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True love should always feel safe

book cover image
Posted November 19, 2018

Flick lives beneath the beech woods at the end of Holyrood Lane. She dances with butterflies in spring, and basks in golden sunshine all year long. Except when it storms.
Flick never knows when a squall will strike or how long it will last. Whenever angry clouds muscle in and wild winds bully the curtains, she hopes with all her heart they will just blow over

The End of Holyrood Road is a new picture book by author Dimity Powell, with whimsical illustrations by Nicky Johnston. It is a delightful book—but tackles the dark and difficult world of family violence.

‘Feeling scared of something is a normal emotion and generally okay. But there are some sorts of fears that should not be part of normal life and children should know that they are not alone, that it’s okay to ask for help,’ Dimity tells War Cry. ‘The message here, being that true love should always feel safe.’

According to the It’s Not Okay campaign, there is an incident of domestic violence every five minutes in New Zealand—that’s over 100,000 call-outs to police each year. Research shows that children are just as impacted by viewing violence, as they are by experiencing it directly. A study by the Ministry of Social Development found that ‘witnessing physical violence (against children, against adults and in the media) had more impact on children than their own direct experience of violence’.

Dimity had never considered writing about such a dark topic—but Deirdre Hannah, founder of children’s trauma charity Paradise Kids, urged her to give it a go, saying there is a desperate need for resources to help kids cope with family violence.

‘I was initially shocked at her suggestion,’ reflects Dimity. ‘No one else had attempted this seemingly insurmountable task in mainstream children’s literature. It was deemed a subject too niche, and too taboo for kids.’

But since releasing the book in September, Dimity has found it has offered a source of ‘reflection, refuge and hope’. ‘Stories offer safe environments to encourage emotional plasticity in children,’ says Dimity. ‘Every moment I spend with a new owner of this book is profoundly significant. We share stories, memories, tears and hope.’

White Ribbon Day, on 25 November, aims to raise awareness of men’s violence towards women. Partner and family violence affects the whole whānau—‘Say “yes” to respectful relationships and “no” to violence,’ urges White Ribbon Day.

The End of Holyrood Lane is available at bookstores, or purchase directly from www.exislepublishing.com


(c) 'War Cry' magazine, 17 November 2018, p3- You can read 'War Cry' at your nearest Salvation Army church or centre, or subscribe through Salvationist Resources.