October 4, 2023

In episode 123 of the Your Kid’s Next Read podcast:

10 minutes with Katya Balen

Allison interviews award-winning author Katya Balen about her lyrical new middle-grade novel FOXLIGHT, writing for kids (not adults), and winning the Yoto Carnegie Medal. Plus, Megan has a raft of New Zealand titles to recommend and Allison has a workshop for aspiring children’s authors.

Books we mention

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Bookmail and TBR pile

‘Eddy, Eddy’ by Kate de Goldi 

Atua: Maori Gods and Heroes by Gavin Bishop 

‘Kereru’ by Glenda Kane, Lisa Allen 


Diprotodon: A Megafauna Journey by Bronwyn Saunders, illustrated by Andrew Plant

The Rebels of Mount Buffalo by Dr Helen Edwards



Three tips for writing narrative non-fiction for kids

Helen Edwards book and vintage shop


10 minutes with Katya Balen

Katya Balen is an award-winning author of books for children. Katya’s debut novel, The Space We’re In, was published in 2019 and was highly commended for the Branford Boase Award. Her second, October, October, won the Yoto Carnegie Medal. Her third novel, The Light in Everything, was published in 2022, and now we have her latest novel, Foxlight. 

Katya Balen headsho

Foxlight by Katya Balen

Foxlight by Katya BalenFrom the author of October, October, winner of the Yoto Carnegie Medal, comes a heartbreaking and heart-warming story about sisterhood, found family and accepting love in the most unusual and unknown places.

Fen and Rey were found curled up small and tight in the fiery fur of the foxes at the very edge of the wildlands. Fen is loud and fierce and free. She feels a connection to foxes and a calling from the wild that she’s desperate to return to. Rey is quiet and shy and an expert on nature. She reads about the birds, feeds the lands and nurtures the world around her.

They are twin sisters. Different and the same. Separate and connected. They will always have each other, even if they don’t have a mother and don’t know their beginning. But they do want answers. Answers to who their mother is and where she might be. What their story is and how it began. So when a fox appears late one night at the house, Fen and Rey see it as a sign – it’s here to lead them to their truth, find their real family and fill the missing piece they have felt since they were born.

But the wildlands are exactly that: wild. They are wicked and cruel and brutal and this journey will be harder and more life changing than either Fen or Rey ever imagined …

Buy now from Booktopia.


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Interview with Katya Balen about Foxlight