Tag Archives: Glenda Millard

the stars at oktober bend by Glenda Millard

14 Mar

Australian author Glenda Millard is highly respected for her work in her home country and deserves to be as well-known and respected in the UK. Old Barn Books are releasing her works to a wider audience and the stars at oktober bend had me wowed.


‘Alice Nightingale writes about how it is to have perfect thoughts that come out in slow, slurred speech. She imagines herself stepping into clear midair with wings made of words and feathers.

Manny James runs at night, trying to escape memories of his past. He sees Alice on the roof of her river-house, looking like a figurehead on a ship sailing through the stars. He has a poem in his pocket and he knows the words by heart. He is sure that the girl has written them.

Alice longs to be everything a fifteen-year-old girl can be. And when she sees the running boy she is anchored to the earth by her desire to see him again.’

Glenda Millard’s writing is beautiful. Evocative and lyrical, the stars at oktober bend explores the healing power of creativity and hope and the importance of family – however it is formed.

Alice and Manny are both survivors. Alice from a violent assault and Manny from war in his home country. Both are learning to live and trust again and to move on from the guilt they feel over the loss of their families. Despite the premise, this book sings of hope. It is in the poems Alice writes, the intricate fishing flies she makes from feathers, and in the way trust develops friendships into family. the stars at oktober bend opens our eyes to the darkness in the world – and feels very relevant in these times of Trump – but it also shines a light. In the words of Alice, ‘if we let cowards stop us living the way we want to, we let them win.’

A special mention, too, for Ruth Grüner’s stunning cover design which manages to echo the book perfectly.

Old Barn Books are releasing a further novel by Glenda Millard. Keep your eyes open for A Small Free Kiss in the Dark this summer.

Source – bought from my lovely local indie bookshop, Bags of Books in Lewes.

Looking forward for a future

13 May

The Duck and the Darklings by Glenda Millard and Stephen Michael King is a beautiful book that had me entirely enthralled. I was captivated by its use of language and the stunning design.


The Duck and the Darklings tells the story of Peterboy and Grandpapa who live underground in a community of Darklings. They live underground because the world above them has been ruined and destroyed. Everyone but Grandpapa has forgotten what the earth had once been like. One day, when Peterboy is searching in the finding fields he comes across an Idaduck. He takes her back to Grandpapa who heals her wings but cannot stop her wanderlust. The Idaduck reminds Grandpapa of what the earth used to be and he tells stories of the long-ago. But his tales can’t stop her longing and instead they decide to throw a ‘fine and fitting fare-thee-well’ for Idaduck. They dance and sing until night ends and, to their surprise, the sun rises and they see the start of the most wondrous day.

The language is filled with idiom and childlike imagination and is brilliantly reminiscent of traditional oral storytelling. It has a beautiful rhythm that lends itself to reading aloud.

‘Over heaps and hummocks of lost and lonely things they clambered, gathering fiddlesticks for firewood, filling billies with trickle and seeking crumbs of comfort to take home.’
‘There are holes in the dark, Grandpapa, and light leaks through! It slides down the steeps, puddles in the deeps and glimmers on the trickle.’


The illustration and design is fantastic. Brilliant use of dark and light, line and colour and gorgeous multicoloured typeface. This is a wonderful example of the text and the illustration working together to create more than the sum of their parts.

Full of touching relationships, gentle wonder and hope, The Duck and the Darklings celebrates the power of stories and imagination and the importance of memories and hope. It is also a fantastic book to use with children who are learning about the environment and climate change. It opens up some interesting questions without being didactic.

I can’t tell you how delicious this book is! But I can tell you that you can order a copy through Hive here.

Source- kindly sent for review by Allen & Unwin Books