Callum Kindly and the Very Weird Child: A story about sharing your home with a new child (Therapeutic Parenting Books) ISBN: 9781785923005
Published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2017
What is wonderful about this series of books is that they have a dual purpose. They teach parents how to handle children with problems in a loving non-judgemental way, and they are also good children's stories. Aimed at adopted and fostered children and their new parents, they show some of the common behavioural and physical problems that children who have suffered in the early years of their lives can exhibit. Each book has pages at the end to give parents advice on using the stories. In this one, we meet Callum who is close to his single-parent mum and who finds himself having to put up with a foster child who takes a great deal of attention to herself. Katie Careful, when she appears on the scene, seems to be a spiteful, difficult, sulky child who is 'always in the way. Cuddles with mum are difficult when Katie is about because she always gets in first. Callum really doesn't like her. The whole thing comes to a head when Callum discovers that Katie has hidden his new birthday remote-controlled car. She only smiles when he confronts her with this fact, and when Callum shouts at her rudely, mum appears. At this point, Katie stops smiling and begins to cry - an apparent ruse to get Callum in trouble. The noise escalates as the shouting and crying continues, and mum sits on the floor quietly until she is able to give hugs to them both. Then she says that perhaps they could look for the car, and as Katie leaves the room, she explains to Callum that Katie has been mistreated when very young and that there is now a 'tiny girl part of her' that is scared and unhappy. Callum takes this all in and begins to understand, but when Katie returns with the car, now broken, claiming that she hadn't done it, he can sort of see the 'tiny girl' inside her and begins the process of forgiveness and understanding. Together, the three of them go to the kitchen to try to repair the car. While Katie has a long way to go, we know she is feeling safer and happier now, even though she has not been able to admit she has spoiled Callum's favourite toy. This particular story is great for children who are having to learn how to cope with damaged foster children in their family. Written by a mum who has had five adopted children, the books in this series will prove invaluable to those who must deal with children with serious background difficulties. The pictures are wonderfully simple and effective, full of greys and browns and soft colours, with solid-looking characters - very reassuring. Available from Amazon, from book shops, and from the publisher: www.jkp.com.