Why Can't I be Good? ISBN: 9781910039076
Argent, Hedi and Fuller, Rachel
Published by British Association for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF), 2014
Hannah is a very difficult little girl. Having been adopted at three, she hasn't been able to understand that the foster parents she had before were not her real parents. The move upsets her terribly, and while she is very good in the beginning, she begins to 'test' her new parents. Will they continue to love her even when she is difficult? By her fifth birthday, she is very hard to manage. We are given a list of the things that make her difficult - not doing as she is told, waking everyone in the night, being messy, not telling the truth, pushing other children around, taking things that don't belong to her, and not letting anyone help or comfort her. Hannah decides to take herself in hand: 'She would try very hard to be good one day at a time in one way at a time.' So begins Hannah's week. On Monday she does everything she is told, even before being asked sometimes. This makes mum and dad very happy. On Tuesday she decides she won't wake her parents in the night. On Wednesday she does her best not to be messy. And so it goes. By the end of the week, she and her parents and her school friends are much happier with each other, and on Sunday, there is a special trip to the seaside. At the end, we learn that Hannah was 'good a lot of the time but not all of the time...like learning to play the piano and sometimes getting the notes wrong'. There is lots of good repetition in the story as Hannah goes through her learning week, and there are little coloured pictures scattered throughout. A set of questions and answers will help discussion with children who have behaviour problems, and certainly the approach of trying to solve one problem at a time is a good one. If, like Hannah, a child wants to be better, to be loved and not to behave badly, her story will ring a bell. The book is available from Amazon, from good bookshops, and from the publisher: BAAF, Saffron House, 6-10 Kirby Street, London, EC1N, 8TS, Tel: 020 7421 2600.
Age: 7+