Brothers Forever: a sweet look at navigating transitions

brothers forever.jpg

Starting school is tough. It’s exhausting, emotional and a little bit scary. It’s also hard on the sibling that gets left behind. The person they have always had isn’t there anymore and the daily dynamics change; Angus still tells me every day Ivy is at school that he misses her. The older sibling will also change with new growth and experience.

They have chosen Brothers Forever as a bedtime book a few times; I think it offers both something relatable and comforting.  

Brothers Forever is a sweet story about how life changes for two brothers as the older goes to school, told from the perspective of the younger brother.

‘Some days you think you have it all. Barney is my big brother and my best friend. We bake cakes. We plant trees. We play hide-and-see. We dance. We draw together. I’m sure it will be this way forever.’


When Barney starts school the day is hard. With no one to play with

‘I never knew a day could be so long.’

Even when Barney comes home it’s different, Barney is different. Although the brothers start to go in different directions, they eventually find their feet again and realise that

‘Things are changing all the time but brothers are forever.’

It’s a wonderful read it before you need it book and is great for:

  • Talking about transitions to prepare kids for the emotional journey of change

  • Starting conversation about change/transitions

  • Helping find new ways to connect after change

  • Comforting and reassuring kids that change can be good and that some things will remain constant

Brothers Forever
by Claudia Boldt – Penguin Random House UK, 2018
ages 2 to 8 years / emotional resilience + heartwarmer

Book Depository has free postage anywhere in the world and great pricing

Names in this book – Barney, Barnaby

I Am Small: being small can be hard work

A person’s a person, no matter how small.
— Dr. Seuss

When I saw I Am Small on the shelf at the library I knew we needed this book for Angus. He too is small. Most of the time it doesn’t bother him, but every now and then someone has the audacity to suggest his size might limit his ability and he gets upset, angry, or both. It must be tough.

Mimi, the protagonist of I Am Small certainly thinks so. She is the smallest in her family, her class, even their pet dog is bigger than her! It makes life hard.

'I wouldn’t be surprised if nobody noticed me.

Being small really bugs me.

When will I grow big enough to take up as much space in the world as everyone else?’

She points out things that taller people, especially adults, take for granted that make life difficult for a small person.


‘My feet barley reach the edge of the seat on the bus. I bounce all over the place on the way to school.’


‘At Olivia’s bakery, I can’t even see all the pretty desserts in the display case. Just imagine the trouble I have picking the nicest cake!’


‘And in class, I can only reach the bottom of the blackboard. It’s annoying, especially when I have a lot I want to write.’

No one quite understands; everyone else thinks being small is great. She always gets to be in the front row for school photos, has lot’s of small secret places to hide in and always wins at hide-and-seek.

Mimi eventually comes to see the benefits of her current size and learns to be patient and find joy in growing up (the birth of a baby brother lets her see how much she has grown).

It’s a sweet story that has some really wonderful messages. I Am Small is a great book for

- A small child who is struggling with being understood

- Discussing perspective - something that we see as a benefit might be a challenge for someone else

- Recognising and understanding restrictions that might limit others

- Being patient, sometimes growth comes slowly

The water colour illustrations are endearing and expressive, providing a wonderful visual tale. I Am Small is a beautiful tale of growth, understanding and acceptance and would make a wonderful gift.

I Am Small By Qin Leng – Kids Can Press, 2018
ages 2 to 8 years / heartwarmers + emotional resilience

Names in this book – Mimi, Nicholas, Marie, Gus

The New Small Person: welcoming a new baby can be a tricky business!

The New Small Person: welcoming a new baby can be a tricky business!

Three-year-old Ivy is excitedly awaiting the arrival of a baby brother in a couple of months. She’s looking for things that will be the same and different for them. 

He’ll be little and she’ll be big. But, after a bath: ‘he’ll have a naked bottom just like me’.  Both true. 

Ivy is pretty keen for this baby to arrive. (So am I, truth be told.) Still, there’s bound to be some adjusting to do. 

The New Small Person is all about the adjustment – and the process.

Ages 2 to 8

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I love a book that shows (but doesn’t preach about) the interconnectedness of people around the world – this book manages exactly that.

And I think the key is the joyfulness of the illustrations. There’s a fuzziness* to them that invites the reader into the edges of the world each character inhabits. 

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Feeling lost, unwelcome or out of place is one of childhood’s certainties. They’re feelings that will come to every child in one measure or another. Teens, of course, continue to have those feelings, and so do adults. For displaced people, regardless of age, those feelings are frequently more than an emotional reaction—they can be the cold hard facts of life. Beegu is a displaced alien child who....

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The opening line is:

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I record a story (dodgy lighting and shuffling pages are no big deal), it uploads, and the grandkids look at it whenever their parents are ready to give up their phones for a few minutes.

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