This blog is about learning through stories

Look at the 2 contents pages (with links), top of screen, which list all story subjects and suitable age groups OR go to  ‘categories‘ on right of screen to find what you need, scroll down to find a suitable story.   Or use key words in the search box (top right).

This blog can work like a shuttlecock – I tap it over to you and ask  ‘do you need a story for something?’  You reply to me via the comments box to ask me for a story about – for example ‘resilience’, or ‘forgiveness’ and so on.  I need to know the age range of my audience.  

Here’s an example: someone said  “I need a story about being helpful, for six year old children.”          I will see what I can do! You ‘get the shuttlecock back’, with a story and even a picture, if you are lucky!  All for free.

Here’s my shuttlecock, coming your way!shuttlecock006

‘Poochie’ A dog story about keeping calm and not panicking, for children of 5-6 years old. 337 words, 2 -3 minutes to read

Subject Resilience



You know, being a dog is very interesting. Everything smells so different. You have to keep sniffing to see what’s been happening. You can tell a lot from sniffing.

My human, she is called Katie, she can’t tell much from sniffing. In fact the only time I see her sniffing is when she’s sniffing me! She cuddles me and sniffs my head. I hear her telling her mum that I smell nice – sort of warm and fluffy.

‘Are you dog sniffing again?’

‘Yes, I like sniffing Poochie!’

Poochie, that’s what they call me! My real name is Puccini!  I am quite small for a dog. I can fit onto Katie’s lap and fall asleep and she just sits there stroking me.

One day I saw a hole in the garden fence. I sniffed at it and smelt something different. I just had to squeeze through and look around . Katie saw me go. She screamed and shouted to her mother. What a terrible noise she made! I hid behind a bucket. I didn’t want to be with her if she was screaming.

‘Poochie won’t come back if you go on making all that noise. Now dry your tears and get a treat from Poochie’s tin. He’ll soon smell it and come back.’

Well, Katie must have done what her mother told her, because the next thing I knew I could smell my special treat from Katie’s side of the fence. And there was Katie peeping through the hole and calling gently ‘Come on Puccini, come and get your treat.’


Poochie peeps through the hole in the fence, looking for treats.

So I followed my nose, didn’t I? Katie’s mum quickly blocked the hole in the fence behind me and there I was being stroked and eating my treats! Then Katie’s mum was stroking Katie’s head and saying, ‘There you see, it’s much better not to panic and scream and cry. Everyone feels better if they keep calm and get help.’


What was the little dog ‘s name in the story?

How do dogs get to know what’s been happening around them?

What did Poochie mean when he says that Katie was his human?

What did Katy like to do Poochie when he was on her lap?

How did Poochie’s nose get him into trouble?

What did Katie do when Poochie disappeared through the fence?

What did Poochie do when he heard her screaming and crying?

What did Katie’s mum say when Katy was screaming and crying? 

How did Poochie’s nose sort out the problem? (Why did he come back through the hole?)

Does this story remind you of anything in your life?

Sometimes it is good to cry and shout and let your feelings out.  Then when you have done it, you can stop and tell people who love you about your problem, and then you feel a bit better about it.  In this story Katie’s mum came quickly to help, and that was when Katie needed to stop screaming and crying, so she did!






Young girl dies after taking ‘teddies’. A story about taking drugs for 11yrs to teenage.

Sharon learns something about drugs

Sharon's Avatar

Sharon was bored again. She heard something on the news about a girl of 12 who died after taking something called ‘teddies’. It was a made to look harmless and fun in the shape of a teddy’s head. She searched for ‘teddies’ on her laptop . Immediately she found a site which claimed to advise people about drugs. There were a few questions and answers about taking unknown pills, and then she found this poem. It grabbed her attention.

