Written By: Danielle Brown MBE & Nathan Kai
Illustrated by: Joanna Kerr
For Ages: 8-12 years
Topics Covered: Social-Emotional Growth, Growing Up, Goals, Habits, Self-Esteem, Confidence.
When I heard that a gold medal Paralympian and a child MENSA member had teamed up to write a book about life skills, I obviously had to read it! Filled with tips to help develop executive functioning skills like organization, defining success for yourself, and developing positive self-talk.
I like the way this book is broken down into small bites, and interspersed with personal anecdotes from both Danielle and Nathan. The book covers some self-reflection questions for the reader, like deciding what you’re passionate about and different goal-setting strategies in order to accomplish them. Addressing failure too, is so important and having a growth mindset about it and emphasizing each person’s unique contributions to the world. I like the illustrations that break up the text, and the quotes by well-known public figures like Beyonce and Serena Williams (because honestly, if those two powerhouses can’t inspire you, who can?). The book is along the same vein as the series by Jamie Wilson & Andrea Pippins, if you’re familiar with those (Step Into Your Power & Big Ideas for Young Thinkers)! I love the emphasis on being kind to yourself and to others, but finding the line between being taken advantage of and helping others whenever you can.
Danielle started archery on her fifteenth birthday after her disability stopped her from taking part in the sports she loved. Three years later she was on the Great Britain team, jumping in as World Number 1 and hanging onto that position for the rest of her career. Danielle won gold at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games and retained her title in London 2012, as well as winning 5 World Championship Titles. She became the first disabled person to represent England at the Commonwealth Games (and win gold) as an able-bodied athlete.
Nathan is nine years old and very determined to achieve his goals – one of which has been to become a published author. Nathan is a member of MENSA and his intelligence shows. He is a prize winning linguist, grade 4 pianist, bronze national and European medalist in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He’s educated otherwise. He swims like a fish and thoroughly enjoys the challenges of writing. He’s thrilled that his hard work is paying off and he is looking forward to helping other children feel happier, more secure and confident in achieving their goals too.
Joanna completed a Fine Art degree at Oxford University before embarking on a career as a print maker. Working with Lino cut Joanna developed a preference for strong lines, which she has now translated into her illustration style. Joanna has many influences, but the elegance of Paul Wearing and simplicity of Lo Cole are particularly strong. Joanna has had a long and successful career as an illustrator and is proud to have recently added an MA in sequential Illustration from the University of Brighton to her list of achievements.