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A Monster Calls facts for kids

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A Monster Calls
A Monster Calls.jpg
First edition cover
Author Patrick Ness
Illustrator Jim Kay
Cover artist Jim Kay
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre Fantasy novel
Publisher Walker Books
Publication date
5 May 2011
Media type Print (hardcover)
Pages 214 pp (first edition) 152 pp (pdf edition)
ISBN 978-1-4063-1152-5
OCLC 754586643
LC Class PZ7.N43843 Mok 2011

A Monster Calls is a low fantasy novel written for young adults by Patrick Ness, from an original idea by Siobhan Dowd, illustrated by Jim Kay and published by Walker in 2011. Set in present-day England, it features a boy who struggles to cope with the consequences of his mother's illness. He is repeatedly visited in the middle of the night by a monster who tells stories. Dowd was terminally ill with cancer herself when she started the story and died before she could write it.

Ness and Kay won the Carnegie Medal and the Greenaway Medal in 2012, the "year's best" children's literary awards by the British librarians (CILIP). A Monster Calls is the only book to have won both Medals.

The novel was adapted into the 2016 movie of the same name.


Ness and Kay won the Carnegie and Greenaway Medals for writing and illustration, recognising the year's best work published in the UK. The double win alone is unprecedented in more than fifty years since the illustration award was established. A Monster Calls also won the British Children's Book of the Year, voted by an "academy of 750 book industry experts"; the Red House Children's Book Award, overall, a national award voted by British children; and the Kitschies Red Tentacle award for speculative fiction, best novel published in the UK. In the U.S., the American Library Association magazine Booklist named it the "Top of the List" for 2011 youth fiction.

Daily newspapers including The Independent, Chicago Sun-Times, and The Wall Street Journal named it to year-end "Best" lists.

Film adaptation

On 5 March 2014, Focus Features purchased the film rights to the book and at the time committed $20 million in P&A (prints and advertising) to release the movie. On 9 April 2014, it was announced that a film based on the book would be released by Focus Features on 14 October 2016. The film was directed by Juan Antonio Bayona and written by the book's author Patrick Ness. On 23 April 2014, Felicity Jones joined the film to play the boy's mother. On 8 May, Liam Neeson joined the film to voice the Monster. On 18 August, Sigourney Weaver joined to play the boy's grandmother. On 19 August, Toby Kebbell also joined the film to play the boy's father.

The film premiered on 10 September 2016 at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival. It was released in Spain on 7 October 2016 and was released in the United States on 5 January 2017.

Stage adaptation

On 24 October 2017, Patrick Ness announced via Instagram that a stage adaptation was being made. Sally Cookson was later announced as the director, with Adam Peck as Dramaturg (Writer in the Room) and Miranda Cromwell as Associate Director. The play won an Olivier award in 2019 for Best Entertainment and Family. The play was previewed at the Bristol Old Vic on 7 July before having its first run at The Old Vic, as part of their 200th anniversary season, from 17 July.

  • —immediately, first US edition
Preceded by
Monsters of Men
Carnegie Medal recipient
Succeeded by
Maggot Moon
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