“I destroy homes, tear families apart – take your children, and that’s just the start.
I’m more costly than diamonds, more costly than gold – the sorrow I bring is a sight to behold.
And if you need me, remember I’m easily found.
I live all around you, in schools and in town.
I live with the rich, I live with the poor, I live down the street, and maybe next door.
My power is awesome – try me you’ll see.
But if you do, you may never break free.
Just try me once and I might let you go, but try me twice, and I’ll own your soul.
When I possess you, you’ll steal and you’ll lie.
You’ll do what you have to just to get high.
The crimes you’ll commit, for my narcotic charms, will be worth the pleasure you’ll feel in your arms.
You’ll lie to your mother; you’ll steal from your dad.
When you see their tears, you should feel sad.
But you’ll forget your morals and how you were raised.
I’ll be your conscience, I’ll teach you my ways.
I take kids from parents, and parents from kids, I turn people from God, and separate from friends.
I’ll take everything from you, your looks and your pride, I’ll be with you always, right by your side.
You’ll give up everything – your family, your home, your friends, your money, then you’ll be alone.
I’ll take and I’ll take, till you have nothing more to give.
When I’m finished with you you’ll be lucky to live.
If you try me be warned this is no game. 
If given the chance, I’ll drive you insane.
I’ll ravish your body, I’ll control your mind.
I’ll own you completely; your soul will be mine.
The nightmares I’ll give you while lying in bed.
The voices you’ll hear from inside your head.
The sweats, the shakes, the visions you’ll see.
I want you to know, these are all gifts from me.
But then it’s too late, and you’ll know in your heart, that you are mine, and we shall not part.
You’ll regret that you tried me, they always do.
But you came to me, not I to you.
You knew this would happen. 
Many times you were told, but you challenged my power, and chose to be bold.
You could have said no, and just walked away.
If you could live that day over, now what would you say?
I’ll be your master; you will be my slave.
I’ll even go with you, when you go to your grave.
Now that you have met me, what will you do?
Will you try me or not? 
Its all up to you.
I can bring you more misery than words can tell.
Come take my hand, let me lead you to hell.”
Samantha Reynolds

Crystal, hash, teddies, they have many names and many effects. Young people may be tempted to try them. They may be told that it’s cool to take them, that their lives will be more exciting, and that the drugs are not addictive. Their friends may be taking them, or they meet someone in the street who is young and smiling, who offers friendship and kindness, and drugs. What to do? How bad is it? How bad could it be?

Just picture your mother or father finding you slumped in a corner unable to move. That’s how bad it can be. Picture your grandma dabbing her eyes with her hanky and saying, ‘She shouldn’t have died before me.’

It can be that bad. Or it can send you to a mental hospital. Your brain is a delicate instrument. Some of these drugs are contaminated or are much stronger than you think; you just don’t know what you are swallowing or sniffing or injecting.

Or it can go so well that you want to find more. You can’t stop thinking about it. It was so good you were able to forget all your troubles. You need more, but it costs money and you don’t have enough. You steal from your parents. Eventually they get so angry with you that you leave home. You are on the street with no money, no food and no drugs. You steal from an old lady; you take her bag. She is so frightened and shocked that she falls over and hits her head and dies. You go to prison. You think you might be among friends in prison but you are not. They are violent and dangerous people and they hurt you. This is a black tale, but it happens far more than you want to know, and all because someone was tempted to ‘have some fun’.

It can be a very slippery slope and slippery slopes are almost impossible to climb out of. Suicides are common among drug users. Don’t become one, ever. You can always find people who say they have been using drugs for years and are still OK, but there are many who are not. Surely it is not worth the risk?


What questions would you like to ask? Don’t be afraid to ask an informed adult, someone you trust. Do not ask a drug user, they will probably not give you an honest answer.



Brexit, a different view

One Foreigner’s Point of View on Brexit


Iceland is as its name implies, very cold. My family were used to it but I never wanted to stay in that climate. The warmth of the sun tempted me away from my country. I left and travelled to Europe in my early 20s. I was unsure as to where I wanted to settle. I decided to try out as many European countries as I could. They all have their attractions and they all have their faults. It was interesting to notice that they are all well aware of their best attributes, but seemed to be unaware of their own problematic behaviours, which were slightly different in each country.

