Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Heaven Eyes

Heaven Eyes

3.6 11
by David Almond

See All Formats & Editions

Erin Law and her friends are Damaged Children. At least that is the label given to them by Maureen, the woman who runs the orphanage that they live in. Damaged, Beyond Repair because they have no parents to take care of them. But Erin knows that if they care for each other they can put up with the psychologists, the social workers, the therapists -- at least most of


Erin Law and her friends are Damaged Children. At least that is the label given to them by Maureen, the woman who runs the orphanage that they live in. Damaged, Beyond Repair because they have no parents to take care of them. But Erin knows that if they care for each other they can put up with the psychologists, the social workers, the therapists -- at least most of the time. Sometimes there is nothing left but to run away, to run for freedom. And that is what Erin and two friends do, run away one night downriver on a raft. What they find on their journey is stranger than you can imagine, maybe, and you might not think it's true. But Erin will tell you it is all true. And the proof is a girl named Heaven Eyes, who sees through all the darkness in the world to the joy that lies beneath.

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Almond's fans will willingly follow him on yet another journey into a surreal, murkey world that may be dream or reality." - Kirkus Reviews

From the Hardcover edition.

The Barnes & Noble Review
Award-winning author David Almond does not disappoint eager audiences with this tale of family, survival, and the thin line between reality and dreams.

In the dreary orphanage of Whitegates, three friends long for freedom and purpose. Sadly labeled as damaged goods, these kids hold their memories close to their hearts and ignore the tired and world-weary gazes of Maureen, who runs the orphanage. Erin and her friend January run away on occasion, but they are usually caught within a couple of days or return due to lack of money and a place to sleep. Their latest journey, however, is unlike any other. They plan to make a raft and escape down the river. After Mouse, a small, shy boy whose name reflects the pint-size pet he carries in his pocket, begs to be included on their voyage, the three are off to the river. When they end up not far from Whitegates but in a seemingly different world on the muddy bank of Black Middens, they meet an unusual girl with webbed hands and an unavoidable stare. She calls herself Heaven's Eyes, and her primitive language and ethereal beauty intrigue the trio. Living in abandoned offices under the care of an old man she calls Grandpa, Heaven's Eyes soon reveals details of the life she leads. Then Erin and her friends also unearth the real truth of Heaven's past.

Almond ties this moving and surreal story together with the overwhelming desire to love, have family and enjoy freedom. Dreams and reality coincide, and Erin speaks to the reader in a way that reinforces the truthfulness of what she says. The real magic lies in Almond's fantastic ability to relate a story of wonder and sorrow to young readers with grace and strength. The details of an enlightening mystery need not be filled with facts and answers. For many, the excitement and life lessons are found within the journey. (Amy Barkat)

Enicia Fisher
As a storyteller's fire captures its audience, David Almond's latest novel draws the reader through darkness into irresistible light. Heaven Eyes, the third novel for young people by this highly acclaimed author, offers what Almond fans anticipate: a wonderful mixture of mystery, fantasy, dreams, and reality.

The story begins at Whitegates, a three-storied place with a garden paved over in concrete and a metal fence around it. Erin and January constantly run away from the orphanage in search of adventure and freedom—freedom from their disappointed caretaker, psychiatrists, social workers, and from the Life Story books they create from scraps of memory, fact, and imagination.

January, the boy named for the wintry night his mother left her day-old baby on the doorstep of a hospital, rigs a runaway raft out of two doors and some paneling. Erin Law, one of the few children with a real name and real memories of the time before Whitegates, brings her treasure box and a few photos. As they sneak away, Mouse, whose father tattooed on his arm, "please look after me," insists on coming along.

The runaways don't get very far, but where they disembark might as well be another world. After escaping from the thick mud of the Black Middens, they encounter Heaven Eyes, a strange luminescent girl with webbed fingers and toes. She leads them to an abandoned printing warehouse, where she lives with a mysterious old man.

