The Kid Who Never Gave Up!

We are extremely proud to be releasing ‘The Kid Who Never Gave Up!’, born from the personal experiences of the author Belinda Lees, Elite Netball Coach and Educator. This fully illustrated picture book by Sarah Wall & Emma Wright tells the story of a young girl as she attends her first netball team try-out. Will her lucky purple socks prove to be lucky? Will she make the team? Or will practice with family & friends help make the difference?

Hear from Belinda below about the book and the journey of bringing to life.

When did you think you wanted to be a published author? 

My motivation for writing this book, to begin with, started with my hope of creating an opportunity for positive dialogue with my two girls about their ability to, with resilience and dedication, achieve their hopes and dreams.  I wanted a medium that championed the message that they were in control of their own path and that their greatest advocate had to be themselves.

It wasn’t until I shared the story with a dear friend that she recommended I look at getting it published as she felt it was a beautifully crafted message and one that should be shared with all little girls.

What age is this book suited for? 

This book has a message for all ages, but it is primarily targeted at the early primary years (6y.o – 11y.o)

How closely does the book reflect your netball experience? 

The story is somewhat an autobiography that gives description to my personal experiences of having a dream, facing adversity and the messaging that my parents instilled in me of preservice, dedication and resilience.

That idea of ‘never giving up’ and building resilience in our kids is becoming a huge focus in our education system. Would you say that the idea that it’s ok to fail and self awareness is changing and shifting? 

Failure gives a finite impression thus I honestly do not believe in it.  Rather, I see many opportunities for learning and growth.  Thus, it is vital that our educational institutions provide an environment where it is safe to make mistakes, with the messaging that whilst we may not initially achieve our desired outcome, it is how we choose to respond that determines our future successes.  Moreover, it is okay to make mistakes, it’s what we do next that matters!

How did your parents ensure you were resilient as a child?

My parents instilled in me the belief that I was responsible for and able to influence every situation I found myself in.  Hence, the outcome was never the “fault” of anyone else.

If I didn’t get selected in a team, then it was up to me to listen to feedback and practice.  If I didn’t get court time then it was never the coaches’ fault, I needed to practice so that when my opportunity came, I was ready and able to perform.  If I had a test at school, the outcome of that test was based solely on the effort and dedication I put into my studies.

As a result of this, I was always able to self-reflect and take responsibility – although hard sometimes.

Books create the power of the imagination, certainly for children. How important is the survival of books in the modern world? 

There is something organic or rather, nostalgic, about holding and reading a physical book – especially with your children.  The physical book provokes memories and feelings that make the reading experience much more personal.  Reading a physical book also increases comprehension and retention in comparison to eBooks whilst it also creates more brain connections due to the tactile action of turning a page.  It provides opportunities for extended uninterrupted focus that is not necessarily achievable when reading eBooks with the huge number of online distractions.  The ability to share and annotate physical books, thus make them your own, is part of the reading experience that makes it unique.  There is a sense of accomplishment when you complete a book and it sits pride of place on your bookshelf!

You’ve team up with Sarah Wall who has illustrated your book, Do you feel like you are both likeminded in purpose and philosophies? 

The women I have meet through sport, namely Netball, are my kind of people and when you find your people it feels so wholesome.  Netball is a true team sport that provides an environment where girls truly belong, where girls are championed and where girls are empowered to be positive contributors to the success of something more than themselves…a Netball team cannot win without each member of the team playing their role for each other!

This is how I feel about Sarah and my relationship – we are not only likeminded in purpose and philosophies (I will forever be grateful to the sport of Netball for introducing us many years ago) but we are here for each other, we want to be a positive contributor for each other, moreover we want to positively influence the next generation of girls to be the very best versions of themselves knowing that they hold the keys to achieving their dreams within themselves.

Sometimes, within children’s books, there are hidden meanings and certain topics you can touch on that are very much for the parents who are reading them. Is this something to look for in your book? 

Shared reading with your children brings genuine joy and creates moments of positive interaction and dialogue between a parent and child that is otherwise difficult to foster.

My motivation for writing this book is the first message within itself – take the time to read with your children.

I also wanted my girls to understand that as a parent, it is not my role to intervene / interfere with a coaching decision, a selection outcome, court time given, a result on the court or at school etc., however, is my role to support them through their adversity.  My hope is that parents realise how vital it is for their children to develop the capacity to manage the outcome of any situation by displaying resilience and that should they wish for a different outcome then they, themselves, need to respond to the adversity with a want to be better.

Is this the start of a series potentially?

Well…now that she has made the team it will be exciting to know how the season progresses!

$14.99 per book
$120.00 team pack of 10+ postage.

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