Each had national pride, traditions and values close to the hearts of their citizens, but they were blind to their own difficult issues. They felt that, what ever they were, they were common issues the world over. I was present when the European Union was formed and people’s eyes were opened to their own idiosyncrasies and their foibles and unfairnesses. Many laws were made and much exchange took place. Towns were twinned, people shared their lives, if only for short periods. Countries could no longer turn a blind eye to their problems, and solutions suddenly seemed possible. It was no longer deemed appropriate for workers to be at the mercy of their employers regarding hours worked and pay rates. Equality of opportunity suddenly became a concept that was enshrined in law instead of being jeered at by those who felt they were ‘more equal’ than anyone else. Racism, sexism, ageism became part of the vocabulary. ‘Inclusion’ became a byword.

Of course it was not all entirely without fault or difficulty but the lives of millions were improved beyond imagining. Meanwhile law makers went too far on occasion. The combination of open borders and a reduction in the availability of work for those who were unwilling or unable to perform various tasks both and skilled or skilled, began to led to resentment.

Meanwhile a swirl of humanity has occurred over the past 30 years, as indeed it has on many occasions in our human history, as modern genetic studies have shown us. This mixing cannot be undone. It leads to strength in the gene pool rather than to weakness. It leads to the worst excesses of the different cultures being changed and improved. It leads to compassion and understanding between different cultures and races. We cannot step backwards. We must learn to move forwards together; there is no purification that can take place. We are by nature and ever-changing species growing and improving.

Our strength is unity in our diversity.

If Britain cuts itself off from Europe I am moving back to Iceland, chilly as it is, it won’t feel as cold and isolated as I fear Britain will, alone in the world following a ‘Brexit’.

A lonely road

A lonely road

Bozo talks about throwing balls indoors. A story for little kids

Bozo practises his circus tricks

‘Hello I’m Bozo, I’m a Clown. You may have seen my happy face somewhere? I like to teach little kids things. I try to make it fun to learn. Can you catch a ball yet? I can. I can throw six balls up in the air all at once. Mind you it took me a few years to learn that. I just had to keep practicing. When I was good at catching one ball, I went on to catching two, then three and so on. I practice a lot. I used to try throwing a ball up over my head, and catching it again. Best to do that outside so you don’t knock the pictures off the walls .

Bozo pic 2007


One day I forgot and I threw my ball under my leg and up towards the ceiling. It hit the light and poof! all the lights went out. Oh dear!’

‘Stand still everyone, there is broken glass about!’, said Dad. He lit his torch and Mum swept up the mess.

‘What do we say about throwing the ball indoors?’ said Mum.

‘I must look where I throw it and throw it small, small throws, not like that. Oops sorry!’

‘Okay, now what else do you want to do? That ball’s going away for a while,’ said Dad.

‘Okay I’ll practice juggling my plates now…’

‘No, no throwing, no juggling, even if they are plastic plates. What else do you have to practice?’ said Dad.

‘How about my tin whistle?’

‘Now that’s a good idea, just  make sure you’re not annoying anyone with it.’

That was the trouble! Everyone hated hearing me playing the tin whistle!

‘Tell you what,’ said my sister, I will practice reading you a story instead, how about that?’  Well, I didn’t think she needed to practise reading, I thought she was good at it already, but I didn’t say ‘No’!

‘Okay, thanks. Then I’ll do some somersaults in the hall. ‘

Mum said I just had too much energy, and that it was a pity was raining.

‘Never mind we will all go out later with our wellies on, and you can splash in the puddles…’ she said.


When Bozo was a little boy he liked to practise doing things. Can you say what he practised?

What did he want to be when he grew up?

What rules did Bozo’s mum and dad have about playing with balls indoors?

What rules do you have about playing with balls?

What might happen if you just threw balls around indoors?

What happened when Bozo threw the ball at the ceiling?

Does this story remind you about anything that has happened to you or your family?


Should Emma ‘like’ him? A story for girls 11 to teenage about ‘sexting’

Should Emma ‘like’ him? A story for teenage girls about ‘sexting’

Emma's blue toe nails001

My tummy’s full of butterflies. I feel so excited, but I’m nervous too. There’s a boy who has been looking at me at break time. He’s got shiny black hair which he sweeps back over his head. I got a text on my phone and it’s from him.

