Book reviews

Rick

Review by Maya Russell, Secondary Student

Award-winning author Alex Gino explores what it means to search for your own place in the world and the importance of having good people around you. .

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Creating a drama-free workplace: The insider’s guide to managing conflict, incivility and mistrust

Review by Sabrina Fernandez, Registered Nurse

Maravelas notes knowing how to transform conflict into collaboration affects the outcome of every interaction, challenge, and opportunity.

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Workplace bullying: A costly business phenomenon

Review by Dr Katrina McChesney, Senior Lecturer in Initial Teacher Education, University of Waikato

An updated and revised edition of this book supported by Needham’s Legacy Trust.

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Just work: Get s*it done, fast and fair

Review by Sophie Jackson, Knowledge, Resources and Information Manager

How we can recognize and eliminate workplace injustice, and transform our careers and organizations in the process.

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Mastering civility: A manifesto for the workplace

Review by Reece Palmer

Christine Porath shows how people can enhance their influence and effectiveness with civility.

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Out on the Shelves

Review by Kim Higginson, Information Management Specialist, MHF

An online resource collecting books and literature by rainbow authors featuring rainbow stories.

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The teacher’s guide to resolving school bullying

Review by Teri McMullan, Year 11 Dean and Teacher

This practical book helps teachers better understand the causes of bullying, and provides them with the tools to develop pupil-led anti-bullying campaigns.

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The boy at the back of the class

Review by Shahin Najak, recent University graduate

Told with heart and humour, this story is a child's perspective on the refugee crisis, highlighting the importance of friendship and kindness in a world that doesn't always make sense.

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Teine Sāmoa

Reviewed by Kirsten Edie, Secondary School Teacher

This resource aims to develop the cultural confidence of NZ teachers in order to better support our tamaiti in succeeding as proud teine and tama Sāmoa.

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The prettiest

Review by Imogen Crooks, Secondary school student

A novel about about standing up for yourself and those around you.

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Fish in a tree

Reviewed by Bodhi Hellesoe, Intermediate student

An uplifting novel that will speak to anyone who’s ever thought there was something wrong with them because they didn’t fit in.

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How to stop homophobic and biphobic bullying: A practical whole-school approach

Review by Richard Everson, Teacher Aide and LGBT member/supporter

A teachers’ guide to challenging homophobic and biphobic bullying offers unique insights to address the issue at its core.

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Gracefully Grayson

Review by Becky Essery, Intermediate school teacher

A novel about identity, self-esteem, and friendship shines with the strength of a young person's spirit and the enduring power of acceptance.

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Fantastic Florence, it’s not your fault

Review by Rachel Walker, Primary School Teacher

A story is designed to be a safe space for children to see themselves in the story's characters and is an invaluable tool for parents and caregivers, therapists and educators.

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(Don't) Call me crazy: 33 voices start the conversation about mental health

Reviewed by Fiona McDiarmid, Teacher

Thirty-three actors, athletes, writers, and artists offer essays, lists, comics, and illustrations that explore mental health

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Channel kindness: Stories of kindness and community

Reviewed by Morgan Dysart

Stories collected from Lady Gaga's Born This Way Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to making the world a kinder and braver place.

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Mophead: How your difference makes a difference

Review by Deb Marsden, Guidance Counsellor & Secondary School teacher

An inspirational graphic memoir, full of wry humour, as NZ’s bestselling Poet Laureate tells the true story of a how her difference made a difference.

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Draw the line

Review by Deb Marsden, Guidance Counsellor & Secondary School teacher

Black and white illustrations with thoughtful splashes of color create a powerful, multi-layered statement about friendship, boundaries, and healing after conflict.

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Supporting Aotearoa's Rainbow People - A practical guide for mental health professionals

Review by Louisa Woods, Guidance Counsellor

The first thing that strikes you about Supporting Aotearoa's Rainbow People is its colour - the native flora and fauna that adorn its pages thanks to the design and illustration talents of Bo Moore.

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Moth

Reviews by Kellie Christophersen and Anna Mowat

Moth is a picture book about friendship and belonging, and how it feels when you don't fit in. It aims to help children to better understand social anxiety and introversion in a safe and relatable way.

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Promised Land

Review by Demi Cox, Bookseller

Promised land is an LGBTQIA+ themed children's book written by Adam Reynolds & Chaz Harris with illustrations by Christine Luiten.

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Release the beast

Review by Michelle Dendale, Information Officer, MHF

Release the Beast is a fun and quirky picture book which allows a child to respond to his frustrations by unleashing his imaginary beast.

