How sad that a survey of almost 60,000 children in the UK by the National Literacy Trust, Seeing Yourself in What You Read has found that a third of them do not see themselves in the books they read. It highlights that this lack of visibility is particularly true for children experiencing socioeconomic hardship; children from black, Asian or minority ethnic backgrounds and also non-binary children and young people. I found myself wondering what percentage of adopted and looked after children might also report this to be the case.
The Moffles are books for children who are adopted or in the care system, that speak to them and their families and carers of their own lives. It is so important that all of our children feel seen and understood. Books that reflect themselves are such a powerful way of validating their experiences. They help them make sense of their thoughts and feelings and offer a way for us to connect with them and explore these things. In doing so we can help children to learn that their emotions are containable and do not have to be overwhelming. As Dan Seigel says, ‘name it to tame it’. Characters that a child can relate to not only help them understand what has happened in the past but provide hope and inspiration for what might and can be in the future. Remember, if you can see it you can be it!
Recently, Tippy Moffle’s Mirror received the most wonderful review from the children of an adoptive parent, who told me, “When we’d finished reading both of them said unprompted, ‘It’s about me’ … and then at the same time both said in response to the other, ‘No, it’s about me!’ I think this is praise indeed – they both connected with it and loved the Moffles”.
I hope that many more children get to connect with the Moffles and I’d love to hear from you about your experiences of sharing the stories with the children you love and care for.