‘I love your smile’ it says. He has signed it ML, that’s him, ML.

I text back ‘I love your hair.’

I keep checking my phone all day, nothing happens then just before last lesson it buzzes in my pocket. Mustn’t let the teachers see me looking at it, she will confiscate it. I pretend to look in my bag for a pencil. Yes! the message is from him! I decide to save it for later, on the bus where I can enjoy it in private.

Ellie my best friend has a boyfriend, well she says he’s her boyfriend but they never do anything together, they just sit and tease each other at lunchtimes. I’ve never had a boyfriend. I don’t think boys would fancy me. My brother says I’m ugly and fat. My mum tells him off if he says that, but he’s probably right. I’m what they call a big girl.

Anyway on the bus those butterflies are flapping around my insides again. I plonk down on the seat at the front upstairs. My phone lies in my hand. I look around, no one else is on the front seats. I check the message. It’s a photo of MML’s cheek with his hand touching it in a way that makes me shiver and feel excited. I don’t know how he took that pic. It’s not a selfie.

“Like me?” said the caption.

I don’t know what to say, of course I like him, he looks gorgeous, but why is he sending me this photo?

I text “Yes”, that’s all.

Every day he sends me a photo of himself, usually of his hands, often of his hair, sometimes of parts of his face. One day sends me a picture of his feet. They make me laugh, they are just as perfect as his hands. He doesn’t say anything except ‘Like it?’

Now I’m in my bedroom doing my homework and the phone pings. It’s ML. No photo but: ‘Send me a pic of you’.

I take one of my right foot, my toes have blue nail varnish and I think he might like that.

Emma's blue toe nails001

He replies “Higher”. My stomach lurches, what does he want? I take a pic of my hand. “ Better”, he says.

He doesn’t stare at me in school any more. In fact he seems to disappear into the distance whenever I catch sight of him. It’s strange.

In my bedroom, ping goes the phone again. It’s a picture of ML’s knees. He is wearing blue jeans.   His hand is draped across his knees as if he is stroking them.

‘Yours?’ is the message.

Butterflies again. Why does he want to see my knees? I take off my black school trousers and put on my tights. My legs look better with tights on. I take a picture on my knees with my hand on one of them just like his hand, sort of stroking my knee. I feel a bit funny doing it, like it was a bit risky, but I do it anyway.

I’m waiting for a reply. Nothing happens. In school the next day, there is ML in a little crowd with my brother, all looking my way, laughing and pointing at me. My brother looks embarrassed and angry.

I feel terrible. I’ve been so stupid to trust that boy with my photos, that boy who never even speaks to me. I have a horrible day.

My brother comes home and flings his rucksack on the floor. He gives me such a filthy look I burst into tears. Mum and dad are at work and I feel so stupid and hurt.

My brother’s face softens he comes over and puts his hand on my arm. He is two years older than me and I care about what he thinks.

‘Is that the worst photo you sent to ML? The one of your knees?’

‘What do you mean the worst? He’s got photos of my hands and my hair.’

‘That’s not so bad then, but don’t send in any more will you Emma? I know he looks like a rock star , but he’s just a filthy toad . He’s been getting girls to send pictures of their breasts, and naked pictures to him, then he is blackmailing them.

I feel the blood drain from my face. I sort of know what he means, but I still need to ask. My bother explains.

‘Well, he says that they have to meet him and do what he says, or he will put their photos on Facebook. Then he brags about what he has done to them to all his mates.’

My mind races ahead. My mum and dad might find out what I’ve been doing, and the teachers at school, and my friends. Oh dear, I’m crying now. How could I have been so trusting… so stupid??

‘ Look Emms, I’m sorry I’ve been rude to you saying you’re fat and ugly, you are not, and a lot of my friends fancy you. But I’m protecting you from them, because some of them just aren’t very nice to girls.’

“Oh, thanks a lot you, try make me feel bad about myself, so that I don’t notice that your so called friends like me! And ML is one of your friends?”

