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Having listened to a podcast about mistakes last week (Fearne Cotton’s Happy Place, if you’d like to listen), we thought it would be a good topic to explore as part of our The Story Project book recommendations.

After all, everyone makes mistakes but we very rarely embrace their power. Young children travel through their days unimpeded by the worry of mistakes; falling down and getting back up without thought. However, as children grow they develop a sense of right and wrong; an awareness of when things haven’t gone as planned. And with this new awareness comes upset and embarrassment when they make a blunder. This shame can lead to a fear of mistakes, which can stop children from trying new things altogether.  The result is a significant impact on self-esteem, confidence and overall wellbeing – something which affects both children and adults.

So, instead of feeling shame about our mistakes, what if we could see them as learning opportunities or as funny stories to tell our friends? If we view mistakes as a turning point, accept them when we see them in others, and forgive them when we’re on the receiving end…then we’re sure to lead much happier, contented lives.

We are certain we can help children to embrace the power of mistakes too. To help them see the ‘purple pen’ of life as a positive tool for reflection, improvement and learning rather than something to be scared of.

Let’s explore some books that we think will inspire children to embrace their mistakes:

The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires

Age Range: EYFS and KS1

A girl and her dog want to make something magnificent! But the problem is, it keeps going wrong. Luckily, her trusty dog shows her the power of perseverance. We love how this story shows the girl going for a walk to calm down.

Ish by Peter H. Reynolds

Age Range: EYFS and KS1

We are sure you can think of a few children in your class who struggle when their drawings go wrong. Crumpled paper on the floor or scribbled-out sketches; it can be tricky when you have a vision that doesn’t quite translate to the page. If this will strike a nerve with your class, ‘Ish’ is the perfect choice for your book shelf!

A Super Sticky Mistake by Alison Donald and Rea Zhai

Age Range: KS1

A true story about how a mistake can lead to something amazing! In this book, we find out about Harry Coover who was trying to develop a new type of plastic and accidentally invented super glue.

Cat Kid Comic Club by Dav Pilkey

Age Range: KS1 and KS2

Endlessly entertaining; this book will be an immediate hit in your classroom. The story follows a group of comic-making animals, who make heaps of mistakes along the way. The book even includes stories-within-the-story to really keep your readers engaged.

After the Fall by Dan Santat

Age Range: KS1 and KS2

We love a good twist on a classic tale, and this one does not disappoint. Discover what happens after Humpty Dumpty’s famous fall and how his bravery and resilience means he comes back stronger than before.




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