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The Girl Who Became A Fish - Polly Ho-Yen, ill. by Sojung Kim-McCarthy

An absolute honour and privilege to be the first on the blog tour for this lovely book from fab author, Polly Ho-Yen. I'm already a big fan, after using previous books of Polly's in class ('Boy in the Tower' and 'How I Saved The World In A Week' being two stand outs for me) and having had the fortune to have had her visit school for workshops and author talks on several occasions.

This latest offer, from publishers Knights Of ( ) is very different to those two - no alien species or viruses here - but is a joy to read and full of the same messages of hope, family, bravery and relationships to family and nature, this time in the form of a river with magical properties that help main character Ita discover her bravery and feel able to face her fears.

As part of the blogtour, I'm thrilled to be able to share an exclusive extract here on whatiread for you:

Definitely aimed at younger readers, it shows Polly's experience of being a primary school teacher herself, dealing with themes of facing fears, friendships and family issues sensitively and thoughtfully in the guise of this gentle tale. The text is larger print and clearly set out to make this more accessible for younger readers, and there are fun and engaging illustrations alongside and throughout which also add to the joy of reading the story (see the example page-spreads below).

Ita is afraid of lots of things.
She’s afraid of talking to her classmates at her new school. She’s afraid of walking through her new town. But most of all she is afraid of water.
When one day she realises the river in her new town turns her into a fish, she is forced to face up to her fears. In doing so, can she bring her family together again?

Text copyright © Polly Ho-Yen, 2023

Illustrations copyright © Sojung Kim-McCarthy, 2023

Check out what others have to say about the book at the following stops on the blogtour:

The Author:

Polly Ho-Yen used to be a primary school teacher in London and, while she was teaching there, she used to get up very early in the morning to write stories. The first of those stories is BOY IN THE TOWER. Her books have been shortlisted for, among others awards, the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize and the Blue Peter Book Award. She’s still writing stories and though she doesn’t teach now, she still visits schools… only now they’re all over the country. She lives in Bristol with her husband and daughter.

The Illustrator:

Sojung Kim-McCarthy is an award-winning, versatile illustrator who dances freely between a dreamy, colourful kidlit style and a more realistic, painterly one.

Find out more at:

Follow Polly on Instagram as @iambookhorse

Order a copy at:

My thanks to Polly, Knights Of, and Catherine Ward PR ( for the copy of the book, extract and spot on the blogtour.

Post by Rich Simpson (@richreadalot) November 2023

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