Nutmeg gets into trouble
The popular Nutmeg children’s book series tells the story of a little squirrel, and his younger sister and brother. In the first book, Nutmeg gets adopted, the siblings had to leave their birth mother when she realises she cannot keep them safe, and are adopted.
In this story Nutmeg likes school but has started having problems with bullying. He gets into trouble for fighting when he is trying to protect his friends. Nutmeg is angry, worries and confused. How can he make things better? Adopted children may have problems in school settings due to their behaviour, or to things that remind them of their past, such as making family trees or, in Nutmeg’s case, fighting like his dad. This book will help children from a wide age range to explore how events in school may affect them, and how best they can react and manage their emotions.
It is vital that people working with looked after and adopted children are aware of how they think and feel about their situation. Talking about characters in stories can help children to think and talk safely about their own sad, angry and frightened feelings.
Who is this book for?
This book is ideal for young children who have been adopted, and who are, or who may, be having problems at school or with their behaviour. It will help them to make sense of their experiences and emotions.
The book is intended to be read to or with children by their own social worker, their current carers or their adoptive parents.
What you will find in this book
The book offers a practical way to help children explore and understand the problems they may have in the school setting, whether this is because of their behaviour, bullying or “triggers” that remind them of their adoption or past home life. It can be used simply as a story, but also as a workbook and a tool for therapy, suitable for use with children of different ages.
Practice guidelines (which can be removed from the book) offer suggestions and triggers for further discussion which can be developed to suit the needs of each child.
Judith Foxon is an adoption worker and has many years’ experience in recruiting and preparing families for children of all ages and of direct work with children. As an adoptive parent and foster carer herself, she is committed to developing better ways of helping families to communicate with and support their children.
Sarah Rawlings' illustrations were inspired by originals first drawn by Jessica, a young friend of the author’s. Jessica, who is adopted, helped bring the project to life with her charming and colourful illustrations. She shared her original illustrations and the ideas behind them with Sarah.
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As far as I am aware, this is the only book for adopted children that focuses on school. Every page includes familiar issues – making Mother’s Day cards, deciding what to tell other children, bullying and wanting to fit in. These are all such vital issues that the book must be considered essential for social workers and parents. The book has several uses. First, it can spark family discussions about school issues. Second, the calm and confident approach modelled by Nutmeg’s family will help adopters deal with their children’s difficulties. Third, it would be a useful tool for preparing adopters and teachers because it communicates Nutmeg’s feelings much better than a grown up book would. Nutmeg the squirrel must be a familiar figure to most adopted children of primary age and this latest instalment of his adventures will doubtless be well received.
Clea Barry, adoption social worker, Community care magazine
The book addresses some of the new challenges that school may pose for adopted children. The issues raised in the book will be familiar to all too many adoptive families. The illustrations are bright and simple. I would suggest that any school child would benefit from the content. I would also recommend it to parents and teachers.
Patricia Lowe, Adoption UK Trustee and social worker, Adoption magazine, Adoption UK
This is a delightful book which demonstrates the importance of friendship and being kind to others. The story shows that through talking with parents, teachers and friends children can understand their feelings and come to terms with their own situation
Jennifer Sellars, adoptive parent, www.adoption-net.co.uk