Who’s Been In Our Tree is a book written by Diana Batchelor and is designed as a support mechanism for children who are victims of burglary.
Diana Batchelor is an experienced practitioner and researcher in the field of criminal justice.
With the use of animals as the characters, Batchelor tells the story of the aftermath after their tree is burgled.
Fox, Badger, Hedgehog and Squirrel wake up to find that everything in their tree is upside down.
Furniture is empty where the TV and games used to be and they discover that a bag of their favourite things has been taken.
Batchelor has used the animals to depict different reactions that a child may experience and relate to.
A child will then be able to identify which animal they feel that their emotions relate with the most.
Batchelor has, in conjunction with Dr Fiona Snyder – a Clinical Psychologist, written about the strange things that start to happen after the burglary.
Again, each animal experiences something different – something strange.
Like a bad dream.
Or feeling frightened to be alone.
The story proceeds to tell of different coping mechanisms for each animal to try.
Again, a child reading this could identify the animal that their fears relate to the most and see how that animal coped with their experience.
At the end, there’s the opportunity for the child to reflect on their experience in the ‘What About Me’ section. It is here they can create their own plan on what steps they’re going to take to make themselves feel better.
There’s also a useful section for adults to consider in ‘Things To Talk About’. This encourages grown ups to listen to the child and ask them about their reactions and feelings.
I caught up with Diana Batchelor who told me more about the book …
Can you tell us what the story of Who’s Been In Our Tree is about?
Who’s Been in Our Tree? is a book for 4-8 yr olds to help them deal with the impact of burglary. The story is about four animals whose tree has been burgled. It teaches children about a range of shock reactions, reassures them that feelings of anxiety and stress are normal following a traumatic event, and equips them to make plans to cope. The main emphasis is on letting out feelings – finding ways to share and express them. It was developed with the help of a child clinical psychologist. Feedback I have had so far suggests it could also be helpful following any type of stressful life event, and that older children appreciate it as well – perhaps up to 11yrs or so.
What motivated you to write this story?
It all started when I was supporting children who’d been victims of crime in London. One boy had been having nightmares ever since the family home was burgled. I met with him and his dad over a few weeks and we drew pictures together. One week he drew his front door that had been damaged, and then together we drew their shiny new one which helped to make him feel safe. It was clear that he could express his feelings through drawing, which he was finding hard to do with words.
His dad asked me whether there was a story book they could read with him, to help him understand what had happened and feel safe again. I was determined to find one! I searched high and low but had no luck. Fortunately, drawing helped the family communicate and they found a way out of the nightmares. But now some years later I’ve written this book with him and his dad in mind. It uses bright, simple drawings as a way to help children like him understand their own feelings and come up with their own ways of coping. He doesn’t need it anymore, but I hope it will help others like him!
You can find out more about the book on the Who’s Been In Our Tree website.
The book is also sponsored by Victims Support. Read more on Batchelor’s interview with the organisation here.
~ Where To Buy Who’s Been In Our Tree ~
Love Missuswolf xxx
Disclosure – I received a copy of this book as part of this feature
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