Written By: Dallas Shirley, M.Ed,
Registered Clinical Counsellor

BC Registered Play Therapist
​Illustrated By: Amanda Shirley & Dallas Shirley

Woodland Wisdom books are children’s books and guides for parents, caregivers, educators, support workers, social workers, counsellors, mental health clinicians, aunts, uncles, grandparents, or any adult wanting to help support children as they navigate tough stuff like grief, loss, anxiety, and anger.

Working in non-profit agencies, I recognize resources are not always available to fund enough staff to meet the need in the community. I wanted to create resources that will be helpful to children who are on wait lists to receive counselling services and children who may never end up attending counselling for whatever reason.

These books are designed to be read after something difficult happens. The hope is that what the characters go through helps to normalize the experience that they may be experiencing.

Woodland Wisdom Books start out with tips for adults on how to help support children to tackle tough stuff. Then there is a story for children told in a straight-forward and honest way. At the end of the books, there are activities that I use as a children’s counsellor, and you can do together, to help children learn how to process and express thoughts and feelings in healthy ways.

If you would like to purchase any or all of the books in the Woodland Wisdom Books series, you will find options to do so below.

A painting of Woodland Woods

Vol. 1 ~ Death, Grief, and Loss starts off with a guide for adults to help navigate difficult subjects with children.

Then the story for the children begins. We follow Ann the Arctic Fox, who is a Social Worker in Woodland Woods, as she helps the community find healthy ways to deal with the death of the Great Elk. Ann starts a Grief Group and many animals from Woodland Woods come to share their experiences with having someone they love die. Ann shares some information about grief and encourages the group to find healthy ways to express their feelings.

After the story is done, there are a few activities that some might find helpful to express thoughts and feelings they are having about grief. One of the activities is making a Remembering Quilt which was inspired by a gift my Grandmother gave to me and I am so happy to get to share it with you

Book cover of Volume 1 of Woodland Wisdom Books, Death, Grief, and Loss
Preview of Volume 3 of Woodland Wisdom Books
Click here for a preview of Volume 1
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Vol. 2 ~ My Many, Many, Many Feelings follows Cole the Coyote through a difficult week at school. Each day he has a different problem to face until one day he finds a way to help him deal with his feelings in a healthy way.

This book shows how our feelings affect our bodies and can cause us to have stomachaches, backaches, and headaches. I often have children tell me that they think they are sick with a cold/flu when it is clear that they are in a stressful situation and more likely they are experiencing stress related pain. Let’s help kids combat their pain by giving them healthy ways to express how they feel.

​This book also has a guide for adults on how to help children dealing with difficult issues and activities at the back of the book for you to do alongside the child to help them find healthy ways to show their thoughts and feelings.

If I get an opportunity, I will re-write this book. I no longer work through thought changing activities in the same way as the one at the back of this book. I see know just how important it is to give lots of space for emotions to emerge and be validated before trying any activity that may help to process the emotion or come up with coping strategies. I still work with some people who enjoy working on thought changing, so instead I may introduce them to the Unhelpful Thoughts Box activity, which they often make their own. I have found it helpful to integrate a more play based, creative approach to work on some of that stinking thinking that comes up so we can better integrate the experience of the left brain and the right brain.

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​​Vol. 3 ~ The Difference Between Anger & Abuse: Coping with Anger in Healthy Ways follows Dallas the Deer who was having a hard time expressing her anger in healthy ways.

She goes on a journey to discover why we sometimes act the way we do when we are angry and how to learn to express anger in healthy ways. 

​This book also has a guide for adults on how to help children dealing with difficult issues and activities at the back of the book for you to do alongside the child to help them find healthy ways to show their thoughts and feelings.

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