The Feel Brave Series of Children's Reading Books

6 Book Set - Little Stories About Big Feelings

By: Avril McDonald


£47.94


Size: 234 x 286mm

Format: Paperback

Published: May 2016


This set includes all six children’s story books:

The Wolf is Not Invited

The Grand Wolf

The Wolf and the Shadow Monster

The Wolf’s Colourful Coat

The Wolf and the Baby Dragon

The Wolf was Not Sleeping

The Feel Brave series is designed to help children explore emotional intelligence, positive psychology and some of the real-life issues which they might face – such as bullying, anxiety, bereavement, friendships and worries – in an engaging, creative and non-threatening way.

The books are suitable for 4- to 7-year-olds.

The Feel Brave series was a finalist in the 2017 Education Resources Awards in the Educational Book Award category.


Picture for author Avril McDonald

Avril McDonald

Avril McDonald is the bestselling, award-winning author of the Feel Brave series of books and founder of Feel Brave, a company with a vision to give all children access to tools that help them manage tough emotions and reach their potential. Avril has a Diploma of Education from Wellington College of Education, New Zealand, where she trained as a primary school teacher majoring in music and dance. She then had a varied career in digital entertainment before launching Feel Brave to give teachers and parents simple and practical strategies to help children with their emotional well-being. Her free '1 Dose/Day' emotional well-being programme for children is now used in more than 350 schools across ten countries. Avril is an official partner of the New Zealand Life Education Trust and Patron of Westminster Children's University.

Click here to read a feature on Avril's Feel Brave series on New Zealand's Stuff' website.

Click here to listen to UKEdChats podcast with Avril McDonald.

'Emotional tools for kids taught through books and songs.'

'Teaching children empathy.'

'Empowering kids to feel brave and tackle tough emotions'


Reviews

  1. The books do a great job of dealing with dark topics and have loads of perfect tension points for philosophical enquiry. The themes in the two I have used (The Grand Wolf and The Wolf and the Shadow Monster) are death and fear respectively and both prompted fascinating discussions on these topics in years 1 and 2.

    The spider character who reoccurs in every book providing a new way of framing the problem to help the protagonist is an especially useful generator of philosophical bite points. For example, in The Wolf and the Shadow Monster she says, -œYou can change how you feel using your mind-. Doing this story with my year 2 class, we broke the circle on mind and then I asked them, -œIs the spider right, can you change how you feel using your mind?- It was a fantastic discussion in which the children shared many surprising psychological insights. Our reading of The Grand Wolf facilitated a frank discussion about the nature of death as well as possibly distressing changes in general. After asking the children, -œWhat does it mean, that the Grand Wolf died?-, we discussed -˜Is it bad when the world changes?' after the book's characters note that they do not want their world to change. This session was heavily praised by the teacher who was moved to shed a tear by the book's ending.



    The children have also found the artwork compelling and interesting. I have had a lot of success with these books in the classroom.
  2. The Feel Brave books use fictional narrative to explore social psychological predicaments through the journey of Wolfgang. The books do well to elicit emotional responses from the children, which draws them in to engage with the moral particularities of the situation Wolfgang finds himself in. They manage this through a combination of effective framing of moral situations which raise questions, a poetic rhyming structure of the text and vibrant artwork with a playful aesthetic appeal.
  3. Children love the Feel Brave books. The books help children learn about difficulties in life but in a way that makes them easy to understand and accept through the rhythm, rhyme and repetition, the beautiful illustrations and the very clear messages and strategies that are subtly put across in each story. The accompanying Feel Brave Teaching Guide curates great ideas, games and activities for teachers to build on the stories' messages and the Feel Brave -˜Emotion Cards' (which are made up of the Feel Brave characters) cleverly provide meaningful and fun ways for teachers to help build emotional literacy. The app demonstrates outstanding innovation around being able to combine ICT time with PSHE.

    As a teacher, I cannot praise these books and the teaching guide enough. My Year Three class love the books. They have listened to every story and we have even done a class assembly based on The Wolf is Not Invited using the CD-ROM with all of the book illustrations in the back of the teaching guide. My class performed this during the week leading up to anti-bullying week and the message was shared with the whole school. Children as old as 11 came out of the assembly wanting to read the books. We at Woodford Green Preparatory School were also very fortunate to have Avril visit the school during that week and the children could not get enough of her stories, which were an absolute hit. We created our own Feel Brave -˜Tree House' to support all of the PSHE work we continue to do around the Feel Brave books.

    The Feel Brave reading books, accompanying Feel Brave Teaching Guide, Emotion Cards and app make learning and teaching fun for children, and simple and practical for teachers. The stories can be used in so many cross-curricular ways, and with children falling in love with the characters there is a deep meaning for them in what they are doing which enhances their learning. To find stories that can open up conversations around self-confidence; anxiety and fears; change, loss and grief; worries and calming down; making relationships; and provide activities to support PSHE is such a great support for us as teachers.



