This book will be really useful for supporting children returning to school following lockdown – but it’s so much more than that!

 

Title: Harry The Hound Returns To School

Authors: Neil Davies & Wendy Steer

This book – Harry The Hound Returns To School – came to my attention when one of the authors, Neil Davies, sent me a link!

If you work with children or teenagers with learning disabilities you’ll get real value out of this book – it’s aimed at 6-11 year olds but I think could be used with those slightly younger and certainly with those who are older and may have learning difficulties.

I gave it 5 stars. Here’s why:

Overview

This book follows the journey of Harry The Hound who has been in lockdown and is anxious about returning to school after such a long time.

Harry’s Mum is attuned to his situation and helps him to prepare for things getting back to normal. There’s more…

Strengths

– My first impression was that I liked the feel of the book. It’s in A4 format and is subtly coloured with a matt finish cover. Harry’s face adorns the front and you can’t help but like him!

– The pages are bright and clear with text that is very easy to read. And I loved the characterisation of Harry.

– The story is told in rhyme and I’ve no doubt that little kids will love it as the style is easy and conversational.

– The real strength of this book is it’s practicality. It takes you through the strategies Harry’s Mum uses to help him get ready for going back to school, including: preparing his uniform and pencil case, visiting the school just to look at it from outside (re-orientation), staying in touch with friends and encouraging them to talk about school, looking over his timetable and chatting about it, and getting up early on the day to avoid being in a rush.

– There’s lots of material to use and give you ideas to make your own to aid the process, including: making an action plan, a feelings page, a safety planning page to prepare for tricky feelings, yoga poses and breathing to help with calming down, grounding techniques, a jam jar activity to store positives about school, a personal affirmations sheet to help with the transition and more besides.

– BONUS – All the sheets are downloadable too and a link is provided for this. There are also some website resources and a couple of apps that might help, too.

Weaknesses

– The rhyming is a little clunky in places, but I have no doubt that that is my adult brain talking – little kids will love the conversational style, I’m sure.

– Apart form using the word ‘awesome’ there’s nothing to report.

Summary

This is a great little book written by two experienced practitioners and will be an asset in helping any child prepare for the return to school.

Coronavirus is only mentioned once (on page 2) and so the book has utility beyond the current lockdown. It could just as well serve for helping kids returning from a long illness or starting a new school.

Harry’s character is strong and likeable, the graphics are great! I can’t help but think we’ll be seeing more of him. I certainly hope so!

Options

Get the paperback  – here

Other book reviews

The Developing Mind by Dan Seigel – the best brain/attachment book by a country mile! Learn more – here 

Growing Pains: Making Sense of Childhood – A Psychiatrist’s Story by Dr Mike Shooter. Stories of mental health/illness in childhood – heart-warming read, this! Learn more – here.

The deepest Well – Healing the Long Term Effects of Childhood Adversity (the story of ACEs). This is a cracker! Learn more – here.

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© Jonny Matthew 2020

Disclosure of material connection: Some of the above are “affiliate links.” This means that if you click the link and purchase an item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.

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