The Tower to the Sun By Colin Thompson




There is a 7-word sentence, guaranteed to get me to purchase/read a picture book; it is: This book is written by Colin Thompson. This is another of his gems.


A hundred years into the future, the richest man in the world is telling his grandson all about how the sky used to be blue and the sun used to be so bright you couldn’t look at it. Now, there is just a dull fog that sits on their shoulders and makes even seeing the mountains an impossibility.

The grandson wonders whether the sky is still blue beyond the clouds, but as there is not enough fuel left on earth to fly, how are they to find out?

Together, they try building a balloon, but it gets bogged in the thickness of the clouds. Then the grandson suggests building a tower and his grandfather decides that there is nothing better to spend his money on. So, they begin building.

Months turn into years and years into decades; the building continues, the tower gets higher and higher, but will they ever break through to blue?

Why I love it:

In this section, I could just say: ‘It’s a Colin Thompson book’ and that would be enough. His books are always so poignant and beautifully written and his illustrations are full of depth and detail, whilst being colourful and inviting.

I absolutely love that every single Colin Thompson book deals with an issue and subject matter, well worth dealing with. His topics are huge in their importance and subtle in their delivery. His stories leave me pondering and discussing and in a very real way, I always feel I’ve realised a thing or two and grown a little after reading.

That’s quite an achievement within a few short pages.

Themes to discuss with your child:

  • Future
  • Our planet
  • Climate change
  • Sustainability
  • Human existence
  • Regret
  • Memory
  • Family
  • Progress
  • History
  • Decision making

Questions to ask your child:

Before reading:
  • What do you think this book might be about?
  • Do you think this is a fiction book (a story) or a non-fiction book (facts)?
  • Is this a book you want to read? Why/why not?
  • What is the tower on the cover, made from?
  • Do you recognise any buildings in it?
  • Why do you think they might be building a tower to the sun?
After reading:
  • Did you enjoy this story? Why/why not?
  • Why do you think the clouds hung so low in this story? What do you think had caused this?
  • How would it feel to never see the sun or blue sky?
  • What do you think this story is trying to tell us or teach us?
  • What do you think you can do to help stop this from happening?
  • Why are picture story books like this so important?

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