Book Reviews: Growing Pains & Where The Heart Is

Gifted¦ I have recently been sent two lovely books to read with Autumn that I’d like to share with you all. These are Where The Heart Is by Irma Gold and Susannah Crispe and Growing Pains by Alison McLennan and Melissa Johns. Everyone knows how important is is for children to have a good understanding of English, maths and science by the time they leave school. However, I think one of the most important things you can teach your child is to be kind. Both these books are aimed at 4-8 year olds and beautifully support that notion.

Growing Pains and Where the Heart Is children's books

Where The Heart Is

We cuddled up cosily on a blanket one rainy afternoon to read this book and thoroughly enjoyed it. As it is nature-related, we read it as our random act of wildness for the day (we’re taking part in 30 Days Wild this June).

This wonderful tale is based on a true story. Kind Joao meets a penguin who was washed ashore and nurses him back to health. It is a great example of how small actions can have a big impact.

The friendship that follows is beautiful – as are the illustrations throughout this book! While Joao names his penguin friend Dindim, Autumn told me that if she had one she would name it Splashy. A good name, I thought!

Where The Heart Is book - Joao and Dindim

Growing Pains

This book has really lovely unusual textured illustrations throughout. Unlike most children’s books, Growing Pains lingers in your mind for some time after reading it. It really is very thought-provoking.

Poor Finn is worried about the tree in his garden, constantly thinking about what its needs might be. He takes care of it, wrapping a scarf around it when he is concerned it might be cold. He sits by it when he wonders if it’s lonely. This story is a great way of introducing the idea of empathy to your child, as when they are young it can be easy for them to disregard the needs of others.

Growing Pains book

As well as curiosity and kindness, this compelling story also touches on bravery. When Finn gets scared of the dark, he notices the tree doesn’t look scared and thinks maybe he could be like the tree. As such, this book may also help to give children a different perspective and help them to get over their fear of the dark.


While it’s fun to read silly stories sometimes, I love books like these that have greater meaning to them. They help to elicit thoughtful questions and conversations. They captured my 4 year old’s attention and we both really enjoyed them!

These books retail at £10.99 each and are now available at

Disclosure: We were gifted these two books for the purpose of this review. As always, all thoughts and opinions are honest and my own.

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