''I love the Feel Brave Books because she makes the sad things in life more happy"
Chloe, 7 years old from Woodfood Green Preparatory School.
''The Feel Brave books are the best PSHE resource that I have ever seen"
Liz Clayfield - EYFS Teacher Essendine Primary School, Westminster London UK.
"The Feel Brave stories provide teachers with a valuable hook on which to address critical issues in children’s lives such as friendship, anxiety and loss. Conversations about such topics can be tricky to manage so it is essential that discussions take place in a safe and positive environment. The activities provided in the teaching guide offer both creative and cooperative strategies for building resilience, confidence and emotional literacy and are easy for teachers to incorporate in their classes. The earlier that children learn to understand their emotional selves and how important it is to support each other through challenging times the better for their future wellbeing. Well done Avril and Tatiana, this is a brilliant and very welcome resource."
Dr Sue Roffey
Director Wellbeing Australia Adjunct Assoc.
Professor UWS, author, speaker and educational consultant
Founder Wellbeing Australia
"This series of books is truly amazing – wonderfully written and beautifully illustrated. They will help parents, caregivers and teachers support children, young and old, in developing emotional literacy. I see teaching emotional literacy as one of the most important things we as parents/teachers can do to help ensure our child’s sense of wellbeing and future success. You know you are in good hands with Avril too - with her background as a teacher and having a diploma in education, this depth of experience shines through! I couldn't recommend these captivating books more highly, a must for every child!"
Dr Kate Hersov
Co-Founder and CEO of Medikidz
''My children cannot get enough of your gorgeous stories. My son's biggest obsession is spiders so to have Spider as the 'Wise one' makes him really listen. And, a dozen times after reading 'the Grand Wolf', I still choke up and sob, which makes my young audience stare in utter puzzlement''.
Loula Lefkaritis - Businesswoman and Mother
"The Feel Brave books and both physical and digital resources demonstrate creative innovation for teachers and children in PSHE and across other curriculum areas such as Literacy, Art and Physical Education. The books are wonderfully written in verse with beautiful illustrations which really resonate with Children, Teachers and Parents. Having a set of the Feel Brave Books and Teaching Guide in a school provides great value in giving Teachers fun and engaging ways to help children develop their emotional wellbeing. We were fortunate to have Avril carry out an Author Visit at our school where she told the stories and demonstrated some of the activities with the children which was of huge value to us. The feedback from her visit was extremely positive and attracted media attention based on the importance of tackling the alarming trends in Children's Mental Health right now which St John's fully support.''
Mr Peter Tidmarsh
Headmaster - St John's Church of England Primary School Buckhurst Hill, Essex
"I am writing this review with 2 hats on! As a mother of 2 children aged 3 and 11, I love these books. Both my children enjoy listening to the stories and they learn about difficulties in life but in a way that makes it easier for them to understand and accept. My 3 year old loves the rhythm of the stories. The first time I read The Grand Wolf, I couldn't stop the tears however, it was written in such a way that even death seemed okay and that was for me as an adult. Avril writes her books with so much passion and thought and I will recommend her books to anyone who has children. As a teacher I cannot praise these books and the teacher guide enough. I teach Year 3 and my class loves the books. They have listened to every story and has even done a class assembly based on The Wolf is not invited. They performed this during the week leading up to anti-bullying and the message was shared with the whole school. Children as old as 11 came out of assembly wanting to read the book. We at WGPS was also very fortunate to have Avril visit the school during that week and the children could not get enough of her stories. An absolute hit! The teacher's guide is full of ideas that support each of the books and a must have for any PSHCE lesson."
Mrs A van Wyk-Beer
Year 3 Teacher - Woodford Green Preparatory School
"Avril's Feel Brave series of stories for 4-7 year olds are perfectly pitched. The stories are engaging, funny and sensitive. I have read them with a few children now, they've giggled out loud, asked questions provoked by the stories and used some of the terminology afterwards too - like 'my magical mind'. Avril's stories are based on sound psychological research. The message is delivered in a simple way, often by the wise words of the friendly spider. The accompanying book for parents/teachers is excellent too. She expands on the themes from the stories and offers additional practical ideas to enhance learning and development. These books are a great way for kids to learn about resilience, and emotional well-being. Well done Avril. I loved them".
