The value of reading is by now undisputed. If you love to read, or learn to love reading, you will enrich your life, expand your horizons and visit worlds beyond your wildest imagination. This is what we know to be true as adults escaping from our everyday routines or searching for pearls of wisdom from other people around the world we will never meet. But does it apply to children too? More specifically:
What incredible skills will your child gain by reading Kiki and Friends?!
Aside from having fun and being happy to be part of the Kiki-verse at Blueberry Cottage or on Murk Farm in Sleepy Meadow, I only promise your child will gain at least 3 incredible skills through my stories. You can forage for more in the pages of the books.
The lessons your child learns along the way are not taught, they are felt and experienced.
The signature mark of any Kiki book. Believe in yourself and you can do anything. When Kiki puts on her red headband, heads will spin and the good guys win! It was a natural extension for me to underscore Kiki’s self-belief with a practical fun journal for kids.
The Kiki’s I CAN Journal for Kids is a fun, indirect way for children to feel a sense of achievement, to start understanding more about themselves and others, and to become more self-aware through fun exercises every day.
None of this is to be done “directly” with a promise or instruction for self-improvement looming over their heads. From the trials, kids who were simply left to do the journal on their own got the best results. The ones who were told that they HAD TO do the journal because it would make them BETTER in some way, gave up early on and didn’t reap the full benefits.
Why? You may think that by telling a child something is good for them they would want to do it? Right… wrong. They see it as a chore. They actually wait for proof of this miraculous change. Just like adults don’t eat enough fruit, stop watching too much TV or spend more time in nature even though we know it is good for us. We still read or join personal development courses with the hope of getting a magical formula and want to see instant results, or at least tangible results.
When presented as a fun project, the Kiki’s I CAN Journal for Kids will build your child’s resilience and ultimately their confidence… without them even knowing. It is the epitome of learning through fun.
My second promise is your child will become more empathetic. This is done indirectly again. On a subtle level the children join in with the stories. They affiliate and associate with one, two or all of the characters. That is why there is such a wide variety to choose from. When the characters go through a decision making process or face a dilemma and have to decide what to do, your child is a part of that decision making process too. “What would I do?” or “What would I have said to Kiki and Banjo to help them?”.
When they then see the outcome, this too is fed into their subconscious mind. So, when Kiki and Banjo discover that telling the truth is the best way in Book 1: A Case of Mistaken Identity, your child is being taught the lesson, indirectly by our funny furry friends. When Banjo discovers he has hurt Piero through his actions, he teaches your child the principle of cause and effect. Well done Banjo! He didn’t know he had it in him. Likewise when the gang of fearless friends set the elephant free at the circus, your child is being made to think about other people in need, how they can help them and how you don’t have to be big to make big changes.
The 3rd lesson is perhaps one that is most obvious. I wanted to use my books as a tool to educate children in a way that I was through reading and theatre. Just as Shakespeare’s plays educated the public on historical event (albeit a bit skewed at times), Kiki and the gang open the door to the world of art and literature for your child – well at least open a kink in it for your child to then open further if they are interested.
Making big topics bit-size and manageable.
It is by no mistake or chance that the characters are all named after famous artists – both writers and painters.
- Lord Byron
- Edgar Allan Poe
- Percy Bysshe Shelley
- Winston (and) Churchill
Now when they are at school or watching a documentary and hear the name Lord Byron or Edgar Allan Poe, it will already be a familiar part of their vocabulary. This makes it easier to then learn about it. Eating lasagna before having to cook it makes it easier because you know what it looks like and tastes like. If Winston Churchill pops up in class, they know he is British, wears a bowler hat like our lovable mice in Kiki and Friends. Lord Byron is upper class, clever and seen as different to others – people think he is spooky, much like Lord Byron in real life.
They will be familiar will Edgar Allan Poe and affiliate him with Lord Byron – same family, same trade: writers. Not sure I pulled it off with Percy, Bysshe and Shelley, but at least they are all in the same epoque of Romanticism. Don’t judge me too harshly, after all I don’t think kids thought Leonardo, Donatello, etc, were green painters who ate pizzas (ref to the teenage mutant hero turtles).
For more info, why not Meet the Characters.
In brief, when reading my stories, they will laugh, think and even cry. This magical flow of knowing and learning will pour in without them having to even try. Their imagination will be sprinkled with Kiki magic. If they or you are inspired, I have included exercises and quizzes at the back of every book so you can explore the themes introduced in the story.
Most importantly, Have Fun!
Books are paper planes your child can hop on to visit their favourite destinations, adventures and friends. Out of the flat sheets of paper spring all kinds of unlikely heroes too. In Kiki and Friends, you will meet so many characters who all have their own special strengths to help save the day. In every single story, both cat and mouse rise up to the challenges, and carry each other through the hard lessons to find their way to a place of ease, camaraderie and truth.
All the “extra stuff” notwithstanding, opening the pages of a Kiki book is opening a door to a happy world where your child feels safe, part of a team and ready to find their inner lion. This is Kiki’s promise to you.