HomeMagic Mistakes – a picture book

Magic Mistakes – a picture book

Daunted. Petrified. Whether it’s tasting a new food, diving into a pool or riding a bike, Frankie Lane won’t risk not being the best. Join Frankie and her fantastically daring friend Tallulah Flare on an adventure into the wonder of Magic Mistakes.

This book encourages us to embrace our imperfections, take risks and welcome failure as a part of growth. It will help parents, caregivers and teachers support children to be more resilient when faced with life’s ‘oopsy lohs.’

ISBN 9781925231953 (HB, 32pp);
216mm x 216mm
AUD $26 USD $18 NZD $28 GBP £12 EUR €14
ISBN 9781925231960 (eBook) AUD $13 USD $9 NZD $15 GBP £6 EUR €7


I hope all teachers in the first years of school will read about and appreciate Frankie’s difficulty with stepping outside her comfort zone, trying things that she may not be good at, and taking a risk. These are the ‘ordinary anxieties’ and ‘ordinary difficulties’ that all of us, children and adults alike, may face each day. Author Belinda Blecher captures Frankie’s uncomfortable, unspoken feelings through an expressive text that will appeal to readers and listeners. Frankie’s reticence to try new things and her fear of failure will be readily understood by young children.

In Magic Mistakes, it is a child, Tallulah, who offers Frankie another perspective on the unexpected. Rather than errors to be feared, she shows how mistakes can offer new opportunities. They can be fun. Tallulah’s encouragement persuades Frankie to think differently about herself. She is now ready to take a risk.

In preschool and the early years of school, teachers can be the ‘Tallulah, agent of change’ for children like Frankie. Children thrive when they have supportive relationships with emotionally sensitive teachers who are attuned to the difficulties, as well as the successes, they experience at school. By reading the story of Frankie and Tallulah, teachers can open up the space for children to talk about their own fears, or how they might help someone who is scared to try something new. These are key skills and personal attributes that every student should be supported to develop at school.

– Prof. Linda Harrison, Early Childhood, Macquarie University

Magic Mistakes sows seeds of resilience into little people, providing an optimal foundation for them to blossom into psychologically flexible young adults. This wonderful book teaches children (and their parents) that failure is not to be feared, as it is where great learning happens. It provides an essential message for young children, giving them the mindset to successfully navigate the challenges that life will inevitably throw their way!

– Dr Sue Morris, author of The Rubber Brain
School of Psychology, University of New South Wales, Sydney

This is a glorious book. It shows how our fear of mistakes can narrow what we try. But, with the magic of companionship our fears can be confronted, as someone is with you in your worries.

– Dr. Robyn Dolby, Psychologist, Secure Beginnings

I remember some of my children’s friends whose parents had to pick them up in the middle of the night when they came for a sleep-over because they couldn’t get themselves to sleep. Or the kids who were frustrated when they couldn’t do something right first-time or wouldn’t even try it because they didn’t have the confidence they could do it well. They were lovely kids who were too scared to try new things.

Belinda Blecher has written this book for those kids to encourage them to have courage. As three psychologists say at the back of the book, books like these can help kids learn resilience and grow into psychologically flexible young adults. Children can learn that failure is not to be feared because that is where great learning happens. As Professor Linda Harrison says, “These are the ‘ordinary difficulties’ that all of us, children and adults alike, may face each day.”

Here’s an excerpt from the book:

Frankie Lane won’t try new things …

“I won’t ride a bike. I won’t do a dive.
I can’t do that – I won’t survive.

That hill’s too steep, I could fall down!
This water’s deep, I think I’ll drown!”

Frankie Lane, she hates mistakes.
More than carrots in Mum’s cakes.

More than boys with dripping snot,
or old bananas with black spots.

Frankie is the best duck drawing artist in town and she’s very proud of those pictures. One day the teacher tells the children it was time to draw their favourite character in the petting zoo that comes to their school. But there are no ducks! What is Harriet to draw? She feels the knots inside her stomach, her throat is tight and her legs are numb. She’s scared of making mistakes … until she meets Tallulah. See how this fearless young girl takes risks and teaches Frankie to make magical mistakes.

A colourful picture book written in rhyme (abbccddee) with themes about risk taking, being brave, and stepping outside your comfort zone. Would make a great read aloud and discussion in the class. The students could brainstorm what they could do if they feel like that and what to do if they see a classmate who is scared at trying new things. Then they can have some fun making pictures from magical mistakes with lots of glitter, glue and paint. There’s also tips for parents at the back of the book on how to not show their anxiety when doing new things because kids pick up on our anxiety.

Belinda Blecher is a child and adolescent psychologist based in Sydney, Australia. Lisa Allen is an illustrator and designer based in New Zealand.

— Maria Gill, KidsBooksNZ

In a world driven by supposed perfection, Magic Mistakes is a perfect way to show children (and parents), that mistakes are essential for us all to experience the magical process of learning – whether we are drawing a duck, meeting a new friend or just being ourselves. Mistakes aren’t the enemy, being scared to make them is!

Making and accepting these mistakes builds resilience in children, but we as adults must also model the behaviour we are trying to teach – No frowns or kerfuffle from us at spills, squiggles or splashes. Children need assurance, confident encouragement and kindness at perceived ‘errors’. These are all learning opportunities which will enable them to reach for their true potential.

– whatbooknext.com

Belinda Blecher

Belinda Blecher is a child and adolescent psychologist based in Sydney, Australia. She has worked extensively in teaching hospitals, child guidance clinics and early years education settings in both London and Sydney. Belinda also runs her own private psychology practice. She has lectured students, teachers and psychologists on early intervention and promoting mental health in young children throughout Australia. Belinda lives with her husband and two teenage children.

Lisa Allen

Lisa Allen is an illustrator and designer based in New Zealand. She is married with four children and lives on a small acreage on the outskirts of Auckland. Lisa has illustrated a number of picture books and has a variety of distinctly different artwork styles across a range of media.


Magic Mistakes Trailer

Belinda interviewed on Reading with a Chance of Tacos

Belinda Blecher's professional website

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Lisa Allen's website

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