The Light In Everything by Katya Balen

Written by Katya Balen, Illustrations by Sydney Smith, Published by Bloomsbury

Katya Balen writes with such intensity and emotion that you tend to get drawn in quickly and fervently. This unique story is told in two perspectives, Zofia and Tom. They are similar age but have led very different lives up to the point in which they meet.

Zofia and her Dad live near the sea and Zofia is wild, tempestuous and bold. Tom lives with his mum, and is worried, uncertain and quiet. With just the one parent, each has developed a firm bond and it is hard to then have to share.

When Tom and Zofia become a blended family, there is such hatred, fear and animosity towards each other. Zofia does not want to share her Dad, home, friends or dog. Tom does not like the noise and chaos of living with Zofia.Tom is holding on to some trauma and finds confiding these a difficult and sensitive issue.

The paper cranes are a coping mechanism for Tom in the same way the sea can calm Zofia. Like Zofia in the story, my own attempts at a paper crane were not worth sharing in this post but I can see the accuracy and creativity needed.

Reading each side of the story is eye opening and as the reader, we can see hope for Tom and Zofia but we can also see the obstacles they will have to overcome. Filled with heart, hope and a giant wish…there are scenes in this book that filled me with utter joy and hope, while others made me rage. As with every Katya Balen book I have read, there were tears flowing down my cheeks. The sheer beauty of her stories always move me.

I loved seeing the two children come to exist together and to welcome new parts of life into their worlds. Incredibly powerful, Katya has completely understood the massive range of emotions that children will go through when met with adversity, trauma or blending families.

Love conquers all in those tales!

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