Dr Hazel Harrison
Clinical Psychologist at ThinkAvellana
"When I received 'The Wolf's Colourful Coat' book yesterday I was so taken with it that I read it in assembly to Years 4, 5 and 6. They loved it and as a result they are now all writing their own book with a clear message as they call it. Would you mind being the judge of this on the day?"
Walnut Tree Walk Primary School
Lambeth, London, UK
With the importance of PSHE and the need to discuss feelings and other matters relevant to all children comes this excellently well produced teachers’ book. It details an approach to teaching PSHE through stories in five accompanying sympathetically illustrated children’s books. The themes covered in the stories include loss of a loved one (The Grand Wolf), how to deal with people who are unkind (The Wolfs Colourful Coat), worries (The Wolf and the Baby Dragon), fears (The Wolf and the Shadow Monster), and being left out (The Wolf is Not Invited). The text of each story is included in the teachers’ book, as is a CD which has everything too, including emotions cards and yoga pose cards. Links are made to other curricular areas such as Religion, DT and Science with plentiful suggestions for activities. All in all, an excellent resource for the KSl classroom, and also for EYFS.
Rudolph Loewenstein, The School Librarian Vol. 65 No.1 Spring 2017 Review of the Feel Brave 'Teaching Guide'
"At St Paul's Cray CE Primary School, we were privileged to have a visit from the author Avril McDonald. She shared her wonderful feel brave books with our two year 1 classes. The children responded in a really positive way and the stories encouraged them to talk about their feelings and what they can do to help themselves and others. We showed the whole school these books in an assembly following Avril's visit and we all agree that they will become an integral part of teaching feelings within our PSHE curriculum. This is an area that children do struggle with and Avril's motivating books with their beautiful illustrations and wonderful rhymes will go a long way towards helping young children improve the way that they communicate their feelings and emotions."
Nursery (Early Years) Leader
St Pauls Cray C of E Primary School, Orpington, Kent UK
We are loving your programme. It is making such an impact on how the children respond to situations and especially their own behaviour. It is helping them to consider the feelings of others and what steps they can take when things go wrong.
We watch the daily doses each day and I am not sure if you hear my wee bunch but they say hi and goodbye every day, often adding "Come back to the Chathams and see us. I showed them your photos and shared the email so they know you are a 'real' person! We just wanted to share some photos with you to show you that Wolfgang as arrived on the Chathams.
Nga mihi nui
We were thrilled to host Avril McDonald at Stockholm International School. Avril engaged all of our students from Preschool through to Grade 5 with stories that taught children about self confidence, change and grief, anxiety and fears, worries, and on how to make new friendships and relationships. All of the staff, students and parents present loved her engaging characters and the beautiful illustrations. Some student reflections from this author visit included: "I think these books are important because they give you messages to help you in your life!", "When there's a problem it's important to feel brave!", and "I learned that even though someone has been mean to you it's important to be kind to them and maybe you can make a new friend." We hope to host Avril, Wolfgang and her other friends at our school again in the future.
Early Years & IPC Educator
Library Media Specialist
Stockholm International School - Sweden
"All Primary Schools' Literacy and PHSE subject leaders should be fully embracing the Feel Brave series of stories into curricular practice. Everyday emotional and personal challenges are woven into the most absorbing stories that children and teachers alike will marvel from. The cross-curricular learning potential is far-reaching."
Regional Primary School Sports Advisor and professional qualified Grant Writer
"Avril visited Mead Road School and shared some of her Feel Brave stories with our staff and children. The stories deliver powerful messages about managing emotions which all children can relate to. The children were mesmorised by Avril's retelling and they were hooked in by the beautiful illustrations that accompany the stories. We hope to use these stories alongside the teaching guide to deliver outstanding PSHE sessions across the school."
