Created: 12th October, 2020

The Space We're In

Author: Katya Balen
Illustrator: Laura Carlin
Publisher: Bloomsbury

Katya Balen’s expertly crafted and emotionally engaging storytelling, mixed with Laura Carlin’s insightfully chosen illustrations take the reader on a rollercoaster journey of emotions. The first person narrative, told in the utterly authentic voice of ten-year-old Frank, immediately brings us into the immensely loving, but difficult world of his family, turned upside down since the birth of his brother, Max, who is autistic. Touching moments of joy, friendship and understanding sit alongside frustration, shame and strain, making for a carefully painted and realistic picture of their everyday life.

Chapter titles presented in Frank’s favourite number-letters-spiral cipher code, draw us further into his world and fascinations, heightening our empathy for him. A sudden tragedy brings the family to the depths of despair, but the love and understanding they have for each other brings a hopeful and uplifting ending.

Also by Katya Balen: October, October illustrated by Angela Harding (9781526601902), Bloomsbury, £12.99.