This exceptional novel is narrated by ten-year-old Frank, who likes maths and football. His five-year-old brother, Max, has meltdowns in shoe shops, eats only Quavers and chips, and spins, hums and bites when in distress. We are shown the impact on a child of having a sibling who has autism, and the story chronicles the anger, betrayal, loyalty and love in their relationship. The book has at its core a shocking loss, through which we feel Frank’s despair and then watch him grow. Illustrated with suitably childlike monochrome images, the book has coded chapter headings spelt out in numbers corresponding to the letters of the alphabet, and sometimes expressive typography.
In The Space We’re In by Katya Balen, illustrated atmospherically by Laura Carlin, Frank loves his autistic brother Max – but is sometimes angry with Max’s demands. When tragedy strikes their family, can the brothers learn to weather it together? This sensitive, heartbreaking story boasts a wonderful narrative voice and secret codes that add another layer of intrigue.