Small Free Kiss in the Dark
237 pages

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Small Free Kiss in the Dark , bd


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237 pages
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Skip's an outsider. He's never fitted in. So he takes to the streets. Life there may be hard, but it's better than the one he's left behind, especially when he teams up with homeless veteran Billy. Then come the bombs which bring little Max and Tia, the sad teenage dancer with a tiny baby, into Skip and Billy's world. Scavenging for food, living on love and imagination - how long can Skip's fragile new family hold out as war grips the city? A moving tale of hope and survival, set in a bleak, war-torn world.



Publié par
Date de parution 01 juin 2017
Nombre de lectures 1
EAN13 9781910646236
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 62 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0165€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


Praise for A Small Free Kiss in the Dark ‘Perhaps not since John Marsden’s Tomorrow series has there been such a powerful novel set against the backdrop of a sudden and vivid Australian war . . . if you loved Meg Rosoff’s How I Live Now and Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night time, you will be left breathless by this stunning novel.’ Canberra Times ‘ . . . a story of hope and a celebration of the worth of the individual’ Suite ‘ . . . a heartstring tugger full of wayward wisdom and gentle sentiment’ Adelaide Advertiser ‘Millard may well have carved a place for herself as one of Australia’s preeminent contemporary children’s authors.’ Bookseller Publisher ‘ . . . a beautiful story . . . this book is delightful and stands as a testimony to the power of family, friendship and love’ Viewpoint ‘Don’t expect this book to be similar to Millard’s tales of the Silk Kingdom. This is very different, extraordinarily so, yet equally beautiful. It is a stark, poignant and gripping story . . . And, as always, Millard’s text simply sings.’ Good Reading ‘This is more than a story of a journey of survival for it is also a story of despair and hope, love and sorrow, courage and frailty. Millard . . . has created something exceptional.’ Reading Time ‘This philosophical, appealing survival tale is simultaneously grim and hopeful.’ Kirkus Review

A S m a l F r e e K i s s i n t h e D a r k

A Small Free Kiss in the Dark was first published in the UK in 2011. It is being republished in 2017 by Old Barn Books Ltd as a celebration of Glenda Millard’s shortlisting for the CILIP Carnegie Medal (for The Stars at Oktober Bend) and because we believe this well-loved Australian writer deserves to be much better known in the UK. On its first publication, the Library Mice blog (www.librarymice.‘Be prepared to be moved, enchanted, heartbroken and uplifted all at the same time by this wonderfully poignant novel.’ We hope that you will be swept away, as we were, by the beauty and the power of Glenda’s writing. We have made no attempt to ‘anglicise’ the Australian idiom and hope that you will enjoy the discovery of a new Antipodean vocabulary.Other titles by Glenda Millard available in the UK from The Stars at Oktober Bend (long listed for the UKLA Award and shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal) Pea Pod Lullaby (a picture book) with illustrator Stephen Michael King, available from September 2017.The Kingdom of Silk series The Duck and the Darklings – a picture book, with illustrator Stephen Michael King

A S m a l F r e e K i s s i n t h e D a r k G L E N D A M I L L A R D

AN OLD BARN BOOK Copyright Glenda Millard, 2009 All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the publisher.First published by Allen Unwin Australia in 2009 First published in the UK in 2011 This 2017 edition published by Old Barn Books Ltd Warren Barn, West Sussex, RH20 1JW Distributed by Bounce Sales Marketing Ltd, ISBN 9781910646076 Cover and text design by Lisa White Typesetting for the UK edition by Eyelevel Design Printed in the UK 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

For Douglas G.M.

C o n t e n t s 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Prologue Permission not to have a friend Vincent and the wedding birds Overcoats and irises Red and black Weapons of Max destruction A thief’s prayer Albert Park The Carousel of War and Peace One perfect day The ballerina, the baby and the brave The truest thing Song for Sixpence 13 25 37 45 55 67 84 99 109 120 128

13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 Ambushed The Guru of Noticing Details Sharks’ Teeth and Honey The Circle of Brotherhood The blessing and the bomb Chickening out Captain of our boat The Third Side Pennyweight Flat The most important thing 137 145 156 168 174 184 196 206 215 221

A fun park isn’t the kind of place you’d expect to find a ballerina on a rainy afternoon. But that’s where we found Tia. In the beginning I wished we never found her. Three else to look after, especially not a ballerina. Worse still, she had a baby. You couldn’t choose just one; they came together, like a free sample of mayonnaise sticky-taped to a bag of salad leaves. The girl didn’t look like a ballerina when we found her. She just looked like a girl wearing a long red coat and black motorbike boots that were way too big for her skinny legs. Her skin was the colour of the moon and her long hair blew around her face like threads of spider web. She was sitting sideways on a white horse, like ladies in the olden days did. The baby was just a lump inside her coat. Rain dripped off the roof of the carousel and made it look like a giant-size crystal chandelier, except you don’t get wooden horses on chandeliers. We were gobsmacked to see the girl because not many people visit fun parks that don’t work, especially when there’s a war going on.