‘No he’s the worst, but some of my friends like him, they say he’s a laugh. Anyway tell me you won’t give embarrassing photos to anyone ever again, and then I won’t have to worry about you, and I’m sorry I was unkind to you, I didn’t think!’

‘And what about my knees?’

‘ Don’t worry, ML will be up in front of the headmaster before you know it. I’m going to report him. What he’s doing is illegal, he’ll get a warning from the law tomorrow, you’ll see.’



Does this remind you of anything in your life? 

Once you give your photo to anyone else, is it private? 

What is the worst thing that could happen?

Have you been tempted to be unwise in this way? Did you make the right decision?

‘Washing hands every day and when to do it’ A poem for little kids from Dr McPuffin

Dr McPuffin

Dr McPuffin

Dr Mc Puffin teaches little kids about when to wash their hands.

Dr. Mc Puffin was puzzled. He scratched his head with his foot. He is a bird, and that’s what they do. He was wondering how you should help children to learn about handwashing. It seemed to him that some children don’t really know when to wash their hands. They might wash them too much, or they might wash them too little.

‘I know I’ll make up a poem,’ he said.

It’s called ‘Washing hands every day and when to do it.’

If you make mud pies

wash your hands.

If you go to the loo

and you do a pee or poo,

then you know just what to do,

wash your hands!


If you want to eat some food

washing hands is good,

before you eat and after, if you’re sticky,

greasy, crummy,

just have a word with Mummy,

and you do know what she’ll say,

‘Wash your hands!’


If you think that they are dirty ‘cos you

stroked your dog called Bertie,

and he dribbled on your shirty,

or you have been touching slimy grimy,

or had your finger up your nose,

don’t wipe it on your clothes!

Wash your hands.


But if you wash them just for fun,

and let the water run and run,

then I might just to tell your mum

and she’ll say ‘Wasting soap and water

isn’t something that you ought to do.

So stop it!

Dr McPuffin

Dr McPuffin

Do you think Dr McPuffin remembered all the times when we need to wash our hands? Can you think of any other times that you need to wash your hands?

Getting on and Falling Out . A story about non-violence for primary school children 9 – 11 years old

Boys arguing blog pic

Some useful guidelines for peace and harmony.

Yoga Stories


My father went to England to earn more money. He left us behind – Wazek, my brother who is twelve and me, Tadjo. Our mum works in a factory in Warsaw. We live in a flat on the outskirts of the city. Dad said that if all goes well maybe we can visit him in England. He shares a house with several other Polish people. He sends half of what he earns back home to us. It is good to have more money, but it is not good to have no dad at home. I miss him a lot. So does my mum. Sometimes she cries at night. She thinks we don’t hear, but we do. It’s usually when we’ve been arguing. She used to say, ‘Just wait until your dad gets home’. She doesn’t say it any more. She just tells us to stop arguing and then…

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Sharon and the Chat Room for kids of 10 to teenage

Sharon and the Chat Room

Sharon's Avatar

Rain streamed down the window pane; Sharon was bored, she didn’t feel like reading a book and had no fresh ideas to add to her sketch pad. She couldn’t be bothered to practice on the piano.  She glanced round her bedroom looking for ideas, picking up her iphone she scrolled down through the apps.

Sharon wondered if any of her friends were online. None of them were.

She lazily clicked and scrolled until she found some signs of activity. It was a chat room. Some of the people in school had mentioned chat rooms, but until that moment she hadn’t bothered to look at them. She had thought that there was no point in talking to strangers she would never see and who might be across the other side of the world.

However today was different. She was curious. The subject of the chat looked interesting to her. She thought she might learn a little bit more about a game that she enjoyed playing on her phone. There seemed to be about five people in the chat room. Some of them actually displayed their photographs, and others had avatars. These avatars and looked very glamorous. The photos did not. She thought she would watch the conversation. She didn’t have to join in, but to watch she had to make her presence known. She had an avatar, it was a cartoon picture of a young woman who looked at least five years older than she was, and who had beautiful long blonde hair, large breasts and a very tiny waist. Her avatar’s name was Gudrun.