The kids discover that the most extraordinary things existed in our ordinary world and just waited for us to find them. Almond's vivid and original storytelling creates a very real sense of wonder.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Readers spellbound by the intriguing characters and surrealistic flavor of Almond's previous works will be eager to dive into the murky waters of this third novel, set in a riverside orphanage. Erin Law, one of the "damaged" orphan children residing at Whitegates, eloquently recounts her earliest happy memories of her mother and the way the woman's voice and touch have remained with her. One day, Erin sets out on a remarkable adventure-cum-rescue mission, with fellow orphan friends January and Mouse on a homemade raft. ("Some people will tell you that none of these things happened. They'll say they were just a dream that the three of us shared.") Their vessel gets stuck in the mire on the Black Middens, a muddy sinkhole of a place every bit as haunting and surreal as the hideout in Skellig or the abandoned mines of Kit's Wilderness. The children discover two strangers who live alongside the Middens in a dilapidated settlement: Heaven Eyes, a ghostlike girl with webbed hands (so named because "her lovely eyes... saw through all the trouble in the world to the heaven that lies beneath"), and "Grampa," her ancient caretaker. Here the children slowly unravel mysteries about the crumbling town, its muddy banks holding many treasures and the tragic history of Heaven Eyes. Possessing a rare understanding of human frailties, impulses, desires and fears, the author boldly explores the gray area between reality and imagination, and the need to construct one's own legends in order to survive. His tantalizing settings and poetic narrative have a lingering effect, much like a prophetic dream. Ages 9-12. (Apr.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Publishers Weekly
Three orphan children residing at Whitegate set out on an adventure-cum-rescue mission and discover a ghostlike girl with webbed hands. "The tantalizing settings and poetic narrative have a lingering effect, much like a prophetic dream," said PW in a starred review. Ages 10-up. (Oct.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Erin, January, and Mouse all live together in a British orphanage. Seeking freedom, the three take off on a raft down the nearby river, and wind up stuck in the mud of the Black Middens. There they encounter a strange, pale girl with webbed hands and feet and the eccentric old man she calls Grampa, who looks after her. Grampa explains that the child is called Heaven Eyes "cos she does see through all the grief and trouble in the world to the heaven that does lie beneath," and hints at secrets in her past, but won't discuss them. This odd couple takes the three runaways back to the abandoned printing works where they live. There Heaven Eyes wins the heart of Erin, calling her "my long-lost sister"; little Mouse helps Grampa hunt for treasure in the mud, and finds a body; and January discovers where Heaven Eyes came from. When Grampa suddenly dies, the three explorers return with Heaven Eyes to the orphanage, understanding more about the meaning of love, family, and hidden treasures. Erin tells the story, and at the end she says, "The most astounding things can lie waiting as each day dawns, as each page turns." This statement is true of all Almond's novels: his previous books, the acclaimed YA novels Skellig and Kit's Wilderness, also incorporate elements of surrealism and fantasy as well as exploring the power of family bonds, whether by birth or by choice, as is the case here. His writing is lyrical and dreamlike and casts a spell over the reader, just as Heaven Eyes and her odd and endearing manner of expressing herself cast a spell over Erin. Almond's voice is unique and poetic, not for every reader, but many imaginative YAs will treasure his writing. Heaven Eyes is a lovely andhaunting book, with original characters that will linger in readers' minds. KLIATT Codes: J*—Exceptional book, recommended for junior high school students. 2001, Random House/Delacorte, 240p, $15.95. Ages 13 to 15. Reviewer: Paula Rohrlick; March 2001 (Vol. 35 No. 2)
Children's Literature
They lived at Whitegates, these damaged children. Orphans they were, and they ran away on a regular basis, always returning because they were hungry and cold. But when January Carr tells Erin he has built a raft, Erin knows this escape will be different. It was supposed to be just the two of them but timid Mouse Gullane insists on going, too. But the raft becomes mired in the mud of the Black Middens, and they are met by a girl with webbed fingers and a peculiar way of talking. She is called Heaven Eyes by Grampa who rescued her, and they live in an abandoned printing works. Heaven Eyes can "see through all the grief and trouble in the world to the heaven that does lie beneath," says Grampa. His concern with protecting Heaven Eyes is extreme, which makes January very uneasy. When Mouse becomes Grampa's Little Helper and discovers a body in the mud, January immediately concludes that Grampa has murdered someone. Grampa says they have discovered a saint. The events that follow change these children and just might make a believer out of anyone reading this book. Almond mingles reality and fantasy in a most believable way. His setting is vivid and the characters leap from the pages, staying with the reader long after the story ends. There is an interesting parallel between the orphans who know little of their past and the abandoned warehouses whose history will soon be lost as they are torn down. Just as a brand new future awaits the Quay with modern shops and restaurants, so too these children will create a future for themselves. 2001, Delacorte, $15.95. Ages 11 to 14. Reviewer: Sharon Salluzzo
When English orphans Erin Law, January Carr, and Mouse Gullane run away from their group home, Whitegates, their makeshift raft goes aground on a mudbank, the Black Middens. In this terrifying ruin of abandoned wharves and warehouses, oozing mud threatens to suck them under until they are discovered by the Middens' only inhabitants: a magical elfin girl named Heaven Eyes, and half-crazed Grampa. Pulling Heaven Eyes from the mud long ago, Grampa named her for her ability to see heaven through the world's grief and trouble. As Heaven Eyes grows close to Erin, Grampa and Mouse also bond, spending hours unearthing "treasures" in the mud. When Mouse discovers the beautifully preserved body of a long-dead seaman, Grampa calls it a "saint"—an object of beauty emerging from the mud—and begins to trust them. As wrecking balls arrive, Grampa asks the three to take Heaven Eyes back to Whitegates, giving her a box containing clues explaining the mystery of her origins. He dies quietly, and in a surreal scene, the spirits of Grampa and the seaman rise, walk across the mudflats, and disappear into the black water. The structure of the novel—from Whitegates to the Black Middens and back to Whitegates—acts as a metaphor for life's journey. The primary theme, that the ability to find beauty amid overwhelming ugliness and evil brings solace and healing, is evident in Heaven Eyes, who helps the others develop it. Almond's prose is lyrical, and the lilting dialect of Heaven Eyes and Grampa is appealing and expressive. His magical and mysterious world raises more questions than it answers. Younger readers will enjoy the engaging story in this multilayered work, whereas older readerswill appreciate the rich imagery. The characters' ages are not mentioned, but they act like younger teens. As in reality, the book's ending is not tidy. When the orphans return from their journey with Heaven Eyes, one senses that their real journeys are just beginning. This book has great depth—a provocative reading experience and excellent choice for classroom discussion. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P M J (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2001, Random House, 240p, . Ages 12 to 15. Reviewer: Florence H. Munat SOURCE: VOYA, April 2001 (Vol. 24, No.1)
School Library Journal
Gr 6-9-Welcome to the surreal world of David Almond and his haunting novel (Delacorte, 2001) about three orphans who run away from Whitegates, a home for "damaged" children. Fleeing down the Ouseburn River on a homemade raft fashioned from old doors, Erin Law, January Carr, and Mouse Gulane land on the Black Middens, a mud bank not far from where they began their journey. There they find Heaven Eyes, a strange girl with webbed feet and hands, who speaks pidgin English and lives in a derelict building with her mysterious and somewhat menacing caretaker named Grandpa. He and Heaven Eyes show Erin and her friends how to dig in the black mud, for "there is secrets and there is treasures and there is saints waiting to be found." The three runaways are captivated by Heaven Eyes, whose childlike innocence is a novelty. In his third children's book, Almond has written a tale as dark and deep as the river flowing through it. The narration by actress Amanda Plummer is a double treat. Her pacing is carefully measured to perfection, and the story is delivered in a soothing brogue. Those comfortable with ambiguous settings, ethereal characters, powerful themes, and strong imagery will be delighted.-Celeste Steward, Contra Costa County Library, Clayton, CA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Edition description:
Reprinted Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.20(w) x 6.90(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
12 Years

