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Winner of the Books Are My Bag Readers Choice Award The Times Children's Book of the Year 'A magnificent story ... It deserves every prize going' Philip Pullman 'An extraordinary story with historical and family truth at its heart, that tells us as much about the present as the past. Deeply felt, movingly written, a remarkable achievement' Michael Morpurgo 1941. War is raging. And one angry boy has been sent to the city, where bombers rule the skies. There, Joseph will live with Mrs F, a gruff woman with no fondness for children. Her only loves are the rundown zoo she owns and its mighty silverback gorilla, Adonis. As the weeks pass, bonds deepen and secrets are revealed, but if the bombers set Adonis rampaging free, will either of them be able to end the life of the one thing they truly love?

Inspired by a true story.
By:   Phil Earle
Imprint:   Walker Books
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 198mm,  Width: 129mm,  Spine: 20mm
Weight:   256g
ISBN:   9781783449651
ISBN 10:   1783449659
Pages:   320
Publication Date:   02 June 2021
Recommended Age:   From 9 to 13 years
Audience:   Children/juvenile ,  General/trade ,  English as a second language ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

As a child Phil harboured dreams of becoming a professional footballer, only for his career to be ended by an addiction to Frazzles, as well as an all-round lack of ability. Instead, at the age of 26, he got a job in a bookshop and fell in love with children's fiction. Eighteen years on, he is the author of fifteen novels, and delights in unearthing stories from everyday, innocuous events. He lives with his three children, on the side of a very steep hill in West Yorkshire.

Reviews for When the Sky Falls

A magnificent story ... It deserves every prize going -- Philip Pullman A deeply moving, thought-provoking drama * Daily Mail * An extraordinary story with historical and family truth at its heart, that tells us as much about the present as the past. Deeply felt, movingly written, a remarkable achievement -- Michael Morpurgo Uplifting ... should whet appetites for wartime classics such as Carrie's War and Goodnight Mr Tom * Telegraph * Utterly brilliant, original and so very, very moving... a triumph for kids' lit -- Sarah Crossan


  • Nominated for CILIP Carnegie Medal 2022 (UK)
  • Short-listed for BAMB Readers Awards 2021 (UK)
  • Short-listed for Juniper Book Awards (UK).
  • Winner of BAMB Readers Awards 2021 (UK)

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