Little Bits of Sky
I’ve put this story together from the diaries I kept when Zac and I were children. I wrote them because I felt we were almost invisible and I wanted to make sure our story was told, and also in the hope that life would get better for the small unloved girl that was me, and my even smaller unloved brother. And if life didn’t get better or at least more interesting I was going to make it up – to put in witches and castles and rides in fast cars. But I didn’t need to. Life got exciting all by itself…
It’s 1987 and Ira and Zac are being uprooted once again, this time to Skilly House, a home for social care children. Their lives over the next few years are beautifully realised amongst the antipathy of the authorities, the drama of the poll tax riots and the moments of peace and hope Ira finds at Skilly and further afield. This is a memorable and moving tale about growing up, making friends and finding a home.
Featuring a brand new short story, ‘Glenda’.
Also by S.E. Durrant: ‘Running On Empty’, a beautifully told story of unorthodox families, grief, adolescence and running.
Take a Look Inside
What the Critics Said
“This remarkable debut novel reads as if written by an experienced children’s author at the height of her powers. The story of looked-after siblings of 9 and 11, it is reminiscent of Jacqueline Wilson in its subject and Sharon Creech in its style and generosity of spirit … this is an uplifting and convincing evocation of time and place, of two vivid young lives, and of the hope that kindness can offer. It is a gentle story, although sad things happen (expect tears), and it tells us clearly how the feelings of adults and children can be complicated.”
“Little Bits of Sky is a truly, truly, truly lovely story. It’s rather difficult to credit it as a debut novel because it is completely comfortable in its own skin from the first page to the last. It doesn’t try too hard. It doesn’t proselytise. It’s just there, feeling deeply authentic and real … Uplifting and heartwarming without ever being twee, this debut will find a place in the heart of readers of any age. It deserves to do well. I hope it does.”
“Quite frankly, I wish every book I read were like this one – its gentle exploration of what it is to be a child, to be a person, is stimulating and somehow satisfyingly enjoyable.”
– That Boy Can’t Teach (blog)
“…this is a rare book that is perfect for young readers who want a proper story, real characters and situations without being harrowed and where there is the warmth of optimism. This is the author’s debut and to be highly commended: a new voice to welcome.”
– Books for Keeps, S. E. Durrant listed as ‘New Talent’
“Set against the backdrop of the 1990 poll tax strikes and written in diary-like entries, this is a personal and heartfelt tale of growing up as a child in care. It’s wonderfully honest and does not shy away from the heartache of loss and longing. What makes it even more special is how Durrant keeps it realistic but maintains a sense of hope and optimism. A must-read – but have a box of tissues at the ready.”
“…a beautiful book… the characters are brilliantly drawn. SE Durrant writes both economically and subtly as she tells the story of the children and the mysterious Glenda. In spite of its lyrical quality, realism permeates the book and the ending, whilst optimistic, is entirely believable. I can offer no higher compliment than that this is worthy of Elizabeth Laird at her very best.”
“A story about children being brought up in care that is actually about the heartbreaking realities of their situation, rather than a device to allow them to have wonderful adventures,à la Disney.”
“Although uplifting and joyous in places, there are also moments which will make you pause for thought, and certainly brought a tear to my eye.”
– Library Girl and Book Boy (blog)
“This is an excellent story combining a satisfying and continually moving plot with an appreciation of life for two looked-after siblings.”
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