Queen of Konmari Challenge: Stage 2 – Books

Well, I thought that sorting out the books would be a piece of cake, but it turns out I was so, so wrong. Putting my books through the Konmari wringer was very difficult for me, basically because it was just so labour-intensive!

I started off by walking around the house, just picking up every single stray book and putting them on the spare room bed. This took me about half an hour, and as you can see from the picture below, I hadn’t even emptied my book shelves before the bed was completely covered in books.

Once I started emptying my bookshelves, that’s when I started feeling nauseous and lightheaded. My thoughts were all over the place. How could I possible get rid of any of these precious books?! It was unthinkable! What am I doing? WHY am I doing this? THESE ARE BOOKS!! Also, why have I put random bits of paper and all sorts of rubbish around my books?

I was almost going to stop, but I decided to press on. I broke out into a cold sweat and started retching whilst trying to get all the books out of the cupboard and into stacks as quickly as possible. I also managed to gather together a bag of garbage, mostly half written notes, receipts or grocery lists, even junk mail that had somehow found their way into the pages of my books.

It took me a whole hour to get all my books together.

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On left: All the books from around the house. On Right: All the books.

After I emptied my bookshelves, I had so many books stacked on the floor and on the bed, that I had essentially blocked off my exit from the spare bedroom! Additionally, the books on the bed weren’t staying in neat stacks but had started to slide all over the place, and I risked knocking the whole lot onto the floor.

This is probably why Konmari advises one to lay everything out on the floor. It’s much easier to step around piles on the floor to get things that are out of arms’ reach, and if anything starts to tip over, at least it won’t fall too far! I shall keep this in mind once I reach the part where I have to handle breakables.

Fortunately, the spare room is connected to the children’s room by a balcony, so I had the kids let me in through their balcony (you can see how this could have gone VERY wrong, huh?).

I shut the spare room door and told the kids not to enter, then I went to get a drink of water and sit down for a few minutes to calm down. Then, I threw away the bag of rubbish that I accumulated. That was where I decided to stop for the day, because I knew I didn’t have the emotional strength in me to start sorting through the books as well.

The next morning, I was feeling slightly better, so I started out by going through the children’s books first. I slowly took out books that I never really liked, completed books that the kids would be unlikely to read again, or books that were repeats (surprisingly we had many of these). I kept all the books that I loved and that I loved to read to the kids, or books that I loved to see the children reading on their own.

Then, I went back and looked through the stack of children’s books that I didn’t like, and removed all of the ones that I knew that the children loved.

Then I sorted the ‘keepers’ into piles using my Volcano Method. This is when I pile stuff of the same category together until they form a chain of volcanos. Eventually, things start to flow down the sides to form new islands of interrelated topics. You can see in the picture below, the neat stacks of book volcanoes on the far left.

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Sorting the books using the Volcano Method

At the end of the second hour-long tidying session, I had a tall stack of children’s books that I (and the children – I let them eyeball the books first) had decided not to keep but could be donated or given away (you can see them in the pictures above), some random textbooks that could probably be given away, and a bunch of books that needed to be returned to my friends! I also kept finding random brochures and magazines which totalled TWELVE plastic bags! I threw all of those into the recycling bin.

I spent the third session just putting all the children’s books back into the cupboards. By this time, the cupboards had been well aired out, and I’d also replaced the dehumidifiers to keep the books from getting musty.

I organised the books by reading level, and I’d also tried to arrange them vaguely by height, putting the taller books to the right of the cupboard. I put books that I wanted the kids to read at their eye level – that is, picture books right at the bottom for 1 year old Thumper, early readers and easy chapter books for 5 year old Little E on the bottom and middle shelves, advanced books on the top shelf for 8 year old J.

The next two sessions were spent sorting through and organising our collection of novels and reference books. I took all the books that I wasn’t terribly interested in and showed them to the Barn Owl, and he decided which ones he still wanted to keep. I got rid of all our outdated textbooks and manuals. I listed all the novels that we didn’t want (and weren’t worth keeping for the kids) to be given away on a freecycling website – and someone picked them up at the end of the week.

