Book Review, Middle Grade Fiction

Birdsong by Katya Balen

The healing power of nature and music weaves its way through this stunning story. In Annie, Katya Balen has created another character who is so unique and so real. Her inner voice is strong, vibrating with emotion and truth that will gently wind its way inside the reader and change them. This is a book to dwell in, letting the story wash over you and settle your soul.

Annie’s life is nothing without music. It runs through her veins, shapes her thoughts and accompanies every moment of her day. Her flute is an extension of her self, a part of her that she can’t imagine being without. She dreams of a place at Greengage Music School where her music can really take flight.

Then the crash changes everything. Instead of melodies, silent anger fills her mind. Her damaged hand has forgotten how to play the music that once brought her so much joy.

When Annie and her mother move house, she meets a new friend, Noah, and the wild blackbirds he cares for. Day by day, step by step, note by note, he and the birds help Annie to remember what music can do.

Katya Balen and Barrington Stoke is a wonderful combination. The beauty of the story placed in Barrington Stoke’s accessible style makes this book unputdownable. It is reassuring to know that so many children will be able to experience Katya’s wonderful storytelling without print, contrast, vocabulary or length getting in the way.

Thank you so much to Barrington Stoke for an early copy of this special book!

Click on the covers below to find out more or purchase on-line from Amazon or

Books by Kate Heap:

Contemporary Children’s Literature: Years 3/4

Nonfiction: Years 5/6

Nonfiction: Years 3/4

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