How does David Almond represent the characters Michael, Mina and Skellig in his book Skellig?

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booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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In David Almond's book, Skellig, Michael is presented as a young man with serious concerns: he is especially fearful that his baby sister will die. He loves her so much that the things that have been important to him in the past are pushed aside. He tips into his parents' room to look in the crib, just to see if she is all right. Michael is a serious young person, but when he discovers Skellig, he is able to assist him—this helps Michael because he can do nothing for his baby sister, but he can be there for Skellig.

Mina is a neighbor who is "outspoken" and scientifically minded—she is deeply interested in birds and other related topics:

[Mina] is obsessed, for the moment, with birds and the archaeopteryx, the evolutionary step between dinosaurs and modern birds.

She decides to share her pictures with Michael, and there are many, including finches (her favorites):

She opened her book...

It was full of birds. Pencil drawings, lots of them colored in blues and greens and reds.

Mina tries to get Michael to see the world from a different perspective. He helps her to become more adventurous—living in the world rather than watching it as from the outside. She is supportive and encouraging of Michael. He also trusts himself more when he realizes that Mina can see Skellig also—he decides he is not going crazy. Mina, as well as Michael, begins to grow as she helps Michael care for Skellig.

Skellig is a creature unlike anything Michael has seen before. When Michael finds him, he thinks Skellig is dead. He is like a pile of trash tucked away in the garage.

I found him in the garage . . . He was lying there in the darkness behind the tea chests, in the dust and dirt. It was as if he'd been there forever. He was filthy and pale and dried out and I thought he was dead.

Skellig is at first lethargic and unwelcoming—but soon he relaxes, begins to speak, and soon thrives on the positive energy and kindness that Michael and Mina shower him with, including aspirin for his "Arthur-Itis" and Chinese food, numbers "27 and 53"—his favorites. After dinner at home one night, Michael saves some food:

I tipped what was left of 27 and 53 into the takeout tray and put it in the outside bin.

Eventually Skellig becomes stronger and healthier. The youngsters come into their own when they care for, and begin to love, Skellig.

It seems that Skellig also possesses supernatural "powers." And the children are able to witness miracles in this angel-like creature.  Skellig shares his own brand of magic with the children, and they see his potential: how miraculous he is. He is awe-inspiring; but the children, too, have demonstrated their own kind of magic is seeing Skellig for who he is, and caring deeply about him, regardless of how he looks.

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