The Circles in the Sky

By Karl James Mountford

A beautiful and sensitive exploration of grief, loss and hope from Karl James Mountford, in his much-awaited author-illustrator debut.

One day, Fox is drawn to something in the forest – it’s something small, something silent, perhaps forgotten. It’s a bird, as still as can be. Fox is confused, upset and angry – is the bird broken? But then a little moth comes along. Kind and wise and comforting, Moth shares a gentle philosophy to help Fox understand: the story of the circles in the sky. Told with sensitivity and style, Karl James Mountford weaves a story of grief, loss and, most importantly, hope.

Categories: Picture Books

For readers aged: 3+

  • Publication details:
  • Format: Hardback
  • ISBN: 9781529502572
  • Published: 01 Sep 2022
  • Price: £12.99
  • Size: 280 x 200 mm
  • Pages: 40

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Customer reviews


'Beautifully and stylishly illustrated, this is a moving story about loss and hope' The Bookseller

'Written with gentleness and sensitivity, and stylishly illustrated in a stunning palette of muted colours, this exploration of grief – told in the manner of a contemporary folk tale – is ideal as a helping hand for youngsters coping with bereavement.' Lancashire Evening Post

'This is a gentle way of talking about death that is perfectly pitched for little ones.[…] With stunning artwork in rich autumnal colours, this first picture book written and illustrated by Karl James Mountford is utterly beautiful in both mood and style. It will be pored over for its beauty as well as the message.' BookTrust

'Karl James Mountford has created one of the most beautiful books I have ever seen […] The Circles In The Sky is a powerful, poignant story of love, loss, grief and hope. It is a book that I want to place in the hands of every bereaved mother, every sibling suffering loss, every family with an empty place at the their table. The Circles In The Sky is stunning.' Edspire

'After reading this intensely powerful fable-like picture book I needed to sit quietly and just be for a while. […] Not a single hint of talking down to children is there in this awesome book, just a beautiful message beautifully presented.' Red Reading Hub

'The beautiful illustrations have a timeless quality […] This thought-provoking tale of Fox and Moth provides a gentle way of discussing grief and loss with little readers. A treasure of a book!' @littlelibraryowl

'Sensitive and stylish we learn the importance of hope in the face of loss and grief.' Armadillo Magazine

'What a picture book. It’s bold and it’s beautiful. It doesn’t shy away from the experience of death and the complex emotions and feelings surrounding loss and grief but it does so in the most sensitive and moving of ways.' Mini Travellers Blog

'Mountford’s mastery of colour is on fine display. The softness and gentleness of the language and interaction is mirrored in the utterly absorbing illustration. […] A beautiful book on coming to terms with loss, and the circularity of things. It respects the dignity of children’s own responses to what is, for many of them, their greatest fear.' Just Imagine

'[…] it is beautiful: the illustrations ooze calm and comfort, the autumnal spreads inviting pause. But it’s the story that really captures your heart.' Teach Primary

'My three year old and I were captivated by this beautiful book about loss and grief.' 'Editor’s Picks’, Green Parent

'Featured in Pen & Inc Autumn/Winter 2022 listings, highlighting the best in diversity and inclusion in children's books.' Pen & Inc

'A sensitive tale of grief, friendship and hope.' Creative Steps

'This sensitively told tale is a must for schools.' The School Librarian

'The Circles in the Sky showcases Mountford’s storytelling talent, making the world of children’s books much richer. The story beautifully honours the cycle of life […] Rather than shying away from or obliquely addressing them, The Circles in the Sky embraces these themes with a visually stunning book that offers a touching and truthful exploration of life and death in the natural world. It opens the door for readers of all ages to ask similarly profound questions.' Books for Keeps

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