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Raven Wild

Review by Taonga Tangaere, Artist, Writer, and Trans Person

The tale of a mystical gem and one woman's journey of self-determination in transition from the boy she once presented herself to be into the woman and hero that she would come to know herself as.

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Stand Up!: Be an upstander and make a difference

Review by Kim Thomas, Health and Physical Education teacher at Ellesmere College

A resource for teachers, parents, sports coaches, community leaders, workplaces, or just anyone that wants to teach children and adults the importance of being an upstander to make the world a better place.

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The no more bullying book for kids

Review by Sarah Premkumar, Student and Blogger

A book that empowers children to become ‘strong, happy and bully-proof’ versions of themselves, while giving parents and teachers alike the tools and resources to open up important conversations at home and school.

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The big umbrella

Review by Alice Bates, Senior Child and Youth Care Practitioner, Cholmondeley Children’s Centre

This story invites readers of all ages to think about what their own 'umbrella' looks like. It is a story about inclusion, connection and hospitality, a book that is deceptively simple in its depth.

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Rainboy: The brightest colors shine from within

Reviewed by Jake Nankervis, Kaiāwhina tautoko

This book explores concepts of differences, acceptance, popularity and loving yourself for who you are.

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Bullies and warriors

Review by Olivia Piper and Sophia Graham

In this novel Tim Tipene depicts the reality of bullying-and strategies to address it-for children on both sides of the problem. It addresses bullying head-on, and weaves practical solutions into a universal story.

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A little bit different

Review by Kim Higginson, Information Management Specialist, MHF

This book is intended as a funny and touching story about accepting and celebrating what makes each of us different and special.

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ACE: A horsey tail of courage

Review by Vivienne Martini, Learning Advisor, Oranga Tamariki and Sam

An anti bullying story book for children with a story that follows the life of a horse who despite being bullied ends up achieving his long held dreams and goals.

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Ali's first day at school

Reviews by Sasi and Latika

This book wonderfully portrays a refugee boy’s first day at school in New Zealand.

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Feel a little: Little poems about big feelings

Review by Amanda Schulze, Community Engagement/Health Promoter, MHF

A bright book encouraging a stronger understanding of emotions from an early age, providing a toolbox for starting conversations about emotions from a young age.

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Just breathe: A mindfulness adventure

Reviewed by Charmaine Denney, Early Childhood Teacher and mum to two boys

A picture book that tells a story that takes children (and parents) through a simple and engaging mindfulness exercise. This introduced a wonderful way of dealing with difficult emotions and preventing anxiety.

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Kiwicorn

Review by Amanda Schulze, Community Engagement & Health Promotion Specialist. MHF

Kiwicorn is a cute and funny story about being unique. Gorgeous illustrations and writing, help children to understand their emotions and to open a light-hearted dialogue about diversity.

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Maia and the Worry Bug | Māia rāua ko te ngārara pāwera

Review by Kate Cherven, Communications and Marketing Officer, MHF

'Maia and the worry bug' is a story and resource book to help families experiencing mild to moderate anxiety manage their worries and understand anxiety better.

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Maiden voyage

Review by Leanne Stubbing, Year 6 Teacher

A brand new tale of discovery about the importance of truth, family and love. Maiden Voyage is the follow-up to the internationally acclaimed LGBTQ themed fairytale Promised Land.

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The smelly giant / Tio tiamu

Review by mums, teachers and school kids

The Smelly Giant/Tio Tiamu, tells the story of Toe Butter/Tio Pata, a big friendly giant shunned by the people of his village because he was different.

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The Chill Out Chair series

Review by Anna Mowat, who works as part of the All Right? wellbeing campaign in Otautahi

The Chill Out Chair is the second book in the Nicholas story series. We learn how the Calm Down Chair got its new name, the Chill Out Chair.

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Big Red and the Little Bitty Wolf: A story about bullying

Review by Charmaine Denney, early childhood teacher and mum to two boys

This book is a modern twist on the classic tale, in which a little wolf's unexpected solution to the class bully is met with surprising success.

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Consent (for Kids!): Boundaries, respect, and being in charge of YOU

Reviews by William and Deanne Douglas

Rachel Brian's book sets out to help children to speak up and tell others when they don’t want to be hugged or tickled, or if they feel uncomfortable with another person.

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Each kindness

Review by Jo Quigg, mum of 2 children, 7 and 9 years old

When Chloe's teacher gives a lesson about how even small acts of kindness can change the world, Chloe is stung by the lost opportunity for friendship.

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From worrier to warrior: A guide to conquering your fears

Review by Anna Mowat, who works as part of the All Right? wellbeing campaign in Otautahi

From Worrier to Warrior will teach you how to create your very own "toolbox" of ways to combat fear and anxiety to carry with you and conquer the Worry Monster at any time.