I put all our books back into the cupboards, making sure that our favourite books were at eye-level, and putting darker coloured books or book series towards the left, lighter coloured books towards the right.

Here’s what our shelves looks like now:

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Tidy and organised!

I have to find some props to hold the books up so that they don’t fall over, but the best thing about all this is that I’ve now got some space for more lovely books! YAY!

I’m really glad that I kept the books that were the kid’s favourites, even if they weren’t my favourites. They were so happy to see their beloved books displayed neatly on the shelves, it was totally worth it.

P.S. Why am I doing this? Here’s why.

P.P.S. Check out the rest of the Queen of Konmari series here.

If you haven’t read the books already, you can get them here:

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organising

Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up

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Preparing Kids for Change: Top 10 Books and Movies about Moving and Travel

During my growing up years, my dad went abroad for post-graduate studies and our whole family would follow him to support his education.

Although this meant that my sister and I had the awesome opportunity to travel, live and study in a different country, we also had to learn to adapt to a new environment and culture.

When my parents told me that we were going to move far away from my friends and extended family for a whole year, I went through a whole string of emotions. I was sad about leaving my friends and schoolmates behind, as well as my precious dog, but I was also very excited about embarking on a whole new adventure with my family.

I think my parents were quite relieved that both my sister and I chose to see this Big Move as a start of a new chapter in our lives, and I think that is partly due to the fact that we grew up on a steady diet of books and movies that encouraged exploration.

I’ve put together a list of books and movies that I think will really help kids who are preparing for a big change – from the littlest ones starting school to the big ones going off to college. So here’s

Owls Well’s Top 10 Books and Movies about Moving and Travel


1. Augustine by Melanie Watt (Recommended for Preschoolers)

Little Augustine the penguin moves with her family from the South Pole to the North Pole, and it isn’t easy saying goodbye to her grandparents, friends and her old room. Being a shy penguin, adjusting to her new school and making new friends is a challenge, but with the help of her colouring pencils, Augustine finds that she can still be herself even if her surroundings are different.

This is a very good book which definitely covers both the physical and emotional journey involved in moving to a new place. I also love the beautiful pictures in this book, most of which are inspired by famous paintings and artists – also a very good way to introduce kids to art!

2. Richard Scarry’s Busy, Busy World (Recommended for Preschoolers)

This was one of my favourite books when I was growing up, and it has a load of ridiculously funny stories taking place around the world. I loved seeing the various animal characters dressed up in traditional ethnic costumes and learn about great landmarks from the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Spanish Steps in Rome to the Blarney Stone in Ireland.

I remember being so excited to see the Eiffel Tower for the first time, just because of the story about Pierre the Parisian Policeman chasing a robber all across the Paris and through a French restaurant, blowing his police whistle, “Breeeeet!”

3. Oh, The Places You’ll Go! by Dr Seuss (Recommended for Emerging Readers)

In this book, a little boy heads out and explores the world, encountering many new things – some of which are sad or scary or boring – but in general, the book takes a very positive view of being brave enough to step out of one’s comfort zone and embrace the adventure that is life and growing up.

It’s opener out there, in the wide open air

– Dr Seuss

4. Laura Ingalls Wilder “Little House” Series (Recommended for Confident Readers)

This is a wonderful series of chapter books for encouraging young readers, especially little girls who will love reading about Laura and her sisters as they grow up, moving from their Little House in the Big Woods to the Prairie and beyond.

In general, despite the fact that the Ingalls family appears to be constantly on the move and always facing new challenges, the fact remains that the concept of ‘home’ for Laura is not a physical place, but an emotional one. This is a good series for teaching kids to understand that as long as a family sticks together, they can make a home anywhere and weather any changes that life throws their way.