The other people on chat room were all boys, she could see from the photographs that they were about her age or maybe younger. The things that they were saying were very boring, but every so often somebody made a joke or insulted someone else and there was a bit of banter. The language used was not very pleasant. It was a bit like a playground conversation between boys who were trying to prove how grown-up they were, by swearing and making rude suggestions about their body parts. She soon got bored. What was the point of it? What a waste of time! It had nothing whatever to do with the game in the chat room name.

Sharon turned to her sketch pad. She thought she would redesign her avatar. She gave Gudrun a hair cut – very short and spikey. She changed her clothes to black leather and chains. She still had large breasts and a tiny waist. She could easily find all these aspects of appearance online. Soon she had a bold looking young woman staring at her from the screen.

Sharon's Avatar

Yes! That might raise some interest! Sharon went back to the chat room. Some of the young boys had dropped out and there were two new people in it. She wondered if she’d be brave enough to join in the conversation which seemed to be about game tactics this time. As soon as she made herself known, one of the new people was addressing her.

‘Well, hello, Gudrun, have you come to play?’

Sharon suddenly felt very hot, and nervous. Should she reply? Well, surely it wouldn’t do any harm?

‘Yes, I want to learn some new moves’, she typed.

‘Oh, I could teach you a few of them,’ another person typed.

“Get lost dude, I saw her first,’ typed the first person, who from their avatar appeared to be a cool redheaded girl.

‘Go and f*** yourself!’  said the second person whose avatar looked like a sweet young blond girl with long eyelashes.

Sharon switched off her phone. She was disgusted. At that moment her elder sister came into her room.

‘What’s the matter Shaz? You’re looking a bit off!’

‘Yes, I am! I was just looking at ‘MindKraft’ to learn some new moves and I went in a chat room. It was full of creeps!’

‘That’s the trouble with chat rooms, they usually attract stupid people who just want to talk about sex. They are sick! A girl in my class thought she had met a really nice guy on a chat room. He had a brilliant avatar, she said. She arranged to meet him at the shopping mall in town. He turned out to be fat and spotty and about 25 years old. He got really cross when she said she wasn’t interested. He tried to grab her but she was faster than him and she hid in Next until he disappeared.’

‘Why did she think he was so nice in the first place?’

‘She showed me all the things he said to her online. She saved them onto her laptop, see. He sounded really interesting and funny. And he really buttered her up!’

‘What do you mean, buttered her up? I don’t know what you are saying!’

‘Well, it’s what they do, isn’t it, to make a girl feel good. He flattered her. He said things like her avatar had beautiful hair, and then he said he thought her real hair would be even better. Then he said her eyes were gorgeous, and he knew that her own eyes would be just as lovely. He asked her for a photograph, and she sent him one!! Stupid girl. Then he really went to town. He praised every bit of her, from her clothes to her figure and face. He even liked her shoes!! It’s called grooming, you know, lying to make someone feel good and to trust you.’

‘And she believed him?’

‘Well, yes, she wanted to, you see. She was feeling lonely and thought that having a boyfriend might solve everything.’

‘She was lucky in a way. She escaped, some girls are not so lucky. It was on TV the other day. Lonely girls getting kidnapped by men who pretend to be really nice at first, then the girls can’t get away from them. Ugh, let’s not think about it!’

‘I think I’ll stick to people I really know in real life now. I won’t bother with chat rooms.’

‘Yes, that’s right Shaz. They are usually a really lower class of people who use them – people who love to swear and talk about their private parts, who wants to know about that? And as I said, some of them are really nasty and dangerous.’


Did this story remind you of anything in your life?

What advice would you give to anyone who keeps going on chat rooms?

Why do some men ‘groom’ girls?

What might the danger signs of untrustworthy people be?

What are the real dangers of chat rooms do you think?


