What to Say When You Don’t Know What to Say

Davina Bell, Hilary Jean Tapper

What to Say When You Don't Know What to Say
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What to Say When You Don’t Know What to Say

Davina Bell, Hilary Jean Tapper

I’m not brave enough today. Maybe next time. 
You’re hurting my feelings right now.    

Want to join in?       

A warm and whimsical guide to negotiating life’s little moments and big emotions with empathy, kindness and words from the heart.       

From award-winning and much-loved author Davina Bell and exciting new illustrator, Hilary Jean Tapper.


Often – and this isespecially true of picture books – we look to books for some guidance on how to speak with kids about difficult subjects: how to be accountable, how to apologise, how to process hurt feelings and how to show kindness to our friends. What to Say When You Don’t Know What to Say is a book designed for this exact purpose. Each page presents a situation that might be alarming, scary or confusing to a child: a new home, a hospital visit, a dark night, a death, a room full of strangers. Alongside each situation is an accompanying phrase that may help, for example, ‘I don’t know anybody, what’s your name?’

It’s a simple concept and the execution is lovely. The pictures are gentle and the words are a balm that will genuinely help children and parents navigate tricky situations and feelings. As a writer who also has extensive experience in children’s publishing, Davina Bell has an incredible knack for creating books that are utterly unique but always feel necessary and perfectly timed. For ages 3+.

Kim Gruschow is the co-manager at Readings St Kilda.

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