Audio recording of Tippy Moffle’s Mirror

Here is an audio recording of our first Moffle book – Tippy Moffle’s Mirror. Beautifully read by our great friend, Connie Crosby. We loved hearing the story come to life & we hope you do, too.

Connie Crosby is an actor, singer, storyteller, voice artist and aspiring director. She grew up in the world of Cornish theatre & is part of the Story Republic, a performance troupe who tell stories, poems and songs.

A Friend for Henry

Henry is a little boy who wants a friend. He is trying to work out why some of the children in his class don’t do friendship the way he does, or stick to his rules. He is bewildered by how they behave. When he tries to connect, it seems to go wrong, for reasons he can’t quite understand. In time, he finds Katie & they play together, each in their own way. This story gently explores how a child with autistic traits might navigate the challenges they face in school, & how this makes them feel.

Play provides opportunities for children to develop friendships & social skills but this is easier for some children than for others. For those who are neuro-divergent in ways that lead to them struggling with unstructured time, sensory processing & with reading social cues, the classroom & playground can be a lonely, frustrating & even frightening place. This most certainly includes many children with attachment difficulties because of childhood trauma, a significant number of whom will have a dual diagnosis of autism.

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The Black Book of Colours

By Menena Cottin

Thomas sees differently – he can hear colours, smell them, touch them, and taste them. We learn how he understands colours without using his eyes. ‘Red is sour like unripe strawberries and as sweet as watermelon. It hurst when he finds it on his scraped knee’. This is a story written by a sighted author & there is no pretension that it gives us full knowledge of what it is like to be partially sighted or blind. What it does do is invite visually focused readers to become more curious about difference & more accepting of different ways of experiencing the world.

The beautiful narrative is set out in white font, with a braille version on each page & alphabet at the back of the book. Print costs prevented the braille being as deep as needed to make this a fully accessible book, although I did find a couple of adult reviewers, identifying as blind, for whom the braille, although light, was raised enough to read.  Sighted readers are certainly given a lovely introduction to braille & invitation to explore the book through a range of senses. Run your fingers over the raised line drawings, to see the delicate pictures of natural objects with your fingertips. Or close your eyes & listen to the colours come alive in your mind, through the simple but poetic text. Seldom will you find a picture story that so cleverly explores how our personal contexts shape how we define the world.

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The Colour Monster

This is a clever book that shows us monsters aren’t always scary & neither are feelings, if you have someone to help you understand them. A kind, little girl takes her colourful but confused monster friend by the hand. She says that his feelings are all stirred up & so he is, too. She lets him know that she can help. Through a bright collage of illustrations, all the different coloured feelings are separated out & put into glass jars to look at – a lovely way of conveying that feelings can be managed & are containable. This is a charming portrayal of ‘what’s shareable is bearable’ & that we need never be alone with experiencing emotions.

There is a simplicity to the words in the story, which offer connections between colours & emotions & what they might lead us to do, but without being prescriptive.

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Riley the Brave

By Jessica Sinarski

Riley is a little bear who has lived through bad, sad & scary times. This lovely story helps us see how Riley has done more than survive, he has found lots of resourceful ways to look after himself. Now he lives with ‘safe critters’ & he is finding that he doesn’t need his old strategies anymore. Riley is learning that the bravest thing of all for a hurt cub, is to be able to trust again, to ask for help, & to let loving carers into his heart. This is a well constructed & wonderfully accessible picture book. It describes the impact of trauma & loss on little brains & bodies & manages to do all this within an engaging tale that will warm the hearts of children & adults alike.

A big challenge for parents, carers & professionals who love & care for a child with developmental trauma, is to find the right words to help the child understand themselves & the world around them. To find a clear but captivating narrative to make sense of how their thoughts, feelings & behaviour are being shaped by their past experiences. Children living with unresolved trauma often struggle with overwhelming feelings & are confused as to why they get so jumbly & behave the way they do. They worry that there is something wrong with them & that they are unlovable.  For a child with a short attention span, a quick fuse & a propensity for easily feeling shame, communicating that we know they are a hurt child & not a bad child   – & that they can heal – is no small task!

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In My Heart

By Jo Witek

In My Heart, oozes colour & tactile appeal. It is an exploration of all sorts of emotions, each of which is celebrated with big, playful pictures. The die-cut heart design is delightful & it is hard to resist turning the pages to follow how the heart changes, as it runs through the book. There is a lyrical use of similes & sensory words that cleverly connect emotions with physical feelings in the body, in a beautiful yet simple way. We hear how some feelings make us as light as a balloon & others as heavy as an elephant. Importantly, we are reminded that feelings come & go & that like springtime after winter, the sun comes out again. It ends with an invitation to consider our own emotions.

