It’s handy having a dad who can fix just about anything. A young girl believes her father is the king of fixing things. But following the death of her mother, she discovers that broken hearts are not as easy to repair as damaged toys and cracked teapots. Together, she and her father find a way to glue back the pieces of her lives. The Fix-It Man is a poignant picture book that explores how a child can cope with the loss of a parent (in this case, the young girl’s mother). Repairing damaged emotions is not as straightforward as gluing a broken kite back together or sewing up a torn toy. And grief affects all members of a family, with each responding in their own way to the loss. By sticking with her father, the young girl is able to strengthen her resilience and ability to cope with one of life’s harshest experiences. The author was encouraged to seek publication for this story after receiving the endorsement of several grief counsellors who work with children and who recognised the need for a book such as this.
Do you have someone who can fix everything in your home?
How would you feel if one day that person could not fix something?
How do the pictures in this story make you feel? Do the colours make you feel a certain way, happy, sad, worried, joyful?
Who is Tiger and why do you think he is so important in the story?
Describe the relationship between the little girl and her father: at the beginning of the story, in the middle and finally at the end.
To Read, Write and Inspire sum up Dimity’s main passions in life, along with sailing on the beam, eating ice cream and writing in her diary – although doing all three at once makes her nauseous. She’s a Kids’ Lit nut, living, breathing and reading it for huge chunks of her day. She weaves words into story webs for anthologies, digital narratives, junior novels, reading apps and most gratifyingly, into picture books.
When she’s not wrangling words, she’s reviewing, managing a team of reviewers for Kids’ Book Review or sharing her love of story in front of crowds of very small people. It says so on her website, so it must be true. She loves rain and is never ever afraid of getting wet.
Dimity lives just around the corner from Bat Man on the Gold Coast, Australia although they never hang out. Such is the life of children’s authors and superheroes.
Nicky Johnston is a primary educator, speaker and children’s book author and illustrator. Passionate about raising awareness of the importance of children’s emotional well-being, Nicky has written books to help children deal with anxiety and develop resilience. She is an experienced public speaker and presents at parent forums, seminars and conferences. Her illustration style is described as whimsical, playful, narrative, emotive and dreamy. She works mainly in watercolor, ink and pencil. She also produces work digitally using a variety of illustration software. Nicky’s first children’s book Go Away, Mr Worrythoughts! was adapted into a theatrical production. For five years the show has been performed at primary schools throughout Victoria, educating children dealing with anxiety and helping to develop a healthy resilience. For four years, Nicky was the Creative Director of 52-week Illustration Challenge Facebook group. This online Illustration Challenge inspires a community of artists and illustrators to create artwork using weekly theme prompts while providing a safe and encouraging environment for personal artistic development.
What inspired the story behind this book?
The idea spawned from an incident created by my then infant child. A bowl was broken, shattered to splinters, and like many young children who view their parents as omnipresent cure-alls, she immediately presumed Daddy would fix it. It got me thinking, what if a Daddy couldn’t fix something. What if one day, he needed fixing, too? How would a child cope in that situation?
For Martyn, the original fix-it man.