A lyrical, captivating and beautiful picture book by Carnegie Medal-winner David Almond, illustrated by Kate Greenaway Medal-winner Levi Pinfold.

When a great dam was built by the Kielder Water in Northumberland, the valley below slowly filled with water. But just before this, when the villagers had been moved out, two musicians went back to the abandoned valley. They tore down the boards over the houses, stepped inside and started to play – for this would be the last time that music would be heard in this place. In this astonishing picture book that combines themes of loss, hope and music David Almond pays homage to all musicians, showing the ancient and unstoppable power of creativity.


David Almond has received several major awards, including a Hans Christian Andersen Award, a Carnegie Medal, two Whitbread Awards, an Eleanor Farjeon Award, and a Michael L. Printz Award. He is known worldwide as the author of Skellig, Clay, and many other plays, stories, and novels, including The Boy Who Swam with Piranhas, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers; The Savage, Slog’s Dad, and Mouse Bird Snake Wolf, all illustrated by Dave McKean; and My Dad’s a Birdman and The Boy Who Climbed Into the Moon, both illustrated by Polly Dunbar.

Levi Pinfold studied illustration at University College, Falmouth where he developed his distinctive stylized realism. He has won numerous awards for his picture books, which include The Django, Greenling and Black Dog, which won the Kate Greenaway Medal.


This is a work of art both textually and visually. I doubt that anyone picking up this book will leave without it, and clutched to their heart.

The Boomerang Books Blog

There’s an almost dream-like quality to the story and its artwork. The text is quite poetic, and ranging from full page illustrations to strip style illustrations, the pre-dam pictures are in a sepia style palette, while blues brighten the post-dam pictures. The Dam is an unusual, beautiful book.

Kids' Book Review

This is a stunning and haunting book from an amazing team.

Trevor Cairney Blog

This is an unforgettable picture book, with author and illustrator combining to give the reader a story full of the sadness of change, but using music to garner the forces which remind us of what has gone before, impelling us never to forget.



Teach Primary
Kate Greenaway Medal (CILIP)
UKLA Book Award
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