Head of School
Mead Road Infant School, Kent, United Kingdom
"I'm excited about these books and the impact they might have on children. This series captures some key concepts of issues young people today must address if they are to master living wisely and healthily. The five constructs each book addresses truely provides a rich and meaningful array of activities and skills to build emotional literacy surrounding finding calm, self-confidence, realtionship building, anxiety and fears, change los and grief. And, by the way, these issues are not limited to 4-7 year olds. they are the kind of issues every age can benefit from by being reminded of what it takes to live iwth anxiety each day in an effective and healthy way. Each book is unique in theconcept that it addresses and each book can stand alone. However, the real value lies in using it all together as a series to promote courage, emotional literacy, and being brave. The name of the sereis certainly reflects this. As a Licensed Prfessional Clinical Counselor, Past Elementary and Secondary School Teacher, University Educator and Grandma, I believe ''Feel Brave'' is an outstanding series that weill be a valued resource for parents, care-givers, and teachers."
Dr. Toni R. Tollerud
Ph.D. LCPC, NCC, NCSC, ACS
Distinguished Teaching Professional
Northern Illiniois University
Avril led fantastic sessions for our KS1 classes and a Ks2 assembly. The characters in her stories truly come to life and the messages they convey are so important to the emotional wellbeing of young children. I highly recommend Avril and her Feel Brave series to address issues such as self-confidence, anxiety and worries. The sessions were interactive and pitched perfectly. Thank you so much, Avril, for your visit and providing us with such wonderful resources!
Year 3 Teacher - All Saints Church of England Primary School
Putney, London UK
"Avril - I have loved using your books and the creative strategies suggested to bring about positive change for the children I work with! All of the children have made very positive comments about both the books, feelings cards and techniques used to teach them new concepts (we are making a lot of cheeky monkeys and wise owls at the moment!) Many of my families and schools are keen to purchase the books. I'm so excited for you! You have created a resource that resonates with children - what a gift!"
Dr Nicole Carvill - THINK Psychologists Australia
"Avril visited Windlesham School in June 2016 during our annual celebration of reading. During her visit Avril presented her books to parents and shared her Feel Brave characters and series of books with the children in Reception and Key Stage One.
The books and characters are engaging and really unpick the feelings and emotions that children (and adults!) experience during difficult times. During her presentation Avril showed the children some techniques to help with anxieties and these and other strategies are shared in the Teachers Guide.
The Feel Brave books are brilliantly observed and help children to acknowledge and process their feelings. This is particularly relevant with regard to a greater need for understanding children's mental health and wellbeing.
Since Avril's visit I have recommended this series of books to many friends and parents for a range of differing issues ranging from friendship problems to grief and death. I personally found "The Grand Wolf" to be particularly helpful with my own young children.
We are looking forward to a return visit from Avril this academic year to further explore emotions and share more strategies with staff, children and parents to support children in both their academic and emotional literacy."
Rebecca Older - Early Years Co-ordinator
Windlesham School & Nursery, Brighton, Hove, East Sussex
"As our Pupil Library Coordinator, encouraging children to read broadly and to share their reading experiences is important to us. We thoroughly enjoyed your visit and felt that you engaged with the children right from the start. Your workshop was embraced by all. We have had excellent feedback from parents and carers who have shared your books with their children. Your stories make difficult situations easier to manage through discussion and relating to the characters and scenarios in your books. The children value visits from the 'author behind the story' and you certainly have struck a chord with how books can give children the tools to deal with real life situations."
Annie Tompsett - Libraray Co-ordinator
Windlesham School & Nursery, Brighton, Hove, East Sussex
Years 1, 2 and 3 welcomed the author of the Feel Brave series of books, Avril McDonald. Avril spoke to the boys about the time her daughter had a nightmare and how, through storytelling, they overcame the bad dream together. This led to Avril coming up with the characters for her books. She read some of her stories to the boys who thoroughly enjoyed hearing about Wolfgang and his friends. The books help children deal with issues such as kindness, self-confidence and fears. This was an enjoyable afternoon and we would like to thank Avril for taking the time to come in and see us.