Review of ‘The Kingdom of Silk’ series
Title: The ‘Kingdom of Silk’ Series
Author: Glenda Millard
Illustrator: Caroline Magerl (book 1), Stephen Michael King (books 2-6)
Themes: family, grief, loss, acceptance, illness, love, strength, courage, imagination, responsibility, siblings, foster children, reading.
Book 1: Honour Book in the 2004 Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year: Younger Readers Award.
Shortlisted for the 2004 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards (Patricia Wrightson Prize)
Book2: Shortlisted in the Children’s Book Council of Australia Awards
Winner of the 2007 Queensland Premier’s Literary Award: Children’s Book Award.
Book 3: Shortlisted in the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards
Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year: Younger Readers.
Click on title links or cover images to purchase.
I’ve been known to tear up in front of a class just talking about these books, and I certainly don’t do them as a read aloud class novel anymore! This is a series that I wish I had only just discovered, so I could read them one after the other and not have to leave the Kingdom of Silk for a while. I read them as they came out, and I’ve waited years for each subsequent title.
For such slim novels, they manage to fit so much beauty in. Full of love, and of sorrow. Firmly based in reality, and yet they take the reader on the most fantastical, whimsical journey.
The entire series centres on an uncommon sort of a family: the Silk family. Each book centres on a different family member or person associated with the family. In the first book Griffin Silk discovers that he has the courage of a lion; as he and his family deal with the loss of baby Tishkin. Whilst seemingly heavy subject matter for a book aimed at middle primary students, this would have to be one of the most beautiful and uplifting stories ever told. Certainly this book, and others in the series, should not be shied away from because they deal with real issues. The writing is exquisite, and the issues dealt with in a sensitive and positive way.
Throughout the series Griffin and his parents, grandmother Nell, and sisters; Scarlet, Indigo, Violet, Amber and Saffron are joined by characters such as; Layla (Queen of Hearts); foster child Perry Angel; and Anik – a refugee who has never lived in peace.
My favourite quote from the series concerns reading:
“From the moment her daughters were born, Nell read to them. It didn’t matter that they didn’t understand the words. Books are many things: lullabies for the weary, ointment for the wounded, armour for the fearful and nests for those in need of a home.”
Page 39, ‘The Tender Moments of Saffron Silk’. (book six)
Here is young reviewer Lara Baker’s thoughts on ‘Perry Angel’s Suitcase’: