This week for PPBF, I want to share a gentle, thoughtful, beautiful picture book with a story like none I’ve ever seen.
Title: The Dam
Written by: David Almond
Illustrated by: Levi Pinfold
Candlewick Press, 2018
Suitable for ages: 5-8
Themes/topics: music, change, hope, loss
He woke her early.
“Bring your fiddle,” he said.
The day was dawning.
Into the valley they walked.
Kielder Water is a wild and beautiful place, rich in folk music and legend. Years ago, before a great dam was built to fill the valley with water, there were farms and homesteads in that valley and musicians who livened their rooms with song. After the village was abandoned and before the waters rushed in, a father and daughter returned there. The girl began to play her fiddle, bringing her tune to one empty house after another — for this was the last time that music would be heard in that place. With exquisite artwork by Levi Pinfold, David Almond’s lyrical narrative — inspired by a true tale — pays homage to his friends Mike and Kathryn Tickell and all the musicians of Northumberland, to show that music is ancient and unstoppable, and that dams and lakes cannot overwhelm it.
Activities and Resources:
Use a Venn diagram to compare and contrast the life in the valley and life with the lake. What activities would there be? What wildlife? How would lives of children change?
Why I like this book:
This is such an interesting and different kind of story – of the change a dam brings to life and the land. Dream-like illustrations mesh perfectly with simple text to create a special time and place filled gratitude for what was, embracing new possibilities, celebrating the magic of music, and the oneness of life. It’s a very uplifting acceptance of change.
Visit author Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Books for a plethora of picture books listed by title and topic/theme, each with teacher/parent activities and resources.
Visit the Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge on Kid Lit Frenzy for more great nonfiction books for kids!