I follow Matt Haig on Twitter and on there he is a huge advocate of mental health issues. He is very open about his own and has written two brilliant adult bestsellers on mental health: Reasons to Stay Alive and Notes on a Nervous Planet. He also writes fiction for both adults and children and having enjoyed some of his books (including How to Stop Time), The Truth Pixie caught my eye. In it, he uses his fantastic storytelling skills – by way of the character of the Truth Pixie – to explain complex life lessons to children.
I have heard a lot about this book from fellow parents for the simple reason that it explicitly tells children that life isn’t actually great and happy all the time, sometimes you’ll feel sad and that’s OK too. This is not a message you often read in books aimed at children, but such an important concept for them to learn. Better it’s done in a safe, structured way than for something bad to happen to them and they have a huge life-shock. I know you can’t protect your children from everything and bad or sad things will inevitably happen to them, but if they are a little more prepared, then that can only help. In my opinion, anyway.
Great illustrations and text design from Chris Mould feature throughout.
There are such poignant lines in this book that really hit home,
“There will be people you love, / Who can’t stay for ever, / And there will be things you can’t fix, / Although you are clever.”
Not only that, The Truth Pixie encourages children to live their own truth, realise that sometimes telling the truth feels hard, but it’s worth it eventually. It lets them know that they don’t have conform or lie about who they really are to fit in, ‘You see, your life is like a voice, / How you use it, is really your choice.’ I just love, love, love this message and it’s something I really want to teach my boys.
This is my second children’s book review, in my first, I set out a checklist that I use personally. If a book aimed at children adheres to it, then it’s a winner for me. The Truth Pixie not only ticks all the boxes, but has the added layer of teaching a very important life lesson. My eldest son is only three, so I might wait a few more years until he is old enough to fully grasp this concept, but I’m so glad this book exists as a way to teach him. To be honest, I know a fair few adults who could benefit from a read of this too.
/ Published by Canongate 2018
/ 119 pages
/ Rating: 5/5