Everything from the little house was in the wagon except the beds and tables and chairs. They did not need to take these, because Pa could always make new ones.

– Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House on the Prairie

5. Terry Pratchett’s Bromeliad Trilogy: Truckers, Diggers, Wings (Recommended for Confident Readers)

In this hilarious book series, a group of tiny 4 inch high Nomes who have lived for generations in a departmental store find out that their home is soon to be demolished. They embark on an epic journey to find a new home, bringing with them The Thing – a  mysterious black cube which has been the Nome tribe’s totem for as long as anyone can remember.

I remember that the main struggle that the Departmental Store Nomes had was meeting other Nomes who were from different cultures and challenging long established beliefs. The way the Nomes had to deal with drastic changes in their societal structure and family values is beautifully handled by Terry Pratchett, who writes about these issues with humour and sensitivity. A very good series to help kids keep an open mind about change!

The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.

― Terry Pratchett

6. J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” Series (Recommended for Confident Readers)

Although I have many issues with the Harry Potter series (I still think Harry Potter is rather a jerk. The underdog Neville Longbottom is my favourite guy in this series), the fact remains that this book series is often about having the gumption to seek out adventure.

Harry Potter’s life only really begins because he’s brave enough to leave behind everything that he knows and understands about the world – exchanging a life that is safe and predictable for one that is unstable, painful, and even dangerous. However, because of his willingness to embrace change, he finds faithful new friends, a new family and a welcoming home. Definitely a good one for a kid who needs encouragement to be brave and bold!

Things we lose have a way of coming back to us in the end, if not always in the way we expect

– J.K. Rowling

7. My Neighbor Totoro (1988) (Recommended for Preschoolers and above)

This is a very sweet film focussing on two sisters who have moved to a new home with their father in order to be closer to the hospital where their mother is recuperating from a chronic illness. In their new home, they make friends with all of their neighbours, including the woodland spirits from a nearby camphor tree.

I love the way the family is depicted in this film, and the sibling relationship between the sisters is well scripted. I also like the positive attitude that the two little girls have towards moving to the countryside and exploring their new surroundings.

8. Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989) (Recommended for Preschoolers and above)

13 year old Kiki has to complete her training as a witch by spending at least a year away from home, so she flies off on her broom with her black cat Jiji in search of a town in need of her services. She moves into the port city of Koriko and has to find a way to fit in whilst earning a living – it’s not always easy but Kiki makes it work.

What I find particularly good about this film is Kiki’s vulnerability and self-doubt which is so common to many children, especially when faced with what seems to be an insurmountable challenge. Kiki is able to learn more about herself, become more independent and take control of her own life without sacrificing her open-hearted personality or sweetness, and without anger or rebelliousness.

9. The Karate Kid (1984) (Recommended for Tweens and above)

Daniel LaRusso, a spunky teen, moves from his New Jersey home to California, and he has a very hard time fitting in until he befriends a kooky old man who teaches him the ancient art of car detailing Karate.

I mean, who doesn’t love this film? Stick with the 1984 version though.

*Mummy warning: Some swear words, juicy insults and kids beating each other up.*

Wax on, right hand. Wax off, left hand. Wax on, wax off. Breathe in through nose, out the mouth. Wax on, wax off. Don’t forget to breathe, very important.

– Mr Miyagi

10. Legally Blonde (2001) (Recommended for Teens and above)

Sorority girl Elle Woods moves from California where she holds a degree in fashion merchandising to begin her postgraduate studies in Harvard Law School, in order to win back her ex-boyfriend. This very silly comedy deals mostly with a girl who appears to be out of her depth in a new environment, but manages to defy all expectations (including the expectations she had for herself).

I particularly like the way the heroine stays true to herself whilst also discovering talents that she never knew existed until she made the decision to leave her comfort zone.

*Mummy warning: Some swear words, sexual jokes and gay stereotyping.*

I’d pick the dangerous one, ’cause I’m not afraid of a challenge.