Read an Excerpt

The Middle of the World

She started with The Universe. Then she wrote The Galaxy, The Solar System, The Earth, Europe, England, Felling, Our House, The Kitchen, The White Chair With A Hundred Holes Like Stars, then her name, Margaret, and she paused.

"What's in the middle of me?" she asked.

"Your heart," said Mary.

She wrote My Heart.

"In the middle of that?"

"Your soul," said Catherine.

She wrote My Soul.

Mam reached down and lifted the front of Margaret's T-shirt and prodded her navel.

"That's where your middle is," she said. "That's where you were part of me."

Margaret drew a row of stick figures, then drew concentric rings growing out from each of them.

"Where's the real middle of the world?" she said.

"They used to think the Mediterranean," said Catherine. "Medi means middle. Terra means world. The sea at the middle of the world."

Margaret drew a blue sea with a green earth around it.

"There was another sea at the edges," said Catherine. "It was filled with monsters and it went right to the end of the world. If you got that far, you just fell off."

Margaret drew this sea. She put fangs and fins for monsters.

"There's no end, really, is there?" she said.

"No," said Catherine.

"And there's no middle, is there?"

Catherine laughed.

"Not really."

Mam prodded Margaret's navel again.

"That's the middle of the world," she said.

Later that day we went to the grave. Colin rushed home from Reyrolle's on his Vespa for lunch. He bolted his food and rattled away again. We heard the scooter taking him on to Felling Bank and down toward the square.

