;family;intellect;magical realism;illness;death;mystery;children s;children;birds;carnegie medal;children s fiction;england;owls;magic;novel;printz honor;love;moving;select for future;william blake;strangers
fantasy;fiction;angels;young adult;ya;friendship;family;intellect;magical realism;death;illness;mystery;children s;birds;children;carnegie medal;owls;children s fiction;england;novel;magic;love;printz honor;select for future;william blake;children s liter
fantasy;fiction;angels;young adult;ya;friendship;family;intellect;magical realism;death;illness;mystery;children s;birds;children;carnegie medal;children s fiction;owls;england;novel;printz honor;magic;love;children s literature;select for future;william
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series Volume:
v. 23
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
from 4 up to 7
8.25 x 5.5 x 1 in
Age Level:

Other books you might like

  1. The House of the Scorpion
    Used Trade Paper $4.95
  2. Maniac Magee Used Trade Paper $3.50
  3. Kit's Wilderness
    Used Mass Market $3.50
  4. The Giver
    Used Mass Market $3.95
  5. Stargirl
    Used Book Club Paperback $2.95
  6. Acceleration
    Used Mass Market $4.50

Related Subjects

Children's » Awards » Michael L. Printz Award Winners
Children's » General
Children's » Middle Readers » General
Children's » Reference » Family and Genealogy
Young Adult » General

Skellig Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$3.95 In Stock
Product details 304 pages Yearling Books - English 9780440416029 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Almond makes a triumphant debut in the field of children's literature with prose that is at once eerie, magical, and poignant." Publishers Weekly, Starred
"Review" by , "A powerful, atmospheric story...the marvelous and everyday mix in haunting, memorable ways."
"Review" by , "A lovingly done, thought-provoking novel."
"Review" by , "Its strength as a novel is in its subtlety....Skellig is a fine book."
"Review" by , "Some of the writing takes one's breath away."
"Review" by , "Skellig is a strange book, certainly a memorable one. It isn't the usual fantasy, rather there is something about it that makes the reader feel if he or she just looked a bit harder and listened more carefully, many wondrous creatures would be there to find."
"Synopsis" by ,
More than anything, Maya wants to discover something incredible. Her parents are scientists: Her mother spends most of her time in tropical rainforests, uncovering ancient artifacts, and her dad is obsessed with digging up mammoths. When her father gets invited by an eccentric billionaire to lead a team investigating a mammoth’s remains in the Arctic, Maya begs to come along. Upon her arrival at the isolated camp, the mammoth is quickly revealed to be a fake, but there is something hidden in the ice—something unbelievable. Along with a team of international experts, each with his or her own agenda and theory about the mystery in the ice, Maya learns more about this discovery, which will change her life forever.

Laura Quimby expertly mixes adventure, science, and wonder into a page-turning story perfect for middle-grade explorers.

Praise for The Icarus Project

"Who wouldn’t want to find something earth-shatteringly unique while on an Arctic expedition?.. Quimby’s plot is exuberantly fast-paced and earnest."

Kirkus Reviews

"Maya’s earnest first-person point of view and sense of fair play make her easy to root for, and the inclusion of a boy character as a foil to Maya, along with lively writing and plenty of action, will help this middle-grade novel pull in reluctant readers."


"Maya is an earnest and likable character and the plot is fast-paced enough to hold readers’ attention. Maya’s curiosity, bravery, and desire to do the right thing will resonate with many readers."

—School Library Journal

"Synopsis" by , David Almond’s Printz Honor–winning novel celebrates its 10th anniversary!

Ten-year-old Michael was looking forward to moving into a new house. But now his baby sister is ill, his parents are frantic, and Doctor Death has come to call. Michael feels helpless. Then he steps into the crumbling garage. . . . What is this thing beneath the spiders' webs and dead flies? A human being, or a strange kind of beast never before seen? The only person Michael can confide in is his new friend, Mina. Together, they carry the creature out into the light, and Michael's world changes forever. . . .

  • back to top


Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.