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Inclusion alphabet: ABCs for everyone

Review by Jill Proops, mum to a child with additional needs

Inclusion Alphabet: ABC’s for everyone is a picture book which guides the reader through some key features of inclusion.

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Invisible Jerry

Review by Kim Higginson, Information Management Specialist, MHF

This is a picture book with humour and heart for everyone who has ever felt like they’re on the outside looking in.

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Llama Llama and the Bully Goat

Review by Kim Higginson, Information Management Specialist, MHF

Taking on a difficult but important part of children's lives, Anna Dewdney gives readers a way to experience and discuss bullying in a safe and comforting way.

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Made by Raffi

Review by Kim Higginson, Information Management Specialist, MHF

A story of a little boy who is different from his peers and is bullied at school, Pomranz celebrates just how good it is to march to a different beat.

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Odd Velvet

Review by Kim Higginson, Information Management Specialist, MHF

This is a tale about being different and the pressures of fitting in. In the end, Velvet's classmates discover that being different is what makes Velvet so much fun.

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Stick and Stone

Review by Jo Quigg, mum of two children aged 7 and 9

Stick and Stone are on their own, until a chance encounter with a boorish bully (Pine Cone), inspires Stick to stick up for stone. The new pals head off on an adventure and discover that friendship really rocks.

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The kindness snippet jar

Review by Kimberley Fatt, Primary School Teacher

The story suggests to the reader that whilst doing kind things for others is great, "Sometimes all it takes is doing something kind for someone right in front of you!"

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The proudest blue: A story of Hijab and family

Review by Kirstie Stevens, School Library Assistant

An uplifting, universal story of new experiences, the unbreakable bond between siblings, and of being proud of who you are. Sibling Faizah tells the story of her older sister, Asiya's, first-day wearing a hijab at school.

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What is empathy? A bullying storybook for kids

Review by Ky McWilliam

Two sides to every story--helping kids learn compassion and understanding by putting themselves in someone else's shoes.

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You, me and empathy: Teaching children about empathy, feelings, kindness, compassion, tolerance and recognising bullying behaviours

Review by Kim Higginson, Information Management Specialist, MHF

This charming story uses verse, beautiful illustrations and a little person called Quinn to model the meaning of empathy.

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Because everything is right but everything is wrong

Review by Nicola Corner, Communications Assistant, MHF

The book follows Caleb, a teenager in his last year of high school, and his experiences going through and coming to terms with mental illness.

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Kick Depression

Review by Meg Rogers, Saint Hilda's Collegiate School

This free e-book contains a number of scientifically proven ways to help you to get through the hard times, with a sprinkling of ‘honest’ language and graphics. .

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Only freaks turn things into bones

Review by Susy Carryer, secondary school English teacher and mother, who has worked with children and young people

Only Freaks Turn Things Into Bones uses the sort of macabre humour that appeals particularly to new entrant age children to present some important messages to anyone who feels like they don’t fit.

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Play your best card

Review by Briar Matthews, Bayfield High School

A team-based game that encourages teens to have conversations on a range of topics relevant to young people.

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Rising tide/He tai pari

Review by Anna Mowat, Family Advisor at All Right?

An engaging junior fiction self-help text for ages 8-12 that follows Ari through a series of challenging events and resolution. The book includes peer reviewed therapeutic lesson plans and family exercises.

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Soulfire

Review by Sam, a year 9 student

Soulfire is a great book that teaches good morals and the importance of doing the right thing.

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Stuff that sucks: Accepting what you can't change and committing to what you can

Review by Jono Selu, Community Engagement / Health Promoter. MHF

Stuff That Sucks encourages you to accept your emotions rather than struggling against them, with a strong emphasis on validation and compassion.

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The book of knowing: Know how you think, change how you feel

Review by Gray Smith, Logan Park High School

The inspiration for "Knowing" came from Gwendoline Smith's very successful blog Dr Know. Answering requests from thousands of young people around the globe.

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When life gives you lemons: A resource for young people dealing with depression & anxiety

Review by Kate Cherven, Communications and Marketing Specialist, MHF

Written by young people who have been there, this book provides an understanding of what depression and anxiety is like, and helps make sense of it all. .

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Young Queen

Review by Jono Selu, Community Engagement & Health Promotion Officer, MHF

Young Queen is the autobiography of Parris Goebe a dancer with a dream ... a young Polynesian girl who grew up in New Zealand and went on to conquer the hip hop world.

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Confessions of a former bully

Review by Elise McGregor, Carmel College

After Katie gets caught teasing a schoolmate, she realizes that bullying has hurt not only the people around her, but her, too.