When it faded, Mary said,

"Should we go to the grave today?"

We hadn't been for months. We thought of the dead being in Heaven rather than being in the earth.

"Good idea," said Mam. "I'll make some bara brith for when you get home."

We were on the rocky path at the foot of the street when Dandy ran after us. He was a little black poodle that was never clipped and had horrible breath.

"Go home!" said Mary. "Dandy, go home!"

He yapped and growled and whined.

"Dandy, go home!"

No good. We just had to let him trot along beside us.

Margaret fiddled with her navel as she walked.

"When I started," she said, "what was I like?"

"What do you think you were like?" said Mary. "Like a gorilla? You were very very very little. You were that little, you couldn't even be seen. You were that little, nobody even knew you were blinkin there!"

"Daft dog," said Catherine, as Dandy ran madly through a clump of foxgloves and jumped at bees.

Soon we saw Auntie Jan and Auntie Mona ahead of us. They wore head scarves and carried shopping bags on their arms.

"Bet you can't tell which is which," said Mary.

"Even when they're talking to me I can't tell which is which," said Margaret.

The two aunts hurried into Ell Dene Crescent.

"Did they look the same when nobody knew they were there?" said Margaret.

"Of course they did!" said Mary. "Everybody looks the same when they can't be blinkin seen!"

The aunts waved and grinned and we all waved and Dandy yapped and then they hurried on again down into Ell Dene Crescent.

Mary picked daisies from the verges as we walked.

She said, "Dad once said that daisies were the best of all flowers. I think I remember that."

"You do," said Catherine. "You do remember. He called them day's eyes. Awake in the day and closed asleep at night."

Further on, Daft Peter lay in his greatcoat under a tree on The Drive.

"Not him!" said Catherine. "We'll never get away from him!"

We sat on a bench on Watermill Lane.

"How far is it?" said Margaret.

"You know how far," said Mary.

"Nowhere's far in Felling," said Catherine.

We watched Daft Peter.

"Move," said Catherine. "Go on. Move."

"Is Felling very small?" said Margaret.

Mary stamped her feet.

"Yes," said Catherine.

"Is it the smallest place in the world?"

"Is this Daft Question Day?" said Mary.

"Yes!" said Margaret.

"It's very small," said Catherine. "But there's smaller places."


"Places in the desert," said Mary. "Rings of huts in the jungle. Villages in the Himalayas."

"Yes," said Catherine. "And places like Hebburn or Seaton Sluice."

"Not Seaton Sluice," said Mary. "It's got that big beach. It's got to be bigger than Felling. And Hebburn's got that big new shopping center."

Catherine sighed.

"Windy Nook, then," she said.

"That's not fair," said Mary. "Windy Nook's a part of somewhere else."

"Where, then? And make it somewhere we know."

"Bill Quay," said Mary.

No one said anything, even though we all knew Bill Quay was part of somewhere else as well.

"Thank goodness," said Catherine. "Bill Quay."

Daft Peter didn't move. In the end, we walked on. Dandy snarled as we drew nearer to the man.

"Dandy!" said Catherine.

Daft Peter smiled and rubbed his eyes.

"Here's me thought I was dreamin," he said. "And all the time I'm just wakin up."

He leaned against the tree.

"What would ye say if I knew how to turn swimmin fish into flyin fowl?" he said.

"Take no notice," whispered Catherine.

"Not much at all, I see," said Peter. "But what if I said I could take you girls and show you how to fly aroond this tree."

"I'd say you couldn't!" said Mary.

"Aha!" said Peter. "Just let me look inside this bag, then."

He dug into a brown bag. He took out a sandwich, something bright red and black hanging out of two dried-out slices of bread. He held it out to Mary as we approached.

"Take a bite of that," he said. "Go on, take a bite of that and see."

Dandy jumped up at him, barking and snarling. Daft Peter flailed and kicked and the sandwich flew into the road.

"Daft dog!" he shouted. "Look what ye've done to me dinna!"

We hurried past.

"What would ye say if I turned a daft dog into a nice meat pie?" yelled Peter.

"I'd say it would be very hairy and it would stink!" said Mary.

From the Hardcover edition.

Meet the Author

“I grew up in a big extended Catholic family [in the north of England]. I listened to the stories and songs at family parties. I listened to the gossip that filled Dragone’s coffee shop.
I ran with my friends through the open spaces and the narrow lanes. We scared each other with ghost stories told in fragile tents on dark nights. We promised never-ending friendship and whispered of the amazing journeys we’d take together.

