My book review of 'October, October' by Katya Balen and illustrated by Angela Harding

by Katya Balen and illustrated by Angela Harding
Recommended age: 8+
October, October
by Katya Balen and illustrated by Angela Harding

October lives with her dad in the woods. She's eleven and it's all she's ever known: a home in the trees, nestled beneath the hills, beside the river.

Then one day her father falls from a tree, her mother returns, and everything changes. October tries to find the wild world in her new home.

We meet October as she discovers a baby owl which has been abandoned. Her father teaches her to care for it, stressing the responsibility involved.

It means a journey into the nearby village and a reminder that October is different from the other children. She may not wear sparkly tops like the other girls, but she knows how to smell snow on the air, to grow an oak from a sapling and to be wild. 

But when her father is injured, for all her resourcefulness, October cannot live alone, and she has to learn to live in this other world, away from the wood, the river and the wildlife. And she has to live with the mother who abandoned her.

It's a compelling story whose message is very much of the moment. The text is interspersed with illustrations from Angela Harding.

This is a beautiful, gripping and informative read for children aged nine upwards.

Date of this review: November 2022