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Dare! / Weird! / Tough!

Review by Evie Ryan, St Albans Primary School and Anna Mowat, works as part of the All Right? wellbeing campaign in Otautahi

These three books tell the story of an ongoing case of bullying from three third graders’ perspectives. Kids will easily relate to Luisa, Jayla, and Sam, as each girl has her own unique experience.

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Dear Bully: Seventy authors tell their stories

Review by Honor Jackson, Mana College

Today's top authors for teens and young people come together to share their stories about bullying-as bystanders, as victims, and as the bullies themselves-in this moving personal collection.

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Fighting invisible tigers: Stress management for teens

Review by Portia Devonshire

This book offers proven techniques that teens can use to deal with stressful situations in school, at home, and among friends.

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I am Jack

Review by Kim Higginson, Information Management Specialist, MHF

Susanne Gervay's thoughtful story sheds light on the contagious and destructive nature of school bullying, and the power of humor, love, and community to overcome it.

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It gets better: Coming out, overcoming bullying and creating a life worth living

Review by Karen, Health Teacher

It Gets Better is a great compilation of stories about coming out, from a wide variety of contributors, offering a range of diverse perspectives and lived experiences.

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Mind your head

Review by Rachel McLean, Darfield College

Juno Dawson leads the way with this frank, factual and funny book, with added information and support from clinical psychologist Dr Olivia Hewitt.

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My Anxiety handbook: Getting back on track

Reviews by Kiefer Hunt and Kristina Pinto

Co-written with a college student who has experienced anxiety herself, this anxiety survival guide teaches 12 to 18 year olds how they can overcome their biggest worries.

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Nobody! A story about overcoming bullying in school

Review by Kim Higginson, Information Management Specialist, MHF

With support from friends, classmates, and adults, Thomas starts to feel more confident in himself and his hobbies, while Kyle learns the importance of kindness to others.

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Real friends

Review by Kim Higginson, Information Management Specialist, MHF

Author Shannon Hale and New York illustrator LeUyen Pham join forces in this graphic memoir about how hard it is to find your real friends—and why it's worth the journey.

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Starving the anger gremlin: A cognitive behavioural therapy workbook on anger management for young people

Review by Kim Higginson, Information Management Specialist, MHF

This imaginative workbook shows young people how to starve their anger gremlin and control their anger effectively.

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Stick up for yourself: Every kid's guide to personal power and positive self-esteem

Review by Datoka Shute

Questions from real kids are paired with answers about how to handle specific situations calmly, confidently, and effectively.

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The survival guide to bullying: Written by a teen

Review by Neeve Edwards-Brown, Avonside Girls High School

Author, Aija Mayrock, offers guidance as well as different strategies that helped her get through even the toughest of days.

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The big little book of resilience

Review by Ivan Yeo, Information Office, MHF

The Big Little Book of Resilience is about developing flexibility, acceptance and self-compassion when those plans go awry.

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Bully on the bus

Review by Kim Higginson, Information Management Specialist, MHF

Leroy's teacher introduces him to the adventures in The Big Bad Book of Fairytales, hidden throughout are the clues that Leroy needs to overcome the bus bully's taunts once and for all.

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Turtles all the way down

Review by Sophia Graham, Communications and Marketing Manager, MHF

John Green shares Aza's story with shattering, unflinching clarity in this brilliant novel of love, resilience, and the power of lifelong friendship.

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Bully

Review by Kim Higginson, Information Management Specialist, MHF

Patricia Polacco has taken up the cause against bullies ever since Thank You, Mr. Falker, and her passion shines through in this powerful story of a girl who stands up for a friend.

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Fairytale fraud: Sibling wars

Review by Deb Marsden, Guidance Counsellor & Secondary School teacher

The traditional Hansel and Gretel tale taught us to not trust strangers and to not disobey our parents, but Kate Pye has twisted the tale to teach different morals and life lessons.

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How do I feel? A dictionary of emotions for children

Review by Anna Mowat who works as part of the All Right? wellbeing campaign in Otautahi

This emotions dictionary is all about helping children find the words for how they truly feel. Learning to recognise and label our emotions correctly is such an important skill for life.

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The boys in the Waka Ama

Review by Charmaine Denney, Early Childhood Teacher and mum to two boys.

This story is a great way to demonstrate and perhaps initiate a discussion on the values of teamwork, dedication, leadership and respecting Aotearoa's cultures.

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“Kōrero Mai, Kōrero Atu, Mauri Tū, Mauri Ora – Speak Up, Stand Together, Stop Bullying!”