For Further Reading…

Reading Collage FY

Some Books We Recommend and have Reviewed on this Blog:


The Madonna in the Suitcase  By Huberta Hellendoorn

Madonna FY Written with love by a mother for her daughter, The Madonna in the Suitcase is an inspiring read.  A true and moving story of a real family raising their daughter Miriam, who has Down Syndrome.


See Post:  The Madonna in the Suitcase: Miriam’s Story (Book Review)

For Each And Every Child/ He Taonga te Tamariki  Published by UNICEF NZ

Tamariki Taonga FYFor Each And Every Child/ He Taonga te Tamariki, published in 2011 by UNICEF NZ, sets out some of the UNCROC (United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child).  This book is beautifully illustrated and is written “through the eyes of a child”.  A useful book for schools, tertiary courses or in the home: to be read with thought by adults or shared with our kids.

See Post:  “For Each and Every Child,” By UNICEF NZ (Book Review)

 My Dream: Listen to the Children by John Bougen

My Dream CoverWhat are children’s hopes and dreams?  John Bougen photographed children in 191 countries and wrote down their stories.

See Post:  My Dream: Listen to the Children by John Bougen (Book Review)

Growing Up In Wartime: Recollections from Children and Adolescents of the 1940s

BookCompiled by Isobel Veitch, edited by Mervyn Palmer and published in 2009 (ISBN: 978-0-473-15535-3).  Profits from the sale of this book went the benefit a charity in Dunedin, New Zealand.  We at “The Forever Years” strongly recommend this book, which shows not only how our childhood years are indeed our “forever years”, but also how a living through war feels through the eyes of a child.

See posts:   War Babies: A Childhood Memory Piece by Carol D. Meikle and  The View from a High Place: War through the eyes of a child: A Childhood Memory piece by Heather/ Gerda van Wieringen

Children's Minds FYChildren’s Minds by Margaret Donaldson

There is much to be gained, for parents, educators and others in reading Children’s Minds.  This book opens our minds to the similarities and differences between adult and child perspectives, as well as to the vital importance of pre-school education and experience in preparing a child for life long learning.  In many ways, Donaldson was ahead of her time: this book was first published in 1978 and is still used as a standard text in child psychology.  The results of her experiments match many later findings about the construction of neural pathways in the brain during early childhood (particularly the years 0-3) and how these effect a child in terms of learning and emotional responses.

See post: “Children’s Minds” by Margaret Donaldson: A Book Review

 large_community-development-cover-smallCommunity Development: Insights for Practice in Aotearoa New Zealand, edited by Jenny Aimers and Peter Walker

Published in November 2013, this book makes interesting reading due to the real life examples it gives by those involved in community development practice in Aotearoa/ New Zealand (from the Otago and Southland/Murihiku region). These examples can be applied to any universal model.  Strengthening communities strengthens future generations.  “The Forever Years” likes this book!

See post: Rosina Wiparata: A Legacy of Māori Language Education

Cover 1A Life Like Mine, How Children Live Around The World, published in association with UNICEF (The United Nations Children’s Fund)

A colourful, true to life depiction of the lives of children across a diverse range of countries and cultures from around the globe, this book was created with children and young people in mind, but is useful to anyone wishing to learn about or familiarise themselves with UNCROC (the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child).  Published in 2002 by DK Publishing, the book also contains a forward by Harry Belafonte, the Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF at that time.  The ethos expressed in this book is the same as that of “The Forever Years”: Belafonte tells children: “You are special.  You deserve protection and support as you grow to adulthood.  You are part of the present, but all of the future.”

See Post: “Children of The World”/ “A Life Like Mine”: A Song and a Book Review

15 Books for Kids Dealing with Tough Stuff in Life:

Keeping Kids Safe from Sexual Abuse


by Jayneen Sanders

Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept is a beautifully illustrated picture book that sensitively broaches the subject of keeping our children safe from inappropriate touch. We teach water safety and road safety but how do we teach ‘body safety’ to young children in a way that is neither frightening nor confronting? This book is an invaluable tool for parents, caregivers, teachers and health professionals. The comprehensive notes to the reader and discussion questions at the back of the book support both the reader and the child when discussing the story. Suitable for ages 3 to 12 years. A free ‘body safety’ song, supporting teacher’s pack and other useful resources are also available

Amazon link:


by Jill Starishevsky

Without being taught about body boundaries, a child may be too young to understand when abuse is happening—or that it’s wrong. This straightforward, gentle book offers a tool parents, teachers, and counselors can use to help children feel, be, and stay safe. The rhyming story and simple, friendly illustrations provide a way to sensitively share and discuss the topic, guiding young children to understand that their private parts belong to them alone. The overriding message of My Body Belongs to Me is that if someone touches your private parts, tell your mom, your dad, your teacher, or another safe adult.

Sex Education



by Robie H. Harris

Young children are curious about almost everything, especially their bodies. And young children are not afraid to ask questions. What makes me a girl? What makes me a boy? Why are some parts of girls’ and boys’ bodies the same and why are some parts different? How was I made? Where do babies come from? Is it true that a stork brings babies to mommies and daddies? It’s Not The Stork! helps answer these endless and perfectly normal questions that preschool, kindergarten, and early elementary school children ask about how they began.



by Peter Mayle

Where Did I Come From? covers all the basic facts from love-making, orgasm, conception and growth inside the womb, through to the actual birth day. It names all the names and shows all the important parts of the body.

