Reading picture books to young children is one of the best ways I know of adding joy to the day. Anything that increases joy must be good for mental health, right? But for some children, the joy is momentary as they grapple with worries and other issues. Sometimes, it’s useful to find books that help children identify and discuss the things that trouble them in order for them to find a way out.
In this post, part of a Books on Tour Promotion, I share two books written by Michelle Worthington and illustrated by Adyna Ferre. The books are published by Daisy Lane Publishing for the Willing Kids Program which aims to improve literacy through improving mental health and mental health through literacy.
About author Michelle Worthington
Michelle Worthington is an international award-winning author and screen play writer. Two-time winner of the International Book Award and finalist in the USA Best Book Awards, Michelle also received a Gellett Burgess Award and a Silver Moonbeam Award for her contribution to celebrating diversity in literature. Michelle addresses mental health through literacy with her picture books.
I previously introduced Michelle to you when I interviewed her about Super Nicholas, a picture book about a little boy with a big heart and a kindness superpower.
About the books
The Wind and The Mouse
The Wind and The Mouse is a story about change — accepting and adapting to it.
When the spring wind blows around the fields, waking the plants and animals and teasing them into new growth, mouse sleeps on, comfortable and warm in her soft bed. Mouse doesn’t want to things to change. She wants things to stay as they are.
But Wind is determined to show Mouse that beautiful things can come with change. Will Mouse be brave enough to embrace the changes over which she has no control? What will entice her out of bed and into the wonders of spring?
What I like about The Wind and The Mouse
I am sure many of us, children included, experience days when we’d rather stay in our soft warm beds and let the world go on without us. But we can’t stay there forever. We must be brave and face the day eventually. The story can be understood and discussed in this immediate sense, when we’d rather not have to face a situation or event coming up on that particular day, such as a spelling test, or returning to school after the holidays.
However, the story can also be used as a springboard to discuss bigger changes over which we may have little control, but which have deeper and more profound effects on our lives; for example, the death of a loved one, parents’ divorce, moving home, or the birth of a sibling.
There are many changes from which we may wish to withdraw, but really the only thing to do is to face them and do our best to find new beauty in the world that has changed, as Mouse does in this story. Mouse finds that, not only has the world changed, but she has changed too. She is now bigger and braver.
Gentle books such as this that introduce children to the idea of change as inevitable provide them with opportunities for discussing their fears about change and ways of accepting and adapting to it. Often when fears are discussed and confronted, they reduce in size and become more manageable.
Written with children facing difficult situations in mind, the story is available in print and online as an animated telling, making it accessible for all children and appealing even to those who might be challenged by sitting still looking at pages of a book. The story is perfect for classroom or home use and the delightful text encourages children to join in with the reading.
Purchase your own copy of The Wind and The Mouse from:
Amazon AU, UK, US
View the animation of the story on YouTube here:
About The Mouse and The Egg
The Mouse and The Egg is a story about kindness, friendship and responsibility.
Mama Bird has a lot to do before her baby comes. She asks Mouse if she will look after the egg and keep it warm while she (Mama Bird) looks for food. Mouse is happy to help out as Mama Bird has always been kind to her.
However, sitting still on the egg and keeping very quiet doesn’t come easily to Mouse and she is soon looking for ways to beat the boredom.
How long will it take for Mouse to realise that looking after an egg may not be as easy as she thought? Will Mouse be able to fulfil her promise of looking after the egg? What will Mama Bird find when she returns?
What I like about The Mouse and The Egg
Children will delight in the antics of kind-hearted Mouse as she does her best to fulfil her responsibilities in looking after the egg. The whole job would have been a lot easier if only that egg had behaved.
The humorous situations make it easy for children to see where Mouse has gone wrong and what she should have done instead. The story provides a great opening for discussions about situations which children find challenging and strategies they can use to overcome the difficulties.
I like the way kindness, taking responsibilities for one’s actions, and being responsible for outcomes are all woven into this one delightful story. The story offers opportunities for different discussions to occur with subsequent readings.
Sometimes when things don’t go as planned, it can be easy to blame another, but Mouse shows that it is possible to acknowledge or own up for what one has done.
Sensitively told for children who may be challenged by accepting responsibility, this gentle story is available in print and online as an animated telling which makes it accessible for all children and appeals even to those who might find sitting still looking at pages of a book difficult. The story is perfect for classroom or home use and the delightful text encourages children to join in with the reading.
Purchase your own copy of The Mouse and The Egg from:
Amazon AU, UK, US
A sensory friendly animation of the book is also available on YouTube here.
Follow this link to read why Michelle considers it important to make animated stories available to children, and for a chance to win a copy of both books.
Find out more about Michelle Worthington
from her website: michelleworthington.com
or her blog: mworthington-author.blogspot.com/
Connect with her on social media
YouTube: Michelle Worthington – YouTube
Or read more on the Books on Tour website or from any of the other blogs engaged in this tour.
While you are here, remember to checkout the complete readilearn collection of
over 450 teaching resources for the first three years of school
Resources beyond worksheets – lessons for teachers made by teachers.
Let readilearn lighten your workload.
I appreciate your feedback and comments. Please share your thoughts below.