We live in a society which tells boys that they need to be strong, that they need to be leaders, play sports and show no fear. However, these behaviours don’t come naturally to most, so what does it mean for the majority when they don’t think they measure up and then aren’t able to share how they feel?
Toxic masculinity is a very real phenomenon and boys need to be reassured that they can show their emotions – especially right now.
Big Boys Cry is about a little boy who is nervous about starting school, unaware that his father is much more worried than he is. It’s a moving look at how our words can affect our children, and why we need to choose them carefully.
Hands up who has a little worrier? Both Ivy and I have a tendency to be a bit anxious and the current situation has definitely exacerbated this. Who knew there were so many things to stress about?
Jeremy knows all about worries. From morning till night all he can think about is the potential danger swirling all around him, from shoe-eating worms and too-crunchy crackers right through to runaway dinosaurs and evil squirrels. His biggest fear is the wind though – so he tries not go outside on blustery days just in case.
But then one day fastidious Jeremy meets Maggie. With mismatched clothing and trailing shoelaces, she seems an unlikely friend but the two hit it off straight away. Maggie’s mantra is ‘What’s the worst that could happen?’ and fearful Jeremy is determined to show her!
Since Ivy started school last September we’ve had some struggles with perfectionism. If she’s not immediately the best at something then she gets disheartened and doesn’t want to try. It’s an uphill battle but, as always, we’ve found books really helpful to try and put things into perspective for her.
This new title in the Mini Monsters series has therefore come at just the right time for us. We both loved the first book – ‘Can I Play?’ – so Ivy was very excited to see a new story with familiar characters.
Scout, Sparkle, Arthur and Tiny are back once again and, having worked out how to play nicely together in book one, they have a brand new pres-school problem. They each want to be THE BEST.
Well here we are again! It’s lockdown 3.0 and I am really feeling it this time around. Ivy hasn’t seen her grandparents since August so she’s really missing them, plus the dreary weather and general sense of uncertainty is adding an extra layer of gloom.
If your little ones are feeling the same then you might want to take a peek at this heartwarming story which talks about how it feels to be separated from your nearest and dearest.
Hedgehog and Tortoise are the best of friends. They love to spend time together but they’re sad because they’re not allowed to go near each other right now. How can they show each other they care if they can’t hug?
Well that was quite the year! Whilst i’m extremely happy to see the back of 2020, the realist in me knows that the first few months of 2021 aren’t going to be much better. We live in a ‘high-risk’ area so Ivy won’t be returning to school next week as we had originally thought. She’s already missing her friends and is having to deal with so much change and uncertainty so i’m really sad for her.
As always, we turn to books in times of turmoil and this beauty by Michelle Robinson and Emily Hamilton is our current favourite. It follows a little girl in lockdown as she processes the fact she can’t see her friends and family.
The girl is feeling sad so her mum suggests they work on an art project together. They decide to create a rainbow to display in the window of their house, however the colours and materials trigger memories of the things that she misses. As her emotions threaten to overwhelm her, her parents pull together and turn the situation around.
If you’ve read ‘She’s Not Good For A Girl, She’s Just Good‘ then you’ll probably recognise the central character in this story. Back then, Frank had some pretty outdated views about how girls should behave, shaming his friend Florence at school because she wanted to be good at sports. Now Frank is back and we get a sneaky peek at his home life, which offers some interesting insight into how these thoughts were formed.
Hank, Frank’s Dad, was raised to believe that boys should behave in a certain way. They should play sports, have ‘boy’s toys’ and they definitely, definitely aren’t allowed to cry. These beliefs are so firmly ingrained that he parents Frank in the same way. When Frank bangs his head he is told to ‘Man up’ and his request for a shimmering butterfly wand is met with derision. As a result, Frank has learned to hold his feelings inside, no matter how much it hurts.
Helping kids develop a growth mindset is both tricky and vitally important. They need to learn the power of persistance but their big emotions mean that they are easily frustrated when they don’t get something right the first time.
Recently i’ve received lots of requests from parents for books which tackle this topic, probably because we’ve all been doing a bit more homeschooling than we expected in 2020! The one which I recommend most frequently is this one – The Magical Yet.
Written in beautifully tight rhyme, the story is about a little girl who is learning to ride her shiny new bike. When she struggles to pedal and steer the bike ends up on the ground and she refuses to try again.
Did your child start school or nursery this September? If so, I’d love to hear how they’re getting on. We’ve been experiencing a little bit of separation anxiety here over the last few weeks and have found this particular book really helpful.
Written by a Consultant Clinical Psychologist, the story follows young Bartley Bear as he navigates some big emotions. He’s feeling a little bit apprehensive about going to school and he’d really rather stay at home with Mum. Poor Bartley makes excuses when they try to leave the house, pulls back when he reaches the classroom door and really wants Mum to stay and play instead of go to work. However his teacher and friends rally around him and soon he is having fun making space rockets and riding around the playground on a shiny yellow bike. Mum is back before he even has a chance to miss her and he learns that he really can be ok without her by his side.
Hello Lucy and Paula! Thank you so much for chatting to me about your new book ‘Wanda’s Words Got Stuck’.
Could you give us a quick overview of what the book is about?
Lucy Rowland: Wanda the Witch is so shy she can’t talk and no matter how hard she tries, the words just won’t come out. But when another nervous little witch called Flo joins her class, Wanda realises that perhaps talking isn’t the only way to make friends. Then disaster strikes at the school magic contest…will Wanda have the courage to shout out the magic words and save Flo from the fire-breathing dragon?
Everything about this beautiful book is joyful – from the sheer poetry of the text through to the bright and bold illustrations. I love stories which focus on specific emotions and this one is really special because it looks at happiness from the point of view of a child.
If you ask an adult what makes them happy then the answers are generally unsurprising – their family, their friends, travel, a good book, a hot drink on a cold day – but kids see the world differently and their answers reflect that.
Seven year old Layla loves life and as we follow her through the pages of this story she shares all of the things which make her happy. She loves the night sky, eating spaghetti with a fork and climbing trees. She loves to listen to her dad tell her stories about his childhood. She loves dancing in the garden, feeding the chickens and picking vegetables to sell at the farmer’s market.