Where Did I Come From? tells the facts of life as they are – without any nonsense, and in a way that children can understand and parents enjoy.



by Annette Aubrey

Through rhyming, the author deals sensitively with bereavement reassuring young readers that emotions they may be experiencing are ‘normal’ and shared by others.



by Susan Varley

Badger is so old that he knows he will soon die. He tries to prepare his friends for this event, but when he does die, they are still grief-stricken. Gradually they come to terms with their grief by remembering all the practical things Badger taught them, and so Badger lives on in his friends’ memories of him.


by Amanda Seyderhelm

Picture book for 5-12 years about child bereavement. To be read by a parent, counsellor, teacher to a bereaved child. Full colour illustrations, and a list of questions at the back of the book to help children heal their grief process using creative activities. Isaac is heartbroken when his best friend Freddie dies. His house freezes, and his red jumper turns grey with grief. His friends try to console him but it’s only after Isaac receives a special visit from Freddie that he understands love and friendship last forever, and are alive in spirit. Isaac and the Red Jumper will appeal to anyone who is bereaved, and is looking for a creative way to heal. Amanda Seyderhelm is a PTUK Certified Therapeutic Play Practitioner.

Mental Illness



By Centre for Addiction &n Mental Health

In simple, straightforward language, the book explains what depression is and how it is treated. It also prepares a child for working with a helping professional. And perhaps most important, it reassures a child that he or she is not alone.



by Kes Gray

A little boy tries to find a pot of parent glue to stick his mum and dad back together. His parents have come undone and he wants to mend their marriage, stick their smiles back on and make them better. This rhyming story is brilliantly told with a powerful message that even though his parents may be broken, their love for him is not.


by Laurene Krasny Brown

Dinosaurs Divorce will help children understand divorce and what it means.



by Jane Evans

A gentle story to help children aged 2 to 6 years who have lived with violence in their home. Baby Bear lives in a home with the Big Bears, and loves to chase butterflies and make mud pies – they make Baby Bear’s tummy fill with sunshine. Then, one night, Baby Bear hears a big storm downstairs in the house and in the morning, Baby Bear’s tummy starts to feel grey and rainy. How will such a small bear cope with these big new feelings? This sensitive, charming storybook is written to help children who have lived with violence at home to begin to explore and name their feelings. Accompanied by notes for adults on how to use each page of the story to start conversations, it also features fun games and activities to help to understand and express difficult emotions. It will be a useful book for social workers, counsellors, domestic violence workers and all grown-ups working with children.




by Margaret Holmes

This gently told and tenderly illustrated story is for children who have witnessed any kind of violent or traumatic episode, including physical abuse, school or gang violence, accidents, homicide, suicide, and natural disasters such as floods or fire. An afterword by Sash a J. Mudlaff written for parents and other caregivers offers extensive suggestions for helping traumatized children, including a list of other sources that focus on specific events.

Note from Jane: I have used this book many times with children from very young up to 10 to 11 years as a way to let them fill in the blanks using gentle suggestions of possible feelings, often helping children who lack the names for their unprocessed feelings. The book can also be used with children who are dealing with grief.


by Virginia Ironside

Wherever Jenny goes, her worries follow her – in a big blue bag. They are there when she goes swimming, when she is watching TV, and even when she is in the lavatory. Jenny decides they will have to go. But who can help her?

Note from Jane: A great book to use with anxious children as it helps sort worries through and make them seem more manageable. It emphasizes that we all have worries and what to do about them. I use this with older children too, as it always makes me get my own worries in perspective!


by Kari Dunn Buron

More than any other issue, ‘losing control’ can cause major problems for children. Through the irresistible character of Nicholas, this book gives young children an opportunity to explore with parents or teachers their own feelings as they react to events in their daily lives while learning some useful relaxation techniques. Children who use the simple strategies presented in this charming book, illustrated by the author, will find themselves relaxed and ready to work or play.


by Eline Snell

Simple mindfulness practices to help your child deal with anxiety, improve concentration and handle difficult emotions.

 the-mother-child-projectThe Mother and Child Project: Raising Our Voices for Health and Hope

By Melinda Gates (Editor), Kay Warren (Foreword), Christine Caine (Contributor) and  Senator William H. Frist MD (Contributor)

Published in March 2015, this book hopes to raise awareness of the difficulties faced by women in developing countries as they navigate pregnancy, labour and birth.  Sarah Wilson reviews this book on the “Forever Years”, saying “Imagine having to give birth unassisted, on the dirt floor next to a rubbish dump. It’s unfathomable really.”  Many orphans are left behind in the wake of the tragedy of unassisted, unmedicated births, particularly those where complications arise. Without a mother, many children die as well. If only enough people knew.  We have the resources to prevent this crisis, but we must take action.


See Post on “The Forever Years” ‘The Mother and Child Project’ – A Review of a Recently Released Title

See also:


Apple TreeThe Apple Tree: Raising 5 Kids With Disabilities and Remaining Sane
By Linda Petersen

After marrying young and giving birth to a son who was legally blind (and who went on to earn a PhD on full scholarship), Petersen and her husband adopted four more special needs children and fostered many others. Each child has their own special story about overcoming tremendous physical and emotional difficulties in order to be able to succeed and enjoy life. Her honesty, wit, and terrific storytelling make this a book you want to read rather than one you feel you should read.

See Post:

51T2WDUU+lL._AA160_The Wisdom Seeker: Finding the Seeds of Advantage in the Khmer Rouge, by Pisey Leng

Pisey Leng, who now lives in New Zealand, was born in Cambodia in 1968.  She has recently written a book about living under the Khmer Rouge as a child, and how this effected her later life.  Her book is entitled: The Wisdom Seeker: Finding the Seed of Advantage in the Khmer Rouge. 

See Post:




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