Owen and the Soldier: a brilliant tale about the importance of feeling heard
“Owen and his mum are struggling. It’s just the two of them now and they’re finding it difficult to ask for the help they need.
When Owen discovers a crumbling stone soldier in a memorial garden in the local park, it feels like he finally has someone he can talk to. But the town council can’t see how important the soldier is and they want to remove him. Owen’s so scared that he’ll be left on his own again, but can he find the courage he needs to save the soldier before it’s too late?”
The brilliant publishers of Barrington Stoke had heard how much of a Lisa Thompson fan I was, so asked if I wanted a proof of her newest book… I OBVIOUSLY SAID YES. Lisa is one of my auto-buy authors… she’s just brilliant.
So… Owen and the Soldier. This book tells the story of Owen, a young boy who is struggling a bit with everything that’s going on in his life. His mum is poorly, he’s not having the best time at school – he’s just not having a wonderful time and he feels really lonely. The one person who always makes Owen feel better, who always listens to him, is a stone statue of a soldier in the local park. Owen visits the soldier every day to talk to him. One day however, it is revealed that there are plans to move Owen’s soldier from the park… and Owen needs to find his voice to help do something about this.
I REALLY REALLY loved this book. It made me cry, a lot (I know, I know, you’re all shocked that I cried at a book). I think Owen is one of those brilliant characters who come along in MG books. He’s also another character that Lisa does so brilliantly: boys who are going through things. It’s something that I think we need more of in MG books. Here, you have a young boy who is struggling and trying to be strong because he’s the “man” of the house, when in reality his silence is him screaming out for help. A brave decision is made and he eventually gets the help that him and his mam so desperately need.
I also love the fact that despite the fact he doesn’t WANT to be heard, he ends up doing something which MAKES people listen. He finds something he is very passionate about and it helps him find his voice. Making a stand for something and fighting against his fears to talk about why it’s important to remember those who have gone turns things around for Owen.
This book has since been read by a few of my Y5s and they just adored it:
“This is a short book but it has such a big meaning. You’ve gotta stand up for something if you want something to change.”
“I loved Owen because he was scared of something at the beginning, but then he changed and it made everything better. We all need to be a bit brave sometimes”
“I loved that this book was a brilliant story in such a short story. You don’t need loads of pages to tell an important story. All stories are important because everyone deserves to be heard – just like Owen”
My goodreads review is SHORT, but says it all:
Really bloody enjoyed this. Owen is a BRILLIANT MC and this story is proper touching. Man, I’m definitely not in bed crying… NOPE.
A massive massive thank you to the publishers for sending me a review copy! I can’t wait for the finished copies, because I ADORE that cover so much and I think this is a story that children should read.