– Elle Woods

Book Series that we love (Chapter books): Extraordinary Losers

Over here at Owls Well, we have a soft spot for homegrown Singaporean authors and I am so glad to tell you all about the Extraordinary Losers chapter book series by Jessica Alejandro! These are good entry-level chapter books for encouraging reluctant readers who are looking to graduate from Early Reader books but need some pictures to break up the wall of words.

This book series follows the adventures of four primary school kids, Darryl De, Janice, Mundi and Clandestino, each of whom are considered class misfits for various shallow physical reasons (e.g. too ugly, too messy, too fat, too Indian etc). However, they also have incredible hidden talents that are overlooked by their peers who often underestimate their abilities. Fuelled by courage and junk food, the four kids find themselves banding together to solve mysteries within their school and find their self-worth, whilst dealing with the problems of class bullies, cyber-predators and of course, the all-encompassing villain of Primary School life, the dreaded PSLE!

I really appreciate the straightforward way that the book deals with bullying and being unique, encouraging the reader to look for the extraordinary gifts that lie within themselves instead of striving for conformity.

Right now, there are four books in the series (you can check out the titles in the picture above), and they are pretty engaging to read. The book also features funny illustrations by artist Cherryn Yap, as well as the occasional hand-scrawled cheeky poem by the book’s main POV character, Darryl De.

I have been told that the book series has gotten so popular that our local kid’s channel, Okto, is now looking to cast actors and actresses for an ExLosers TV series!

Open auditions are this Sunday 3rd July 2016 from 11am -6pm (registration closes at 4pm), so if you’ve got a budding thespian on your hands (or if you know one), do bring them along to the Suntec Convention Centre Level 3 Concourse.

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A extraspecial surprise for Owls Well Readers: The fine folk over at Bubbly Books have kindly agreed to sponsor a giveaway of the full set of Extraordinary Losers books by Jessica Alejandro to ONE lucky Owls Well reader! Thanks Bubbly Books!

To take part in this giveaway please complete the following:

  1. Leave me a comment below telling me about an extraordinary talent that you have (or your child has) that is often overlooked or underappreciated or how you personally dealt with bullying in school – don’t forget to include your email address! (If you would like to send me the email address privately, leave a comment for the other answers, then email me at 4owlswell [at] gmail [dot] com)
  2. For extra entries, share this post on any social media platform and leave a comment below with the link!

(This giveaway is open to anyone with a Singapore mailing address and closes on 15 July 2016. Winners will be picked via Random.org.)

Buyer’s note: I received a set of the Extraordinary Losers books from Bubbly Books for this review. If you’d like to get the books for an extraordinary kid in your like, you can find Extraordinary Losers and other books by local authors here.

For more news and information about the Extraordinary Losers books, check out their Facebook page here.

Colour together – our favourite colouring books and materials

Last year, I wrote about how Little E and I have been completing printable colouring pages together and how much fun we have been having.

Well, for Christmas, we received a ton of beautiful colouring books! It takes Little E and I a few days to complete one page in a colouring book (if we are colouring carefully) so it’s going to take us AGES to finish all the colouring books that we have received!

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A golden hour of colouring on the floor

There are a ton of awesome colouring books available on the market right now, but here are some of our favourite ‘colour together’ books:

1. Enchanted Forest: An Inky Quest & Coloring Book

Johanna Basford has three colouring books in print, but this one is my favourite for colouring with Little E. Unlike most other forest or garden-themed books, this one is not limited to floral or repeated patterns, but has beautiful forest animals, insects, and castles in it as well. Little E likes to tell stories as we colour about the creatures in each page, so it keeps things interesting!

(You can find links to Johanna Basford’s free colouring printables here)

2. Vive Le Color! Japan 

This is a great little square book – just about 7×7 inches – which makes it very easy to carry around! The illustrations are all based on Japanese motifs and are very intricate, but the smaller book size means that each page doesn’t take too long to colour so you and your little one won’t get tired out so quickly! This would also make a great take-along book for long journeys (or long wedding dinners).

