Katya Balen's October, October is a very special new addition to the shelf and deserves classic status - Times Children's Book of the Week
A classic in the making for anyone who ever longed to be WILD.
October and her dad live in the woods. They sleep in the house Dad built for them and eat the food they grow in the vegetable patches. They know the trees and the rocks and the lake and stars like best friends. They read the books they buy in town again and again until the pages are soft and yellow - until next year's town visit. They live in the woods and they are wild.
And that's the way it is.
Until the year October turns eleven. That's the year October rescues a baby owl. It's the year Dad falls out of the biggest tree in their woods. The year the woman who calls herself October's mother comes back. The year everything changes.
Written in Katya Balen's heart-stoppingly beautiful style, this book is a feast for the senses, filled with the woodsmoke smell of crisp autumn mornings and the sound of wellies squelching in river mud. And, as October fights to find the space to be wild in the whirling chaos of the world beyond the woods, it is also a feast for the soul.
Katya Balen read English at university and then completed an MPhil researching the impact of stories on autistic children's behaviour. She has worked in a variety of special-needs schools as a teaching assistant, and more recently co-founded Mainspring Arts - a not-for-profit organisation that provides mentoring and creative opportunities for neurodivergentMore about Katya Balen