As a parent you spend 99% of your time worrying. You worry if you are raising your children right, feeding them enough healthy food, giving them enough attention, it’s tough. Thankfully we live in a world where books exist that can help us discover new, fun ways to teach our kids about life. Don’t you just love books dear reader?
Today I am on the blog tour for The Helping Hand Stories By Sarah, Duchess of York. I have been kindly sent three of these books to review, Daisy learns about strangers, Holly’s first day at school and James and the Bullies. A big thank you to the publishers AMS Ltd. for my copies, always appreciated. And also to the wonderful Anne for the invite, you are a star! Thank you.
About The Author
The Duchess of York is a global humanitarian, businesswoman, best selling children’s book author, producer and wellness advocate.
The Duchess is widely admired for her “comeback spirit” and for overcoming formidable obstacles to succeed as a good mother who has worked hard to support her children, a survivor, businesswoman and humanitarian.
In 1993 she founded Children in Crisis (www.childrenincrisis.org.uk) and the charity has educated over 1.4 million children, trained over 18,000 teachers, built 57 schools and supports hundreds of schools on a yearly basis. Recently CIC merged with Street Child and The Duchess is Founder Patron, remaining active in its mission to provide education to forgotten children around the world. She has recently returned from visiting Street Child’s projects in Nepal and Sierra Leone, supporting the most marginalised into education and out of bonded labour.
The Duchess has published over 52 books including two autobiographies and titles dealing with health, empowerment, history, art, as well as children’s stories. Her children’s books include the series of ‘Budgie the Little Helicopter’, adapted into a highly successful animated series on US primetime Fox and her children’s book ‘Tea for Ruby’, published by Simon and Schuster had it’s debut at the top of the New York Times bestseller list.
The subject of countless media interviews herself, The Duchess has also found success as a reporter and presenter. In America, she has been a special correspondent for NBC’s Today show and has presented specials and documentaries on ABC, FOX, and CNN. In Britain, she has presented and co-produced specials for ITV, BBC, and Sky TV. She has served as guest editor on BBC Radio 4 Today programme and has regularly contributed to BBC Radio 2’s primetime lifestyle show “Steve Wright”.
She conceived the film, and produced alongside Martin Scorsese, ‘The Young Victoria’, a period romance based on the early life of Queen Victoria starring Emily Blunt and Rupert Friend and scripted by Julian Fellowes. She has written two books on the subject, ‘Travels with Queen Victoria’ and ‘Victoria and Albert: Family Life at Osborne House’. The Young Victoria was released in the US, UK, Australia, France amongst other territories and it was the closing film at the Toronto Film Festival in September 2009.
She devotes much of her time to promoting wellness and children’s causes. The ‘Helping Hand’ series of books is designed to introduce children to the issues they all confront as they grow old, through storytelling and to support their parents with advice provided by a leading child psychologist. For 10 years she was the highly successful US spokesperson for Weight Watchers International where she distinguished herself as a wellness advocate and a spokesperson for the American Heart Association. She has recently been asked to lead a campaign highlighting women and heart disease by The British Heart Foundation.
She is a passionate supporter of a number of charities including The Teenage Cancer Trust and Teen Cancer America, Julia’s House, The British Heart Foundation and The Children’s Air Ambulance. She also champions Key to Freedom, a business structure initiative set up to support the Women’s Interlink Foundation (WIF) by giving vulnerable young women a platform to sell their products. WIF works across West Bengal, India, helping these women develop skills to earn an income.
She has just returned from a visit to The Bethlehem Arab Society for Rehabilitation Hospital (BASR) where, as Patron, she is spearheading a campaign to establish a cardiology department to include a heart attack centre and rehabilitation.
Daisy learns about strangers
Daisy gets bored in a supermarket and wanders off from her Mummy. When she realises she is amongst strangers, she feels very alone and frightened but luckily finds a security guard who soon reunites her with her Mummy. Learning about strangers is a difficult but vital lesson for young children. Daisy’s experience in the supermarket teaches her a valuable lesson.