I like the detachable pages which makes it super easy to remove each one for framing. Each page is made from thick card stock paper and is only printed on one size means that you can use whatever you want to colour them in without worrying about the ink bleeding through, and you can even turn each one into a greeting card or postcard once they are completed!


3. Tropical World: A Coloring Book Adventure 

I love this book for the tropical animals featured in it which are easily identifiable. This is a good book for winding down after a day out to the zoo or bird park (or a rainy day in). There are also a few pages in the book which give you some space to fill in your own patterns and details, which is great for encouraging your kids to be creative with you in finishing the page in a way that is completely unique!

(You can find links to Millie Marotta’s free colouring pages here)

4. Creative Haven Steampunk Fashions Coloring Book 
You may remember that I linked to a few of Marty Noble’s free colouring pages in my previous post, and she has made loads of really lovely colouring books. I have to admit that I picked this book solely because Little E is a budding fashionista and LOVES her pretty dresses, which is why I picked the Steampunk fashion genre for their edgy and over-the-top style which is flattering without being overly racy or girly!

5. Words to Live By: Creative hand-lettering, coloring, and inspirations
Here’s another colouring book by a lady whose free colouring pages I linked to in my previous post. Dawn Nicole is a hand lettering specialist so each page features an interesting slogan. This is super for budding readers learning their letters and is wonderful for spring boarding a meaningful discussion during a golden colouring hour!
6. Doctor Who Coloring Book

It’s a Doctor Who Colouring Book. *woohoo*

By the way, if you are wondering which pens and colouring pencils we are using at the moment, here they are:


1. Staedtler Color Pen Set, Set of 36 Assorted Colors (Triplus Fineliner Pens)
These are beautiful marker pens – they don’t bleed through a page, they don’t smear, and best of all, they have a nice triangular shape to encourage a good writing grip in little ones. The fine, smooth tip means that Little E can fill in even the tiniest details in a colouring book!

2. Staedtler Colored Pencils, 36 Colors (144ND36)

I like these particular colouring pencils because they not only have a good pencil lead with a brilliant colour which is wonderful for little ones, but they also feature an anti-break coating that ACTUALLY WORKS. I cannot tell you the number of times we have ruined a cheap colour pencil by letting it roll off the table. These colour pencils have never once broken, no matter how many times we’ve dropped them. They are worth every cent!

Author Showcase: Satoshi Kitamura

We at Owls Well are completely unapologetic about receiving hand-me-downs, especially when those hand-me-downs include awesome books by awesome authors!

Satoshi Kitamura is a Japanese author-illustrator and his bright and bold, incredibly detailed watercolour pictures are sure to captivate even the youngest reader in the household.

I particularly love his quirky stories featuring funny animal characters presented in a comic-book style. It also has interactive components that oftentimes cannot be reproduced on other forms of media!

For example, the book, What’s Wrong With My Hair?, features cutouts that make for tons of fun when reading it with the little ones. This is one of Thumper’s current favourites and we take turns sticking our faces through the holes in the book! He laughs like mad and sometimes tries to talk to the picture on the facing page.

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Can your Kindle do this?

It is this very book that inspired J to make his own cardboard cutout Photo Booth years ago.  I think it’s a great way to get kids crafting on their own using recycled materials.

I also really enjoy reading this kooky story about a boy who wakes up one morning and has switched bodies with his pet cat. Elijah Wood does a brilliant job of reading this hilarious book on Storyline Online (where you can find hundreds of other videos of celebrities reading great storybooks)

If you’re looking for a really fun book for a little one that you know, check out the links below!

