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: 9781925335347 (HC), 9781775593256 (ePub), 9781775593256 (Kindle edition), 9781775593256 (iPad ePub)
Format: Hardcover 32pp
Ideal for: 4 – 7 year-olds and lovers of picture books
For international translated editions, Simplified Chinese and Polish, explore here!
2018 NSW Premier’s Reading Challenge K-9 Booklist Level K-2 See full list, here.
Radio Interviews: Click on the images below to listen to me waxing lyrical about The Fix-It Man on airways across Australia.
Published Reviews and Testimonials:
Poignant and honest…This is a skilfully executed picture book: the tone is just right for children and those who have experienced loss should find recognition and comfort in its pages. Author Dimity Powell and illustrator Nicky Johnston have together created convincing characters with authentic emotions and realistic scenarios. Little Parachutes
The Fix-It Man is a thoughtful, caring story of a young child dealing with grief and loss. Guest post – Six Aussie Picture Books to Hug Tightly Children’s Books Daily
Loss is inevitable but with tools like this story I believe children are empowered to navigate new and difficult life experiences or to relate to others during challenging times. Raquel Mayman, Reading Time (CBCA)
Together the text and images work in tandem to create a colourful, uplifting and profoundly affecting narrative. The ability of this work to travel into sadness and move through to the other side with joy is remarkable. The story, with its subtle directives for dealing with grief and loss in young children, cuts to the heart of what it means to live and to love. Reading this book actually warmed my heart.This is a simply beautiful picture book for 4-8 year olds. Elizabeth Vercoe, Buzz Words Magazine
This is an important book. It’s hard to discuss grief and loss with a young child. The Fix-It man provides a way to do that. Sandy Fussell The Daily Telegraph
Emotional, moving and tear-jerking, The Fix-It Man sensitively helps children deal with the death of a loved one. Following the family in the final days before Mama’s death, through the grieving process and finally to healing, the book brings beautiful words and illustrations to those moments when we don’t know what to say. Matt W A Word About Books
The Fix-It Man cleverly focuses on the relationship between the daughter and her father…beautiful (the text and the pictures) and uplifting with love bursting through each page, even during a time of desperate sadness. Juliet Clare Bell Picture Book Den
I read The Fix-It Man over six times! The words that you choose correspond great with the pictures. I just love everything about them. … meaningful, powerful and a hold lot of great fun and love inside. Matilda B aged 12 years
The Fix-It Man is a heart-felt and joyful story…handling the sensitivity of grief and a hurting heart with empathy, tenderness and love. Maria Parenti-Baldey Big Sisters Blogs
We all think it’s lovely – the way in which death and grief is dealt with is gentle and not overpowering. Scholastic Australia
I defy anyone to read this book and not tear up. This is such a lovely book, that says so much, even with pages where there are no words. Dimity Powell weaves this story with grace and gentleness, supported by gorgeous, whimsical illustrations from Nicky Johnston. George Ivanoff, Top Reads of 2017 Boomerang Books Blog
The Fix-It Man is a book of understanding and acceptance of emotions in the grieving process. This book portrays that together, people can reach out and journey through the grief with one another…is not just for kids. It’s for grown-ups too…Julieann Wallace, Books, Teacups & Cupcakes
Powell tells this gentle story in a way kids will understand. Even quite young children know that not everything can be fixed with glue or sticky tape, and they will gradually gain an understanding that some things can’t be fixed at all…The whole message of the book is pragmatic but positive, poignant and powerful. Susan Stephenson, The Book Chook
A wonderful book for exploring themes of bereavement. This is a difficult topic for a children’s book – which is why it is so important. Sally Murphy, Aussie Reviews
This book is a great way to introduce children to loss and one that I love. This thoughtful picture book will wrap young readers in its hopeful embrace and offer a gentle way for adults and kids to have conversations around love and loss. Madison Fuller, Growing up Madison
I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Fix-It Man and I was incredibly moved by the message that it conveyed and the way in which it conveyed it. It thought it was truly astounding. Bailey Eales Year 12 Student A. B. Paterson College
Dads are really handy and the loving relationship in this book is well described. Appealing, loving, illustrations complete the picture.Margaret Hamilton AM Pinerolo Children’s Book Cottage