Discuss this with an adult that you know and trust, who knows about online activity and its dangers. The following information came from a website of the parents of Breck who was groomed on an online games chat room and


Opening files, accepting emails, IM messages, pictures or texts from people you don’t know or trust can lead to problems  – they may contain viruses or nasty messages


Tell your parent, or trusted adult if someone or something makes you feel uncomfortable or worried, or if you or someone you know is being bullied


Someone online might lie about who they are and information on the internet may not be true. Always check information with other websites, books or someone who knows. If you like chatting online it’s best to only chat to your real friends and family


Meeting someone you have only been in contact with online can be dangerous. Only do so with your parents or carers permission and even then only when they can be present. Remember online friends are still strangers even if you have been talking to them for a long time

Keep Safe

Keep safe by being careful not to give your personal information when you are chatting or posting online. Personal information includes your email address, phone number, password, location

Mummy goes to hospital and Chloe is upset. A helpful short story for little children

A Story for Chloe

 One day Chloe’s mummy had to go to hospital to get her sore leg fixed. Chloe was upset when Mummy waved goodbye.

Chloe’s daddy said, ‘Don’t worry, Dr McPuffin will look after Mummy.’

‘Who is Dr McPuffin?’ Chloe asked.

‘He is one of the best doctors in the world. He works at hospital where Mummy will be. He’s very good at making people better.’

Daddy showed Chloe a picture of Dr. McPuffin.

Puffin water colour004


‘Oh, I didn’t think doctors looked like that. He’s a bird isn’t he?’

‘Yes he’s a very special bird who makes people laugh and feel happy. The nurses giggle when he comes in!’

‘He flies in and sits on the windowsill and does a happy dance – up and down and round and round he goes. He always wears a stethoscope around his neck like all doctors do.’

‘He carries a copy of the newspaper under his wing and tells the patients something funny about the news that day.’

‘When he sees that everyone in the room is happy and smiling, off he goes.’

‘Goodbye Dr McPuffin, and thank you!’ they all say.

‘Why does he come into hospital and do that?’ asked Chloe.

‘People get better soon if they are happy and smiling ,’ said Daddy. ‘Shall we think of something we can do for Mummy when she comes home tomorrow?’

‘I could thread some of those pretty beads for her couldn’t I?’ said Chloe.

‘And I’ll get her some nice flowers,’ said Daddy.

Chloe clapped her hands.’ Oh yes,  Mummy loves flowers. We will make her smile won’t we Daddy? And we’ll be helpful so she gets better soon.’


Who was going to hospital?

Why was Chloe upset?

Daddy told Chloe about Dr McPuffin – what was he? 

What did Dr McPuffin do to make everyone happy?

Have you ever seen a Puffin on TV? Where do they live?

What did Chloe say she could do to make Mummy smile?

What did Daddy say he would do?

Who would be very helpful at home when Mummy came back from hospital?

Does this story remind you of anything in your life?

Empathy in Ireland: ‘Todd does the right thing’ A story for children of 10 to 13 years.

Empathy in Ireland

Todd does the Right Thing

Forget about 'sides', someone needs help!

Forget about ‘sides’, someone needs help!

This story is set in Ireland. It comes from a town that has known unrest and internal battles over many years. It could equally be set in many places around the world where neighbours struggle for power.

The warring factions could always find excuses reaching back into history as to why they should hate each other. Gradually over time and with the determined wisdom of some politicians from both sides they finally made peace.

Barricades were taken down. It became easy to travel from the street to that street without worrying whether a bottle or worse would be thrown at you.

The schoolchildren found that they could play football matches against people who might in the past have come from the opposite side.

Now it didn’t seem to matter any more. Now they enjoyed their freedom to come and go, to mix and talk with whom ever they wanted.

The wiser ones decided it would be better not to ask a person if they were green or orange, if they were from the North or the South if they were Catholic or Protestant. Better not to know, those were only labels. People discovered that without labels they could just be friends.

After a soccer match one Sunday, Todd and his elder brother Leon were wandering home feeling good. Their team had won. They weren’t paying much attention to the road. Suddenly two cars came screaming towards them. One took a sharp right turn and disappeared up a side street and the other rammed into a lamp post. The boys were shocked, but ran towards the stricken car.

irish boys save the day

A youth was slumped over the steering wheel and a young child of no more than four years old was screaming in the back seat. The boys noticed that the car had harsh threatening slogans on the back window. The words used were the kind their mother told them never to use.