Get Me and My Cat? by Satoshi Kitamura here

Get What’s Wrong With My Hair? by Satoshi Kitamura here

Find books by Satoshi Kitamura on Amazon

Find books by Satoshi Kitamura on The Groovy Giraffe 

(Amazon and The Groovy Giraffe are our favourite online bookstores for buying children’s board books! Thank you for supporting the sponsors that make Owls Well possible.)

Author Showcase: Chris Haughton – Children’s Book author and illustrator

Last year, we were very fortunate to have been able to attend a workshop at the Singapore Writer’s Festival led by one of our favourite authors, Chris Haughton.

J and Little E were ecstatic when I told them that we were going to meet the author of one of their favourite books A Bit Lost – a charming story of a sleepy little owl looking for it’s mummy with some help from a friendly but confused squirrel.

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At the Closetful of Books pop-up store, holding their precious copy of ‘A Bit Lost’

We got to the workshop early so I had some time to browse some of Chris Haughton’s other award-winning books at the pop-up bookstore run by Closetful of Books.

Oh No, George! is a funny story about a well-meaning but unfortunate dog who is always getting into scrapes. I love the colours in this one, and I think kids can really relate to George’s many difficulties.

Shh! We Have a Plan is about a group of unsuccessful hunters who keep running into all sorts of trouble whilst attempting to capture a brightly coloured bird. This one is particularly good for reading aloud, and the kids find it absolutely hilarious.

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J reading ‘Shh! We Have a Plan’ to Little E and Thumper

When Chris Haughton arrived, he was utterly captivating from the start, managing to hold both J and Little E’s attention for nearly a whole hour. He talked about the different ways in which he planned and created each book, and the inspiration behind some of his character designs. It was enlightening, listening to him talk about his creative process and watching him engage with the children.

Mr Haughton showed us some pictures that he drew when he was a very young boy. He told us how he loved drawing and would draw all the time, everywhere. This was something that resonated with J especially, who owns a small sketchbook that he takes around with him.

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Dancing, puppetry and general awesomeness

Towards the end of the workshop, Chris Haughton demonstrated how he would use a single picture to tell a complete story. He got children in the audience to shout out ideas for a ridiculous and unlikely method of capturing squirrels, finally settling on the most outlandish idea of all (which you can see in the picture below).

The kids and I stayed until the very end of the workshop, and Mr Haughton was kind enough to autograph our books. He even gave J the picture that he drew during the session! J was so thrilled.

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Drawing with Chris Haughton

Chris Haughton, is first and foremost, an artist. It just so happens that his work as an artist includes creating children’s books using different mediums.

One of his other works is an app for children called ‘Hat Monkey‘. The app is an interactive story about a little Monkey who needs a lot of help, and kids can feed, sing, dance with and even talk to the little Monkey. Isn’t that cool?

Chris Haughton’s awesomeness doesn’t end there, by the way.

Before Mr Haughton started publishing children’s books, he worked as a volunteer designer for fair-trade organisations for over 10 years. After he published his first book, he went to Nepal and India to work with various fair-trade projects who now produce handmade toys and other products related to his books. These are sold on his personal website (where you can also get signed art prints), and all the profits from each sale goes right back into making more fair-trade projects.

Mr Haughton also set up aother fair-trade project called NODE, which works with a Nepalese non-profit technical school for disadvantaged adults. The employees are all given an education and apart from receiving fair wages, they also support a school and orphanage. The school now produces gorgeous hand woven rugs designed by Mr Haughton (and many other designers who collaborate with NODE to produce custom-made rugs).

I felt really privileged to have had the opportunity to meet with such a lovely person, who is using his skills for good and for awesome!

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Chris Haughton and the Owls Well fan club

Find Chris Haughton’s books here.

Download Hat Monkey here.

Support Chris Haughton’s Fair Trade projects here.

Find out more about NODE handwoven rugs here.

Grief, Loss and Small Children (Part 3): Getting over loss and life changes

It’s easy to think that the feelings of grief and loss are only associated with major life events such as death. However, for small children, their circumstances can change very quickly, year upon year, as they themselves grow up and change or the world changes around them. It is unsurprising that childhood grief and feelings of loss can include such things such as parental separation, changes in schools or classes, moving house, even failing friendships.

