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Owen and the Soldier

Written by Lisa Thompson

Illustrated by Mike Lowery

Key Stage 2

LoveReading View on Owen and the Soldier

Interest Age 8+ Reading Age 8

Highly Commended in the UKLA Book Awards 2021 | Shortlisted for the Children's Book Award 2020 | Shortlisted for the Blue Peter Book Awards 2020, Best Story category | July 2019 Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month July 2019

A beautifully told, deeply moving story about how a boy finds a special way of remembering his soldier father. When Owen’s father dies fighting in Syria he finds himself caring for his mum who isn’t coping well. School becomes a struggle as he doesn’t want to tell anyone but he finds comfort and refuge in the local memorial garden when there is a crumbing statue as a memorial to those who died in the First World War. When the council decide to remodel the garden and remove the statue Owen knows that he must take dramatic action. And fast. Luckily, he gets the chance to write a poem for the opening of his school’s new library. Owen’s poem captures the importance of remembering while his presentation of it and the effect it has on the council brings him resolution.

Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant or dyslexic readers aged 8+

Lisa Thompson, said of her Blue Peter nomination: “To have a book nominated for an award is wonderful, but to have a book in the final three of the Blue Peter Book Award is an absolute honour! I was an avid Blue Peter viewer as a child, and I am so delighted to see Owen and the Soldier included in the short list. It's so exciting!”

Julia Eccleshare M.B.E

More About This Book

Julia Eccleshare's Picks for July 2019:

The Curse of the School Rabbit by Judith Kerr

The Lost Tide Warrior by Catherine Doyle

Owen & the Soldier by Lisa Thompson

Squirm by Carl Hiaasen

Hello, Horse by Vivian French


Barrington Stoke is the foremost publisher of dyslexia friendly books and those for reluctant readers.  Here on Lovereading4kids we are constantly selecting new titles and refreshing our special dyslexia friendly category.

Click here to view our current selection which is broken down by age range.


Find out more about the UKLA Awards 2021.

The judges also wished to Highly Commend Owen and the Soldier by Lisa Thompson (Barrington Stoke) , which deals so movingly with grief, remembrance and mental health in such a short and highly accessible format.   UKLA 2021 7-10 age category 


Owen and the Soldier Synopsis

A crumbling stone soldier sits on a bench in the park. Only Owen understands how important he is. At home, Owen and his mum are struggling and there's nobody he can talk to. Hidden away in the park, Owen feels free to be himself. When the war-weary soldier is listening, his worries slip away. But nobody else cares about the soldier, and the town council want to tear him down. Owen's the only one who can save him but can he find the courage to speak up before it's too late?

Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant or dyslexic readers aged 8+

Find out all about the Blue Peter Awards here.

Owen and the Soldier Reader Reviews

In addition to our LoveReading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.

Interesting and exciting. I couldnt stop reading! Full review

Aidan Jones (Age 7)

Will Owen be able to convince the council to keep the statue in the park? This book is an easy read for anyone aged six and over who likes soldiers and doing bench flips. Full review

Lucas Blake (Age 8)

A clever and interesting book for fans of history, and those with worries Full review

Sam Briggs (Age 9)

I really enjoyed this story. It is truly beautiful and it is nice that Owen faced his fears for the soldier. It has an emotional message that I will never forget. Full review

Year 5 (Age 10)

I felt so emotional! Full review

Jessica (Age 10)

A lovely book which explores love, loss and remembrance very sensitively. A great short class read and a welcome addition to the Barringstoke Stoke range. Full review

Sarah Ormes (Librarian Reviewer)

Owen and the Soldier Press Reviews

“For my money, Lisa Thompson is one of the greatest treasures we have in contemporary children’s fiction. She effortlessly blends sentiment with skill, creating stories that excite the mind while tugging the heart. A rare, brilliant talent” Maz Evans

“A clever, thought?provoking story that draws parallels between past and present conflicts, and how we remember those lost so that we can move on” Emma Carroll

“This truly incredible tale that comes from the heart is both a gift and a gentle reminder of remembrance, appreciation and standing up for what you strongly believe in. No one writes stunning stories with the depth of emotion and empathy quite like Lisa does” Scott Evans, #PRIMARYSCHOOLBOOKCLUB

“This book tells a poignant and powerful story about the importance of remembering and feeling heard … it had me in tears!” Steph Elliot, A Little But A Lot Blog

“This small but perfectly formed novella is another guaranteed hit from Lisa Thompson … the messages she sends go right to your heart” K and O: Bonkers About Books Blog

Book Information

ISBN: 9781781128657
Publication date: 15th June 2019
Author: Lisa Thompson
Illustrator: Mike Lowery
Publisher: Barrington Stoke
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 96 pages
Year Groups: Key Stage 2

About Lisa Thompson

Lisa Thompson is a children’s novelist and the author of the best-selling The Goldfish Boy and The Light Jar. The Goldfish Boy was a Waterstones Children’s Book of the Month and was nominated for the Carnegie Medal, the Branford Boase Award and the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize. She lives in Suffolk with her family  

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