Nova's missing masterpiece by Brooke Graham and Robin Tatlow-Lord

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Nova has created a special portrait of her dad to give to him at his birthday celebration this evening. But now she can't find it anywhere! She searches and searches in every place she can think of but the missing masterpiece is nowhere to be found. The more frustrated that Nova gets, the more frantic the search but despite this all the while her little dog Harley seems unperturbed. And gradually Nova starts to notice some of his behaviours - breathing in long and slow, having a drink - and gradually she calms down enough to keep searching as she tries the same things. But will she find the picture in time for the party?

We all know the anxiety and frustration of not being able to find something that we really need; the searching in the most unlikely places in case it may miraculously appear and as we get older we are more able to self-calm and think more clearly. But for children of Nova's age that is a skill yet to be learnt so this is a great story to help start teaching it. Every child will have their own story to tell so a group discussion of strategies like breathing, like taking a few minutes, like doing something else can be the beginning of helping children learn to take a step back, relax and think.

But even without extracting this theme from the story, this is just a good read that will resonate with many.

Themes: Worry, Anger, Dogs, Lost property.

Barbara Braxton