‘People who say that are no better than scum.’ she had said.

The street was deserted. It was a shopping area but everything was locked and shuttered, it being a Sunday afternoon.

‘ We’ve got to do something quick,’ said the older lad, ‘that kid might be strangled by his safety belt and the other needs hospital! You stay here and I’ll run and get help. Stop any passing cars and tell them what’s happened.’

The engine in the wrecked car had cut out so the was no chance of an explosion. Leon raced off leaving Todd to watch and wait. Todd tested the back door of the car. The child stopped screaming, he just sat looking terrified and dazed.

‘Are you hurting?’ asked Todd. The kid shook his head. ‘Is that safety belt cutting you?’

The child seemed puzzled. He looked down and pulled at the belt. It seemed loose enough. Todd looked over at the driver. Nothing he could do to help him. He was unconscious and Todd knew not to move a person if their bones might be broken. The child began to cry again, this time it was a frightened whimpering.

Todd came back to the child. ‘Take my hand,’ he said, ‘I promise you I’ll stay until help comes.’ The child grasped his hand and nodded. Todd could feel his own heart beating loudly in his chest, but he stayed put although he really wanted to run away and hide himself.

After what seemed like a long time the sound of a police siren cut through the air. Leon was sitting in the back of the police car with a policewoman. Two male officers leapt out of the front and ran to the battered car. An ambulance siren wailed in the distance.

‘You’ve done a great job there, Todd, is it? Good lad. Little ‘un must have been in a state when you got to him.’

Todd managed a half smile and anxiously looked over at the slumped figure in the front of the car.

‘Don’t worry about his brother, he still breathing. We’ll have him in the ambulance in two ticks. How about keeping the little fellow company while we take you to the police station for a statement? He seems to like you.’

They lifted the child from the car. He looked terrified.

‘Dont you fret Sonny, Todd will stay with you until we get your mam or dad to take you home. Is that all right with you Todd?’

‘Yes, yes, of course,’ said Todd, wondering what his own mother would think of her son for helping someone who was so obviously not on the same side as his mother had been all her life.

‘I will have to let my mam and dad know where I am,’ he said.

‘All done,’ said the policeman. ‘Your brother phoned them and they will be at the station waiting for you. As for the little lad here, we haven’t got a contact number to him yet. We have to go through his brother’s papers to get that.’

‘Oh I’ll wait with him, no problem,’ said Todd, looking down at the child clinging to his legs, ‘whatever my mam says!’

Todd’s parents were at the police station when the police car pulled up in the yard. His mother rushed over to him and hugged him.

‘I hear you’ve been a real hero today, Todd,’ she said. ‘ we’re really proud of you! So this is the little ‘un you’ve been looking after! I didn’t know my two boys could be so brave and clever. Well done! We’ll all wait until his mammy comes for him, then you can tell us all about it on the way home.’

Todd told his parents about the horrible sign in the back of the car and that he knew they must be from the ‘other side’, ‘But,’ he said ‘if I’d been in that car I wouldn’t have cared who saved me, I would just need to be saved!’

‘Quite right, Todd,’ said his dad, ‘We’re all the same under the skin; we’re just people who need to be saved every so often.’

A tear fell from his mother’s eyes as she realised the importance of what her youngest son had said and she felt ashamed of herself.  She asked herself if she really would have walked away if she had been the one to find the car crashed into the lamp post.


  • Does the story remind you of anything in your life?
  • What happened as the boys were walking back home from the football match?
  • What did they notice about the car which had crashed into the lamppost?
  • How did they feel when they saw the crash?
  • What did Leon do?
  • What did Todd do?
  • Why was Todd concerned about what his mother would think of the fact that he had helped the lads in the car.
  • How did Todd feel about the situation? What did he feel like doing?
  • Why do you think he stayed to keep an eye on the two in the car? 
  • How did his mother react when she saw him, was she happy or annoyed, or something else? 
  • What did his father think about people in general?
  • What would you do in such a situation? Why?