Growth is always loss. Every time you’re gonna grow, you’re going to lose something – James Hillman, We’ve Had a Hundred Years of Psychotherapy – And the World’s Getting Worse

Last year, as J started in a new school, he missed his old classmates dreadfully, especially his best friend. After three months in his new school, his best friend invited him to a party. J looked forward to going, but when he arrived there, he found that his best friend had changed so much that they were as good as strangers to each other. This realisation hurt J deeply.

How horrible it is that people have to grow up – and marry – and change! -L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea

For months after that, he would often talk about his best friend and his old school, fervently wishing to be able to forget everything. I was constantly reminding him that those memories were precious, and that old friends often pop back into our lives in surprising ways.

Nothing is ever really lost to us, as long as we remember it – L.M.Montgomery, The Story Girl

One of the easiest ways to gently help children through these difficult times, is through books. As you can tell from the book quotes above (and in my previous post), authors can ease our troubles with a well-turned phrase, and sometimes, a good book can help illustrate those concepts that are difficult to explain.

Here are a few books that I highly recommend for those with children who are going through or preparing to go through a difficult time. (To find out more about each book and where to buy them, just click on the book covers.)

1.Wibbly Pig’s Silly Big Bear by Mick Inkpen


This is a very sweet story, which I feel focuses on love and friendship, and validates the feelings of sadness and loss that children have when someone they love has gone away.

In this book, Wibbly Pig is both frustrated and amused by the shortcomings of his Silly Big Bear, whilst at the same time being amazed by Silly Big Bear’s unique qualities. It is these many little quirks that make Silly Big Bear so beloved, that he is dearly missed when he is gone. I love the simple, uncluttered illustrations, as well as the gentle pacing of this story. A great one for the tiniest ones in the family.

2.Grandad’s Island by Benji Davies

In this lavishly and vibrantly illustrated book, a young boy, Syd, accompanies his Grandad on an epic adventure, to a beautiful island. When Grandad decides to stay on the island, Syd must journey home alone and it is not an easy trip.

I feel that this book very thoughtfully and carefully deals with the subject of the loss of a grandparent as well as the concept of heaven. The end of the book is particularly comforting, showing that no matter how far away a loved one may seem, they still remain close to us in our hearts and minds. The book does not at all mention death or dying, so it has a very subtle touch and is suitable for very sensitive young children.

3.The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

This book is particularly good for early readers and primary school aged kids and is about the transforming power of love, as well as the pain of growing up and change. The Velveteen Rabbit’s love and loyalty leads both to his separation from the person that he loves as well as the achievement of his life’s dream.

This is good book that perfectly captures the bittersweet feelings when reflecting upon a lost friendship, whilst illustrating how one must let go of the darlings of the past in order to step into an exciting new stage of life.

4.Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watt

Scaredy Squirrel is so scared of dying and is so cautious that he never leaves his tree – until one day, he has an accident that leads him to an amazing discovery!

This is a hilarious book with super-funny illustrations that encourages children to embrace the unknown and step out of their comfort zone in order to discover new and amazing things about themselves and the world around them.

A very good one for the anxious or nervous child who is fearful of change (or of starting a new phase in life).

5. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

Here’s one for primary school-going kids or for confident readers! It is also a great book for reading aloud! This is one of the most lovely books about loyalty and friendship, and it deals very sensitively with loss, sadness and grief. The book also realistically touches on about how relationships change as people change and grow up. It’s hard not to feel moved when reading about the unlikely relationship between a pig and a spider.

The book also mentions some of the positive, active things that one can do in order to honour someone who has died, and I think it is a good starting point for opening up conversations with older children who are grieving.

If you have a good book you would like to share, or if you would like more book recommendations for other age groups, leave a comment below.