I sat with my grandfather in his allotment, held tiny Easter chicks in my hands while he smoked his pipe and the factory sirens wailed and larks yelled high above. I trembled at the images presented to us in church, at the awful threats and glorious promises made by black-clad priests with Irish voices. I scribbled stories and stitched them into little books. I disliked school and loved the library, a little square building in which I dreamed that books with my name on them would stand one day on the shelves.

Skellig, my first children’s novel, came out of the blue, as if it had been waiting a long time to be told. It seemed to write itself. It took six months, was rapidly taken by Hodder Children’s Books and has changed my life. By the time Skellig came out, I’d written my next children’s novel, Kit’s Wilderness. These books are suffused with the landscape and spirit of my own childhood. By looking back into the past, by re-imagining it and blending it with what I see around me now, I found a way to move forward and to become something that I am intensely happy to be: a writer for children.”

David Almond is the winner of the 2001 Michael L. Printz Award forKit’s Wilderness, which has also been named best book of the year by School Library Journal, Booklist, and Publishers Weekly. He has been called "the foremost practitioner in children's literature of magical realism." (Booklist) His first book for young readers, Skellig, is a Printz Honor winner. David Almond lives with his family in Newcastle, England.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Heaven Eyes 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had borrowed this book from the library so I could read it for fun and leisure, but this book was but one word: horrendous! What kind of book is this?! Through all of those spelling and grammar errors which made it extremely difficult to follow much less read, the book was extremely random and incohesive. I agree with those that said this book was not worth their time. No one should ever have to endure this kind of torture.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a great book and has such a good ending. The book pulls you through and wants you to learn more about little Heaven Eyes, where the dream world and the real world are the same
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think this book is wonderful! It is full of things that will help the reader understand it better! I think this book is very emotional in some parts and I advise that 7th grade and higher read it!
Isabella Robinson More than 1 year ago
This book is truly an amzing book full of feeling. It is an amazingly well written book with a beautiful plot.
Avid_Reader101 More than 1 year ago
Well . . . this book was deffinitely different. I liked it. It was different, saying, that the plot was very different. The characters each were different, but had a likeness that drawed them together. Each character, even heaven eyes and grandpa, were the same in some weird way. I would recommend for people who have a GREAT vocabulary. Not because this book is hard but because it has misspelled words, and british language. It is, like ihave said before, DIFFERENT! But i would give it 4 stars.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Well, I must say that Heaven Eyes is certainly different. I bought this book thinking that it was about something totally different then what it really was about. I thought it was pretty good. It wasn't my favorite or the worst, but it was one that I will remember because of its uniqueness. The way some of the characters talked was a new experience. I thought it was written beautifully, and the storyline was one you don't read about too much. The only negative thing I have to say would be that it seemed a little confusing. It ended leaving me with a few questions, it also never stated the character's ages. I am a very visual person, and I couldn't quite picture anything without knowing if they were 11 or 18.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I borrowed heaven eyes from the library because the cover was beautiful and the inside jacket or the back, I forgot it sounded interesting. It had such a bad beggining and it had no plot. After the first chapter I was reading it for the sake of reading. I had to force myself to pick it up and keep my eyes on the page. There was no climax no problem not much of anything. I wouldn't read it unless you can read books with no plots. If I could I wouldn't give it even a star.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Gifted Broadway, film and television actress Amanda Plummer brings excitement and drama to her reading of this imaginative tale. Erin and January have run away from the children's home before; they're both adventuresome and brave for ones so young. But this escape takes a frightening turn when they find themselves afloat on a deep, dark river, carried by powerful currents until they find a one-of-a-kind girl called Heaven Eyes. Now, not only does Heaven Eyes have a strange appearance - webbed hands and feet - but, she apparently has the ability to help these children find their place in the world. This is a story of courage, confidence, and comradery, a haunting narrative not easily forgotten.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If I could give half of a star I would. This book was a bitter disappointment. The book looked good when I borrowed it from the library, but it came out to be pointless and nothing was explained at all. It was basically the same for about ten chapters, with nothing new happening. When the 'climax' (I really did not think that there was an actual climax) was reached, the book was as boring as ever. I would not recommend this to anyone unless you like obscure books that make no sense.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a lovely book. David Almond gets inside the minds of the children he has created. He writes in such a way that the reader feels that they know the characters. He combines adventure with emotion, and does it perfectly. I stronly recommend that ANYONE shold read it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago