Some of you may know that this time last year, I set about championing outstanding picture books that help when times are hard; the books that are much more than just words and pictures on a page... the ones that stay with you long after the last page has turned and lead to further thoughts, experiences, discussions. The ones that help when the words are hard to find. 


In a year, I've managed to review 231 Books That Help across 27 categories including family separation and divorce, loss, anxiety and bedtimes. You can find all the reviews here! I haven't done it alone - there have been guest reviewers, including Kara Kiernan from The Book Train, Catherine Friess from Story Snug, Sophia Payne, Catherine Ward, Laura Baker, Emily Davison, Naomi Jones, Sarah Tagholm and Ian Eagleton. 


Each month, there's been support for a different independent bookshops, including Snug Bookshop, Write Blend, Reading Rocks, The Ivybridge Bookshop, East Gate Bookshop, The Bookery , Wonderland Bookshop, Bookstop St Helens, Books On The Hill, Harbour Bookshop, Kibworth Bookshop, Bookworm Dubai and Quinns Bookshop with more bookshops to champion on the horizon! 


For those wanting to write Books That Help, there was a mentorship with myself and Ellie Farmer and Perry Emerson from Little Tiger Press. The 2022 winner was Lucy Falkner with her text Dung Beetle Doug. You can expect an update on 2023's mentorship soon. In the meantime, you can read more about last year's mentorship here. This is what Lucy had to say about her experience: 

What an opportunity the Books That Help mentorship has been! I have learnt a huge amount about the craft of picture book writing over the last six months and my stories have benefited enormously from Clare's tailored teaching and detailed critiques. To be guided by someone with such brilliant knowledge of the picture book market has been very helpful and I am now in a position to send my first submission package, something that felt a long way off at the beginning of this mentorship!

I am also hugely grateful to have had such helpful feedback on my writing from Perry Emerson at Little Tiger, who has been very generous with his time. I am  sad that the mentorship has come to an end but am delighted with the progress I have made under Clare's expert guidance and feel prepared for my next steps.

Thank you to Clare and  Little Tiger for a wonderful experience!


LUCY FALKNER - 'Books That Help mentee 2022'


To help spread the word about Books That Help in schools, I've been working with The Grove Primary School, Totnes, to bring well-being libraries into the school community. When the project is finished, we're hoping to make all our resources downloadable for schools to recreate the project. They'll be posted here when the time comes!

VIKKI DREW, teacher at The Grove Primary School

Phew! As you can see, it's been quite a year! And I've been so lucky to have the support of lots of lovely booklovers. In fact, some of them gave quotes about why they feel books are so important in today's world. There's a collection of them recorded in a first anniversary film, and others have been compiled into a PDF that can be printed and downloaded for posters and displays. I'll leave a few of them below too :-)

There's lots more planned for Books That Help's second year, but for now, what are your favourite Books That Help and why? Please feel free to share them in the comments below. 


Clare Helen Welsh is a children's writer from Devon. She writes fiction and non-fiction picture book texts - sometimes funny, sometimes lyrical and everything in between! Her latest picture book is called 'Never, Ever, Ever Ask A Pirate To A Party,' illustrated by Anne-Kathrin Behl and published by Nosy Crow. You can find out more about her at her website or on Twitter @ClareHelenWelsh . Clare is represented by Alice Williams at Alice Williams Literary.

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