P e r m i s s i o n n o t t o h a v e a f r i e n d Skip was my running-away name. It seemed like a good name because of how I skipped school whenever I was doing a runner. I still liked it, even after I found out that’s what you call the massive metal bins that demolition crews dump their rubbish in. A skip is somewhere you can shelter when there’s nowhere else, and getting a new name is a bit like being born all over again. I hoped my new life would be better than the one I’d left behind.It was easy, once I decided to go. I made a plan and I kept it in my head because everyone knows you should never write a plan down in case someone else finds it. Even though it was the last day of term, before the hol idays, I still went to school. That was part of my plan. If I didn’t turn up the teachers would ring my caseworker

because they knew I’d run away before, only then I hadn’t made a plan so it was easy for them to find me. I heard the other kids telling their friends what they were going to do after school and in the holidays. Some were going to the beach and others were going to stay with their grandmother or their aunty or someone else they were related to. I didn’t tell anyone what I was going to do. That was part of my plan, too. I even had a strategy for an unlikely event. If someone asked me over to their place after school, that would be an unlikely event because people only ask you to their house if they’re your friend. But if anyone did, my strategy was to pretend not to hear.Sometimes I made up reasons to myself why I had no friends. They were a bit like the notes some kids take to school so they don’t have to play sport because of their sore knee or some other part of them that doesn’t work Dear Mr Kavanagh, Skip can’t have a friend because he’s moved to seven schools in three years and there’s no time for him to get to know anyone properly.Dear Mr Kavanagh, Skip can’t have a friend in case he accidentally tells them something he’s not supposed to.

Dear Mr Kavanagh, Skip can’t have a friend in case they ask him about the bruises.Dear Mr Kavanagh, Skip can’t have a friend because he doesn’t have a proper family to talk about.Dear Mr Kavanagh, Skip can’t have a friend because sometimes he doesn’t hear people talking to him when he’s drawing, and that makes them think he’s rude or crazy.Dear Mr Kavanagh, Skip can’t have a friend because he’s no good at maths, and they might think he’s dumb.As well as my excuses for not having friends I also invented other notes I’d like to take to school if only there was someone who’d write them for me. Dear Mr Kavanagh, I give my permission for Skip to put his hands up to the sky because that’s how he finds out about the light. It’s important for him to see where it falls on his fingers and where the shadows begin and end, and the difference between sharp black shadows and soft grey ones.Dear Mr Kavanagh, I give my permission for Skip to look out the window whenever he wants and for as long as he wants because he’s not being lazy, he’s thinking about important things like colour and light.

Dear Mr Kavanagh, I give my permission for Skip to spend every day making pictures or looking at other people’s pictures because that’s how he makes sense of the world.Dear Mr Kavanagh, Please don’t punish Skip for drawing, even if he’s doing it when you think he should be doing maths.I hoped that where I was going I wouldn’t have to explain myself to anyone. The night before I ran away I got Dad’s coat out of the toolshed, where I’d hid it, and stuffed it in my backpack. It still stunk of smoke, and the blackened bits around the hem crumbled in my hands like burnt toast. l left early the next morning, so no one would ask awkward questions about my bulging bag. School finished at two o’clock on the last day of term, so there was no one from my pretend family waiting to pick me up. I filled my pockets with chalk, and walked to the station. I bought a ticket to the city with money I’d found under the sofa cushions. The train was waiting. It was midnight-blue, my favourite colour for trains, and I stepped onto it before I had time to change my mind. When the doors closed behind me I felt like a bird had got inside my chest and was beating

its wings trying to get loose, and it wasn’t leaving much room for me to breathe. At Central Station I got off. I went to the toilets and put Dad’s coat on, even though there was nearly a heatwave. It was all I had left of him, except what was inside my head. The counsellor told me there had to be give and take if I was going to settle with my new foster family. She said that Mrs Ransome was probably only trying to help me move on when she tried to burn Dad’s coat. When I came out of the cubicle I stood side-on so I could only see the left side

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