Synopses & Reviews
The Printz Award–winning classic gets a new look.
Written in haunting, lyrical prose, Kit’s Wilderness examines the bonds of family from one generation to the next, and explores how meaning and beauty can be revealed from the depths of darkness.
The Watson family moves to Stoneygate, an old coal-mining town, to care for Kit’s recently widowed grandfather. When Kit meets John Askew, another boy whose family has both worked and died in the mines, Askew invites Kit to join him in playing a game called Death. As Kit’s grandfather tells him stories of the mine’s past and the history of the Watson family, Askew takes Kit into the mines, where the boys look to find the childhood ghosts of their long-gone ancestors.
A Michael L. Printz Award Winner
An ALA Notable Book
A Publishers Weekly Best Book
"A thrilling and spine-tingling ride." Publishers Weekly
"A heartbreakingly real world fused with magical realism....[The book's] ruminations about death and the healing power of love will strike children in unsuspected ways." Booklist
"A whirl of ghosts and dreams, stories-within-stories, joy, heartache, and redemption." Kirkus Reviews
"Kit's Wilderness establishes Almond as the most exciting new voice in children's books of this decade" Literary Review, London
About the Author
DAVID ALMOND grew up in a large family in northeastern England and says, "The place and the people have given me many of my stories." His first novel for children, Skellig, was a Michael L. Printz Honor Book and an ALA-ALSC Notable Children's Book and appeared on many best book of the year lists. His second novel, Kit's Wilderness, won the Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature.
Reading Group Guide
Written in haunting prose and lyrical language, Kit's Wilderness
explores the bonds of family from one generation to the next, and how, from the depths of darkness, meaning and beauty can be revealed.
The questions that follow are intended to guide readers as they begin to analyze the larger emotional, sociological, and literary elements of this
1. When Kit and his friends play the game they call "Death," they claim they can see the ghosts of children killed in the mine. Are the ghosts that Kit and his friends see real?
2. What do you think makes John Askew, Kit, and Kit's grandfather able to see ghosts?
3. David Almond calls this book Kit's Wilderness. Why? What is Kit's "wilderness"?
4. While studying the Ice Age in school, Kit and his classmates are asked to write a story about a young caveman called Lak. How is Kit's own life similar to the story he writes about Lak? How is it different?
5. What is "the pit"? What do you think it represents?
6. The author sets the story in wintertime. How do the physical landscape and season reflect the characters' emotional landscapes and states of mind?
7. Despite his fading memory, Kit's grandfather is always able to recognize Allie. Why? What might she represent for him? What might she represent in the story?
8. When Kit's grandfather gives him treasures from the mine, fossils from the ancient past, Kit slips the ammonite into his pocket and tells himself, "I'd keep it with me always now. A treasure from my grandfather. A gift from the deep, dark past." What other "gifts" does his grandfather bestow upon Kit?
9. John Askew is perceived as a no-good troublemaker by the townspeople. Is he really as bad as everyone thinks he is? In what ways is he darker? In what ways is he lighter?
10. What is the role of storytelling in Kit's Wilderness? How is storytelling used throughout the novel and in what different ways?