The Fix-It Man

A young girl believes her father is the king of fixing things. He even knows how to make her ailing mother feel better. However, after her mother passes away, she discovers that superglue and sticky tape can’t fix broken hearts. Together she and her father find a way to glue back the pieces of their lives.

This picture book is a poignant look at the way a young girl copes with the loss of her mother. Replacing and repairing damaged emotions is not always as straightforward as gluing a broken kite back together or sewing up a torn toy. By sticking together with her dad, she is able to strengthen her resilience and ability to cope with one of life’s harsher lessons – loss.

It also addresses the very real situation grieving parents may find themselves in at times of loss (of a partner or loved one); no longer able to adequately console or comfort their dependants, so that the child in turn attempts to ‘fix’ an adult’s grief, ultimately augmenting their own feelings of helplessness when this is not always possible.

The idea spawned from an incident created by my then infant child. A bowl was broken, shattered to splinters, and like many young children who view their parents as omnipresent cure-alls, she immediately presumed Daddy would fix it. It got me thinking, what if a Daddy couldn’t fix something. What if one day, he needed fixing, too? How would a child cope in that situation?

Nicky’s beautiful watercolour illustrations breathe heart and soul into this story. They are exactly the way I envisaged this family and fill me with raw emotion every time I look them.

Published: March 2017
Illustrator: Nicky Johnston
Publisher: EK Books $24.99
ISBN: 978 -1925335347
Format: Hardcover 32pp
Ideal for: 4 – 7 year olds and lovers of picture books

Teachers’ Notes: Teaching Points & Activities
Book Trailer: The Fix-It Man book trailer
Events: For information on events involving The Fix-It Man, head over to Dim’s Write Stuff Blog or EK Books’ Events page

Published Reviews:

We all think it’s lovely – the way in which death and grief is dealt with is gentle and not overpowering. Scholastic Australia

A poignant story of bereavement, this is an excellent starting point for exploring emotions of grief and loss with young children The Bookseller

The Fix-It Man is a story that reflects the challenges of losing a loved one, acknowledging that there is a pain which cannot be fixed, but also acknowledging that with love and support, a child can move forward after a major loss. Many people avoid the topic of death, but in this book it is addressed respectfully and sensitively, and I believe that this will be a wonderful resource for those helping children deal with grief and loss…it’s beautiful! Sally-Anne McCormack Clinical Psychologist, Media Commentator

Beautifully written and illustrated, The Fix-It Man is a valuable tool for educators, parents, schools and all parents. It shows metaphorically and symbolically that through persevering and getting on with ordinary life tasks, even through the harsh reality of loss, a deeper level of love and understanding can emerge. This is a wonderful book also to benefit men as role models for grieving children, as it shows that both task AND relationship are powerful healers in the grieving process.

Over the past twenty years Paradise Kids has helped children ‘heal the heartache’ through psycho-education about the grief process through art, story-telling, movement, music and literature. We are excited to add this deeply touching story to our resources to help grieving children heal. Deirdre Hanna, Founder and Board Director – Hopewell Hospice Services Inc. and Paradise Kids

This is a poignant story of loss and one that will resonate with many children who have lost a parent or other loved one. With its gentle text and soft palette, even though it is sad it is not gloomy because the love between this family oozes from the page and from that, the hope is tangible…This book allows conversations to start and explores the way it is an emotion that we each express and deal with in our own way. Barbara Braxton, The Bottom Shelf

Demonstrates an understanding of the power of storytelling as a tool in allowing children to understand death and loss, or process and express their grief. Richard Spence Thomas, Clinical Psychologist

It’s a beautiful story written by Dimity and it talks about a little girl and her relationship with her dad, who is the king of fixing things, and it looks at how there is hope and joy despite grief and loss.What’s so lovely is that the story tackles a difficult topic in a really sensitive and simplistic way, it’s very hard to find books that do this well. Nicky Johnston, Illustrator Interview Leader Community News Victoria

Featured book in Busy Mums Magazine online as a book that ‘engages and inspires’. March 2017 issue Mums Delivery

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