Between Sea and Sky

Between Sea and Sky

By Author / Illustrator

Nicola Penfold



Age range(s)



Little Tiger Press Group




Paperback / softback




In a near future where a series of environmental disasters has left much of the country underwater, Pearl lives on a floating oyster farm with her father and younger sister, Clover. Following her mum's death several years earlier, Pearl refuses to set foot on land, believing her illness was caused by the poisons in the ground. Meanwhile, Clover dreams of school, friends and a normal life.

Then Nat comes to spend the summer at the sea farm while his scientist mum conducts some experiments. Leaving behind the mainland, with its strict rules and regulations, he brings with him a secret. But when the sisters promise to keep his secret safe, little do they realize that they may be risking everything...

A thrilling and thought-provoking ecological adventure from the author of the highly acclaimed WHERE THE WORLD TURNS WILD. Perfect for fans of THE EXPLORER, THE LAST WILD and WHERE THE RIVER RUNS GOLD.

Q&A and Video with Nicola Penfold



Between Sea and Sky by Nicola Penfold is a fantastic adventure story. I knew this would be a brilliant read after the success of Where the World Turns Wild and I was not disappointed.

The story is set in the near future following several environmental disasters which have left our planet damaged, flooded and in a state of recovery never seen before. With strict rules and regulations, risk of years of hunger again and no evidence of improvement, the time is bleak. Sisters Pearl and Clover live on a floating oyster sea farm, harvesting food from the sea and diving with porpoises. Clover, the youngest, is intrigued to explore the land and attend school, however, Pearl has no such desire; she fears the land and believes that if her mother had stayed at sea she would still be alive.

The story takes an interesting turn and gathers pace when Nat, a 'landlubber', and his mum come to stay with Pearl, Clover and their dad. Nat's mum has been sent to the farm to complete important scientific investigations. However, arguably the more exciting and important discoveries start with the secret Nat has brought to the farm. The sisters promise to keep Nat's secret but neither of them could have ever imagined the size and wonder of the secret they now have to keep.

This beautifully told adventure story will grip its readers and inspire children to consider how we care for this beautiful planet we live on. The tension and drama run throughout the story which makes it a real page turner and a perfect class read for any KS2 class. Between Sea and Sky is a very topical story and would be a brilliant hook for units of work focusing on the environment and the changes we can make to care for the planet. This text also has many great examples of descriptive setting and adventure story writing.

I would highly recommend Between Sea and Sky as it is a thought-provoking, modern adventure story with an important environmental message that would appeal to all children across KS2. I know I will return to this text many times in my teaching career and look forward to sharing it with many children, thank you Nicola!

352 pages / Reviewed by Nathan Cox, teacher

Suggested Reading Age 9+


This is the first Nicola Penfold book I've read and I have to say I will be looking for more. This story is beautifully written, giving the reader a real feeling of knowing the characters. There are so many themes threaded throughout this story; sibling love, grief, family secrets, present/future environmental issues and ecology.

For Key Stage 2 children this would be a challenging read, however, with some explanation they would totally get it. Kate Forrester’s cover is simply stunning with so many clues to the story within. Very clever. The links with science, geography and PSHE throughout this text would be great for year 6 to explore and for a class teacher, the short chapters are really useful. It means one can use them as a standalone text for writing or for enjoyment. This seems to be quite rare in upper key stage two books at the moment.

I loved they way Nicola wove the threads of her characters' stories together and, without giving anything away, I really didn't see the family secret coming.

352 pages / Ages 10+ / Reviewed by Sharon Porter, teacher

Suggested Reading Age 11+


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