As a parent, I think one of the hardest things to deal with is hearing your child say, ‘Oh, I’m terrible at… [insert subject/sport here]!’ Thinking that they can’t do something will generally stop children from making an effort to improve, no matter how much encouragement you give them. Alfie’s school is really focussed on growth mindset, so, at home, we try to put emphasis on trying and practising, but that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have an occasional crisis of confidence.
So, I was really keen to get my hands on You Are Awesome by Matthew Syed (Wren & Rook, RRP £9.99), a book that promises to encourage confidence and build resilience in children. A former table tennis champion (a fact that massively appealed to Alfie), Syed now writes and lectures on learning from failure and the power of practice and he applies that knowledge to this book, using genuine examples of successful adults (think JK Rowling and her rejected manuscripts) to prove that persistence and determination can often lead to triumph.
This is such a great book, well written, engaging and inspiring – for children age nine up, I’d say – and will hopefully help readers realise that hard work and self-belief are the key components to achieving awesomeness at pretty much anything. I’ll be buying a few copies for the pressie drawer.