For those of you that have not come across his work before, Matt Haig is a bestselling author from Brighton. He writes novels for children but is also well known for books such as Notes On a Nervous Planet and Reasons To Stay Alive. These are aimed at an older audience and deal with mental health issues that challenge us all in the modern world and discusses how to cope them with. Matt writes with love, wit and insight from his own struggles. During a recent bout of depression, he decided to write a book to help him and his children. Thus, The Truth Pixie was born.
On first glance, The Truth Pixie appears to be a warm, Christmassy tale for children. The book spine looks like a candy cane and the illustration on the cover is charming. The story tells of a pixie that can only tell the truth. Because of this she loses friends and shuts herself away from the world. This rhyming story offers humour, adventure and a troll. So far so good…. The Truth Pixie then meets a sad little girl who wants the magical pixie to tell her everything will be ok. Instead, the Truth Pixie tells her the truth.
‘There will be people you love who can’t stay forever, there will be things you can’t fix although you are clever’.
What initially seems like a gut wrenching message for a young audience, is then followed by a very important life lesson, full of heart. ‘You’ll never know happy, unless you know sad.’ In essence, sometimes life can be hard but this will always pass and be followed by amazing times. This message is delivered in the most beautiful, touching way that made me cry reading the last third of this book to my son. It deals gently with loss and sadness and lets the reader see past those times and look forward to the good that will certainly follow, building resilience, hope and positivity.
We sometimes, instinctively, shelter our children from rough experiences, wanting to protect them. This certainly has its place in a world that is seemingly full of terrible things. However, this story softly and kindly encourages the reader to accept the bad times in order to appreciate the good. A really important message to help you recover from difficulties.
Also, don’t be fooled into thinking this book is only for children! This simple, beautiful message is for all ages, and when delivered in such a way, will ring true when the mind is really suffering at any age.
In my job as a mindfulness therapist, I am always looking for tools to help children understand and cope with their emotions. This book is brilliant for that and can be returned to time and again whenever life presents its challenges. I would recommend this book to children from 6 to 60 plus, to have at home or in the classroom. As well as being a wonderfully written story, it also gives you the opportunity to have some important, nurturing discussions with your children. What can be more special than that?
Alison is a mindfulness therapist at https://www.growingwithcalm.co.uk/ and an Inkpots mum.