Thunder and Lightnings

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Thunder and Lightnings
Thunder and Lightnings cover.jpg
First edition
Author Jan Mark
IllustratorJim Russell
CountryUnited Kingdom
Genre Children's realist novel
Publisher Kestrel Books
Publication date
April 1976
Media typePrint
Pages174 pp (first edition)
ISBN 0-7226-5195-3
OCLC 16292884
LC Class PZ7.M33924 Th 1979 [1]

Thunder and Lightnings is a realistic children's novel by Jan Mark, published in 1976 by Kestrel Books of Harmondsworth in London, with illustrations by Jim Russell. Set in Norfolk, it features a developing friendship between two boys who share an interest in aeroplanes, living near RAF Coltishall during the months in 1974 when the Royal Air Force is phasing out its English Electric Lightning fighters and introducing the SEPECAT Jaguar.


Mark won the annual Carnegie Medal from the Library Association, recognising the year's best children's book by a British subject. [2] She also won a prize for children's novels by new writers, sponsored by The Guardian newspaper. [lower-alpha 1]

Atheneum Books published the first U.S. edition in 1979, retaining the Russell illustrations. [1]


Jan and Neil Mark and their daughter Isobel moved to Norfolk in 1973 and lived "directly under a flight-path, with Lightning fighters from RAF Coltishall taking off 200 feet above the roof". [3] According to her obituary in The Guardian, she wrote her debut novel Thunder and Lightnings for "the Kestrel/Guardian prize for a children's novel by a previously unpublished writer", and won it. [4] [lower-alpha 1]

Plot summary

Andrew Mitchell moves to Tiler's Cottage in East Anglia. He goes to his new school and meets Victor Skelton in General Studies class. The two slowly become friends and do things together, including going to RAF Coltishall to see the aeroplanes, which are English Electric Lightnings. Victor is devastated when he discovers that his beloved Lightnings are to be replaced with Jaguars.

See also


  1. 1 2 This was not the venerable Guardian Children's Fiction Prize (1966 to present), which annually recognises a book by someone who has not yet won the award; Jan Mark never won that. Evidently it was co-sponsored by a publisher; 2006 obituaries in The Guardian and The Independent named it "Kestrel/Guardian" and "Penguin/Guardian" respectively.

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  1. 1 2 "Thunder and lightnings" (first U.S. edition). Library of Congress Catalog Record. Retrieved 2012-07-27.
  2. Carnegie Winner 1976. Living Archive: Celebrating the Carnegie and Greenaway Winners. CILIP. Retrieved 2018-02-27.
  3. "Jan Mark: Prolific and distinctive children's writer who found her voice with her first book, Thunder and Lightnings" (obituary). Nicholas Tucker. The Independent 18 January 2006. Retrieved 2012-09-08.
  4. "Jan Mark: Leading children's writer with a soft spot for cats and a robust view of the book trade" (obituary). David Fickling, Philip Pullman, and Jon Appleton. The Guardian 23 January 2006. Retrieved 2012-09-08.

Thunder and Lightnings in libraries ( WorldCat catalog) —immediately, first US edition

Preceded by Carnegie Medal recipient
Succeeded by