Holly’s first day at school
A small child’s first day at school is a big step forward for both child and parents. For Holly, her worries about not being with her Mummy are soon forgotten as she meets new friends and starts to learn new things.
James and the Bullies
James is small for his age and some of the older boys at school have taken to pushing him around. At first, James tells no-one as he thinks it is his fault but finally he decides to tell his Mum and together they set about solving the problem. Bullying is one of the most difficult issues children and their parents have to face. James and his Mum show how it can be tackled and overcome.
We worry and stress about our children a lot and always tend to fear the worst. This trio of books places the child in three different situations, ones that they are most likely to experience at some point in their childhood. We learn through the story how best to solve these problems along with some helpful positive advice. These books are perfect for parents and children.
The boys and I loved reading them. We got lost in a supermarket, experienced a scary first day of school and witnessed horrible bullying in the playground. All very real and difficult topics that we often struggle to explain to children. Parents can finally breathe a sigh of relief as these books are a godsend and not only make it fun but also clear and simple to talk about with your child without any confusion.
We enjoyed the rhyme in Daisy learns about strangers as it can be a hard subject to discuss. The rhyme helps children understand who they shouldn’t talk to and is easy to remember. It’s a very clever way to remind children about the dangers of strangers without scaring them and I highly recommend that everyone should learn it.
When your child starts school you are bound to be a mess. There are so many things that can go wrong. When we read Holly’s first day of school it took me back to my eldest’s first day. He would not stop talking about all the new exciting things he had done when he came home and completely forgot that he was nervous that morning. It reminded me that there are also so many things that can go right and to focus on the positives. To take an interest and listen to my child talking about their day. This story was tailor-made for parents taking that next big scary step and going on this wonderful journey, together.
The books got us talking about how we would personally feel in these situations and how we would handle them. Bullying is one of my worst fears, no parent wants their child to be bullied. I was thankful to read James and the Bullies and to learn how to resolve any future problems, should they occur. Showing our children that they are of use and showcasing their awards and certificates makes them see how great they truly are. It’s really important that we make sure their voices can be heard and are listened to. They need to know they can tell us anything and don’t have to go through it alone.
The main focus in all three books is for both parents and children to talk about challenging experiences. To feel confident enough to be honest and open, express how they feel and to find a solution together that will resolve the matter. It is our job as parents/carers/guardians to help children understand these problems and give them the confidence and skills to navigate them so that they can carry them through into adulthood.
At the end of each book there are ‘Ten Helpful Hints’ to give parents different ways to handle the issues that have taken place in the story. They have been developed by Dr. Richard Woolfson, Fellow of the British Psychological Society, who specialises in child psychology. Which is extremely reassuring to know as a parent and opens your mind to different tactics that are more beneficial for not only your child but your sanity.
The illustrations are bold and wonderful to look at, especially the characters’ faces as they capture the emotion and vulnerability of the children clearly. This allows children to be able to identify with the character and realise they are not alone in how they are feeling which is alway important. Children need to know that they matter, are of use and it is up to us to help encourage that. Praise the good and show an interest in their hobbies. It can be as simple as spending time with them, letting them know they can talk to you and no matter what, you will always, always be there for them.
The Helping Hand stories send a strong message to children, that they are loved and cared for. They matter and are important. It’s a joy to experience with the boys and to watch them learn more about the world. It can be a frightening place to little ones but teaching them these skills and knowledge will benefit them later in life.
I give The Helping Hand Stories By Sarah, Duchess of York a Five out of Five paw rating.
Fabulous books that every parent should read to their children. I highly recommend and also think they should be taught in school as they will help a lot of confused kids. I look forward to seeing more in the series. I wish they had been around when I was younger and am so grateful that they exist now for my boys.
Don’t forget to follow the rest of the blog tour, dates below, enjoy!
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