The Moffles love the connection of colours with emotions. Also, the honouring of all emotions, thoughts & feelings as being important & of equal value. I often explore with parents & carers in therapy, how we can support their child to learn that all thoughts & feelings are fine, even if we have to set limits to behaviour.

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The Blue Songbird

In this story, a tiny, blue bird feels different to her yellow sisters. Her singing is not the same as theirs. She wonders what her special song might be & her mother encourages her to set out to find it. She travels far, seeking advice from a crane, an owl, a mean-looking crow, and other birds. It is only when she comes home again & her mother is there, ready to hear of all her adventures, that the little songbird finally discovers her true voice. Here is a tale both of self-discovery, & of how a caring parent can help us to feel truly seen & heard.

Issues of identity & belonging can be confusing for fostered & adopted children.  Many who come to family therapy are trying hard to make better sense of their life history, who they are & where they fit in. They can carry a sense of being bad, or ‘other’. These challenges can be heightened in adolescence, when the developmental task of separating from family & moving more towards friendship groups kicks in. If a child has experienced trauma & loss in the past & struggled to make secure attachments, then venturing out on a journey of self-discovery can be fraught with difficulties.

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Moffle Glitter Jars

Glitter jars (or bottles) are easy to make & can be a cute, visual aid to help children practice calming their minds & their bodies. They also can be a useful aid for taking ‘brain breaks’ for children that have trouble concentrating for long period of time & need short, frequent rests.

The idea is that they can shake the jar up & watch the glitter whirl around. Shaking the jar can provide a nice, physical release for any jumbly feelings or frustration. Then they can put the jar down & watch the glitter slowly settle to the bottom. As they watch the glitter sink, they can be encouraged to see how many deep breaths they can take before the contents of the jar become still again.

You can invite them to notice whether they feel any different after the glitter has settled & compare the glitter to swirling thoughts & feelings. Encourage them to notice whether their own thoughts & feelings are clearer once they have watched the glitter jar quietly, as they breathe. Let them know that all their thoughts & feelings are ok & we aren’t trying to get rid of them, just to notice them & manage them more easily. 

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Imagine Eating Lemons

By Jason Rhodes

This cute story follows Chester Chestnut through his miniature woodland world, as he faces everyday challenges & learns how to calm his worries. Chester deals with being the new boy at school, with stage fright & fear of the unknown & he does so by making use of some simple mindfulness techniques.  The rhythmic, repeating actions introduce children in a catchy way to some basic tools that can help them to settle their minds & bodies.  The invitation to take a deep breath & concentrate on what they can feel & hear is weaved into an entertaining & relatable adventure.

Many children with developmental trauma find self-awareness & self-control difficult. Because of this they are more likely to experience difficulties in building and maintaining meaningful & sociable relationships with other children and the caring adults in their lives. Research has shown that if practised regularly, mindfulness helps children to learn how to control the focus of their attention and also how to relax themselves in their body. When we focus our minds, we begin to understand ourselves more. Then we are more open to being in relationship with others.  In family therapy, we can try to find lots of fun, playful ways to encourage practising mindfulness. Children can experience that self-awareness doesn’t have to be hard work – we can find it with an attitude of playfulness and acceptance.

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Moffle Story Spoons

We’ve made some story spoons that can be used with Tippy Moffle’s Mirror!

Children gain so much of their vocabulary & deepen their imagination & thinking through stories. Using story spoons together can be a fun, shared activity. They can be an engaging way to help involve your child in story reading & story telling. If you want to get creative & messy, you might even feel brave enough to involve your child in making the spoons!

Story spoons can be as elaborate or as simple as you want to make them, depending on the time & materials you have available. A pack of plain wooden spoons is the basic starting point. We’ve used some paint, glue, coloured felt, ribbon & pens to create our Moffles.

Once you have your Moffle spoon characters, you can use them in all sorts of ways. The only limits are you & your child’s imagination & concentration span. You may want to model playing with the spoons for your child, so that they get some ideas for how to use them.

You can hold the spoons & act out Tippy Moffle’s story as you read together. Try using different voices for the different characters! Ask questions about what the characters might be feeling or thinking.

Or you can improvise & role play – ask questions & create dialogues between the characters. Remember it’s ok for the story to go in any direction your child wants to take it – just make things up & go with the flow! As long as your child is enjoying the activity & is engaged in the process with you, it’s all good. & you can keep your story spoons in a jar close to your books, to use any time.