Owen and the Soldier
Publisher: Barrington Stoke
Owen lost his dad a while ago and his mum hasn’t been herself since. He holds her when she’s upset and does most of the household chores. At school, Mr Jennings picks Owen to recite a poem at an upcoming event but Owen gets anxious speaking in public. He finds solace in the park, where a crumbling statue of a soldier sits. Owen finds companionship with the solder and shows him stunt moves and shares his worries.
Unfortunately, the council have plans to revamp the memorial garden and remove the solder. Owen is distraught and writes a complaint to the local newspaper but they don’t seem interested in saving the statue. When Owen finds out the local councillor will be at the poetry recital though, he decides he might attend after all.
A beautiful tale of a courageous young man who overcomes his fears to stand up for what he believes. Lisa Thompson writes stories that must be written. Here, she sensitively weaves complex ideas of young carers, social anxiety and remembrance into a story that somehow remains light and accessible.
This story features a dyslexia-friendly font and is suitable for struggling or reluctant readers, though parents/guardians should be aware that loss and grief feature in the story.