When the Wind Blew by Jacqui Maguire
Órla is just an every day kinda girl - she loves peanut butter on toast for breakfast, playing hide and seek with her best friend Kahu, and visiting the library.
One ordinary Wednesday night though, as Órla was dreaming, a storm arrived that caused the world to turn upside down and inside out. Now Órla had porridge for breakfast, her parents stayed home from work and the library was closed. It is, of course, a Rona wind.
Jacqui Maguire is a registered clinical psychologist. Her main passion is science communication; providing practical psychological theory and strategies to optimise wellbeing. Many of us have seen her in the media, especially during the Covid-19 lockdown, providing advice and practical ideas.
When the Wind Blew is her first book, which helps primary-aged children and their families recognise and regulate unpleasant emotions in the face of unexpected change.
Young people experience all kinds of transitions in life - marriage separations, relocating, starting school, the arrival of new siblings, not to mention pandemics. Maguire weaves children's storytelling with evidence-based psychology.
Órla experiences 'red sparks', 'scared butterflies' flapping in her tummy and a 'sad blue cloud' that settles over her - all valid and real emotions that we experience. Maguire gives children the words to name these emotions.
But more than that, she shows children and families that change is something we will always experience. She offers wellbeing skills that support families to cope more effectively. Even better, they are all easy and affordable ideas that children can use throughout their lives (and even parents might learn something new!).
Órla uses her superpowers to shrink the red sparks, help the butterflies fly away and transform the sad cloud into a peaceful rainbow. Through different strategies Órla begins to see that change is not all doom and gloom.
Illustrator Charlotte Schryvers crafts simple, understated drawings to go along with the story. She perfectly captures the emotions the characters are feeling as they navigate the rollercoaster of change. A wordless double spread is a nice touch - it's not something that is often attempted in picture books but it has huge benefits.
Schryvers's, bang smack in the middle of the narrative, is perfectly placed for some deeper thinking and questioning between reader and listener.
Macguire also includes notes for grown ups at the end of the book, breaking down complex ideas into relatable concepts. She also details exactly how to practice Órla's superpowers in more detail.
As Maguire says, nothing will ever get rid of the bumps, but When the Wind Blew will help families navigate the bumps faster and more successfully.
Reviewed by: Rebekah Lyell Jacqui Maguire, RRP $19.99