    The series is great value for the amount of use a school can get out of the resources across many curriculum areas. The teaching guide has a CD-ROM containing all of the book illustrations, and each chapter has the stories written with page numbers which means that they can be projected onto a big screen for assemblies or classroom sessions and easily read aloud to children. Each book covers various current PSHE objectives for the Key Stage One group, which is often a challenging age to find really engaging and meaningful content for in emotional well-being.
  4. The Feel Brave books and resources demonstrate creative innovation for teachers and children in PSHE and across other curriculum areas. The resources are both physical and digital which make them both current and relevant for children. The books are wonderfully written in verse with beautiful and engaging illustrations so the resources really resonate with children, teachers and parents.

    The resources are a great way for children to learn about critical issues in their lives, such as resilience, friendship, anxiety and loss. The stories (which are based on sound psychological research) enable teachers and children to have conversations about such topics and integrate them into their PSHE objectives. The Feel Brave Teaching Guide offers both creative and cooperative activities and strategies to help build emotional well-being whilst also providing a lot of cross-curricular learning potential in areas such as literacy, art and physical education.

    The ideas for teachers in the teaching guide can be used as five-minute exercises during circle time or easily adapted into longer lessons so teachers can easily pick and choose what best suits their timetable and easily integrate PSHE into their day. The -˜Emotion Cards' and app provide ways for children to be independently learning and improving the way that they communicate their feelings and emotions. The CD-ROM with the book's illustrations allows teachers to be creative and flexible in how they use the stories and messages and create lesson plans around them.



    Just having a set of the Feel Brave books and teaching guide alone in a school provides great value in giving teachers fun and engaging ways to help children develop emotional well-being. 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, a campaign which St John's fully supports.
  5. 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 love the books. They have listened to every story and have even done a class assembly based on The Wolf is Not Invited. They performed this during the week leading up to anti-bullying week 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 were 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 is a must have for any PSHCE lesson.
  6. 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 Teaching 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.
  7. 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!
  8. 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!
  9. These beautifully illustrated books are designed to lead children through issues that they may find challenging, especially from an emotional point of view.

    There are 5 books plus a guide that helps the adult/adults work through different issues with activities that are designed for specific areas such as craft activities, physical exercises and drama games. The books' reach is broad but everything is neatly tied together.

    The story books that accompany the guide book are simply gorgeous, the illustrations perfectly fitting the text. Finding Calm, Self Confidence, Making Relationships, Anxiety and Fears and Change, Loss and Grief cover a lot of ground but it is ground that can often be a part of a child's life on a daily basis and not in a good way. These books step in and provide support, comfort and solutions that are relatable and reasonably easy to make a part of a child's emotional thinking. Changing our thinking is really what it boils down to when we face an issue that grips and won't let go, and these books are an excellent tool/resource to help us do so.



    Designed for the 4-7 year age group, this resource could be a great at-home resource and a very valuable resource for any Primary School.

    You can read the full review here.
  10. Each book is unique in the concept 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 series certainly reflects this.

    Points that I like about the series Feel Brave:

    -¢ The same characters move from book to book

    -¢ Readers will gain a familiarity and an attachment for characters

    -¢ They wear the same clothes which is helpful for young readers

    -¢ The books are written in rhyme

    -¢ The color and pictures definitely enhance the stories and the learning

    -¢ Excellent use of creativity and beautiful art shown on each page

    -¢ Comes with an outstanding CD with picture display of books without words

    -¢ Emotion cards

    -¢ Illustrated Yoga moves

    -¢ Outstanding teaching guide with detailed information, exercises and activities

    -¢ Recipe for lavender playdoh

    -¢ Magical sayings that can be taught, memorized and used over and over to train the mind of the reader (young and old)

    -¢ Builds on positive emotions and self-regulation



    MOST KEY POINT: The characters are generally kind to each other.

    As a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, past Elementary and Secondary School Teacher, University Educator, and Grandma, I believe Feel Brave is an outstanding series that will be a valued resource for parents, care-givers, and teachers. It is sensitive to the developmental needs of children ages 4-7 and reflects activities that promote positive psychology, social-emotional literacy and mental wellness. It is a series I would recommend to professionals and parents and would use myself with my own grandchildren when the time comes. I would also see it as applicable in doing therapy with families who have young children. The messages are strong and positive, but also presented in a colorful, inviting, and fun approach.



    The only concern I have for the series is the use of -˜magic' wording. While I find the use of magical talk stimulating and acceptable, I believe there may be some adults who will be threatened by this language and consequently would not support the series. Frankly it is their loss.
  11. 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 well-being 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!
  12. Avril's Feel Brave series of stories for 4-7 year olds are perfectly pitched. The stories are engaging, funny and 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.
  13. Avril McDonald's new series featuring her character Wolfgang (there are five books) are more than simply children's stories - they each carry an important message, and this is surely the most powerful and enjoyable way to get the messages across. The illustrations are superb, the messages simple but effective, and the series should seriously find a way into your home if you have young children. Each of the five books covers a different topic, e.g. bullying, that children might face during their young lives - each book explains through the eyes and the attitude of Wolfgang, how he deals with what's happening. This kind of storytelling is the modern equivalent of fables, and is a must-read for parents who want to help their children through the difficult stages of their lives. Absolutely terrific.

    Click here to read the review on their website.

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