A poignant story of bereavement, this is an excellent starting point for exploring emotions of grief and loss with young children. The Bookseller
A story of hope, that the pain experienced through a bereavement is normal, and that it can get better with time. Dr Sarah Mitchell GP Picture Book Den
Achingly beautiful, The Fix-It Man is a gentle touch that can help children and adults deal with the loss of a loved one … With examples like the patching of a teddy bear starting the mending of two hearts, this book will lead to important discussions about how people move on in a time of loss. NC Teacher Stuff
Written with great compassion by Dimity Powell and beautifully illustrated by Nicky Johnston ‘The Fix-It Man’ is a perfect read for families going through a difficult time of grieving.Hip Little One
Children will enjoy the journey of a courageous and vivacious little girl who sometimes breaks things precisely because she is so vibrant, and who is lucky to have a kindhearted Dad who is her hero. Dr June Perkins Pearlz Dreaming
This story will pull at the heart strings and prompt conversations otherwise hidden beneath broken hearts Georgie Donaghey, Creative Kids’ Tales
Dimity’s first picture book…is a memorable creation. Heartwarming, moving and thoroughly accessible to the very young–this is a book that will soothe the heart of many a reader. Nicky Johnston’s soft and whimsical illustrations convey warmth and sunshine where it’s called for and monochromatic desolation at just the right time. When it comes to loss and the possibility of understanding and healing, The Fix-It Man has nailed it. Tania McCartney, Kids’ Book Review
A heart wrenching story packed into picture book format, this book will resonate with children who have lost loved ones. A good read aloud about dealing with trials and clinging to your family when the going gets rough. Dena Batch of Books
In The Fix-It Man, author Dimity Powell and illustrator Nicky Johnston have created a truly beautiful book to help kids with their emotional needs around loss. Heartbreaking…yet uplifting. Reena Bilen, The Mummy Project
It is a challenge to cover the deeper topics in life for young children in a way that is relatable, honest and caring, but Dimity Powell’s The Fix -it-Man sets out to do just that. Nicky Johnston’s gentle joyful and equally caring illustrations take the reader through the happy although sometimes challenging times in a family that is about to be broken by something that just can’t be fixed. Dr June Perkins, Gumbootspearlz
Poignant, perfectly pitched and picture perfect…..this book offers an invaluable sense of hope and comfort. Romi Sharp, Boomerang Books Blog
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, ReadPlus
The Fix-It Man is a lovely picture book that offers a gentle way for adults to discuss loss, love, and grief with their child. Michelle, In The Good Books Blog
There’s such symmetry between Dimity’s text and Nicky’s evocative illustrations which take the story to a whole new level.They truly capture the emotion and poignancy of the subject matter and the beautiful relationship between father and daughter.I can see The Fix It Man providing a wonderful conversation book in homes and schools, not just for gently introducing children to the concept of loss, but for building empathy for others.Dee White, Deescribe Writing.
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
A lovely book, beautifully illustrated and good story for bonding daughters and dads. School Days Magazine
A beautiful way to talk about loss and grief. Disney Princess magazine issue #88
The readership for this book is endless…as soon as I read the manuscript, I connected with the emotion and beautiful story. Nicky Johnston, Illustrator Interview The Peninsula Star
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
A poignant picture book that explores how a child can cope with loss. Winter Issue 2017 Geelong Coast Kids
Dad can fix and fix a lot. He knows all the different ways and tricks that help everything somehow stick together! But sticky daddy needs fixing too. And the best remedy is love … A touching book, subtle and tender, which in itself is a slice of a broken heart. It collects all the broken emotions to give them the right direction. Gently soothes the broken hearts that seek comfort and oxygenation in this difficult time. Gentle illustrations convey everything that is important in a subtle but clearly. (Polish Edition) Mali Pasjonaci Blogger Reviewer Tata potrafi wiele naprawić i zreperować. Zna różne sposoby i tricki, dzięki którym wszystko jakoś się trzyma! Ale rozklejony tatko też wymaga naprawienia. A najlepiej naprawia miłość … Książka wzruszająca do granic możliwości, a przy tym subtelna i czuła, która już sama w sobie jest plasterkiem na pęknięte serce. Zbiera w całość porozbijane emocje, by nadać im odpowiedni kierunek. Delikatnie koi popękane serca, które w tym trudnym czasie szukają pocieszenia i utlenia. Łagodne ilustracje delikatnie, acz wyraźnie oddają wszystko co ważne.