I’m a big fan of Ballagh’s other books Big Feelings and The Rainbow in My Heart, so I was excited to see a new initiative, Let’s Go, Flo.
And what a new initiative! I’m pretty in love with this book, to be honest. At first glance it looks like tamaiti, Flo is going to take us through her day, but there’s a lot more going on.
Firstly, we see Flo showing us how she remembers important things that set her day up for success - packing her bag and using a list. Next, her coping strategy when she realises her best friend isn’t at school that day, the book asks tamariki to join her in some five finger puku breathing, and there’s more too.
We then get a sense that as adults, we’re supposed to recognise the stressors throughout a child’s day. We may not always know what’s occurring for them, but just like our days are stressful, theirs are too. I love this empathy building functionality.
I love (I’m using that word a lot here!) the interactivity of the book. Almost every page encourages tamariki to practice and take part in the strategies which can help them too. I also love the reminders that we can make mistakes and take our time with new learning and it’s kei te pai.
At the back of the book, I was expecting information to support the book’s purpose - to recognise and encourage our tamariki executive functioning, and yep there it is, and more. Executive functioning sounds like something we should be doing around a boardroom, but it’s a term used to describe “the skills and processes involved ... to set goals, plan, adapt, get things done, manage our emotions and our impulses.” But they need to be supported and practised, which is what this book is all about.
It’s a goodie and I’d recommend it for all 4 to 8 year olds to have available at home or school. I was also lucky enough to interview Rebekah recently about this book, the podcast recording can be found here.Review by Anna Mowat who has a background in psychology and works across many national projects which support children's wellbeing. She works under her business name Real Collective.