From the moment the CEO of a leading Children’s Charity and Crisis centre approached me to write a picture book about domestic violence, I was filled with agitation. This was after all not your everyday topic for an entertaining children’s book. It was, and still is, however an ongoing horrifying reality of society regardless of culture or creed. And so, this story became my challenge, my tormentor and eventually one of my ultimate favourites.
Flick is just like any other youngster. She loves to chase butterflies and tussle autumn leaves but life at the end of Holyrood Lane is often violent and unpredictable due to the constant storms that plague her home causing her to cringe with dread and flee whenever they strike. Flick tries her best to quell and endure the storms’ persistent wrath until one day, with nowhere left to hide Flick summons the courage to face her fears by asking for help to overcome them.
At the End of Holyrood Lane is a metaphorical glimpse at one aspect of domestic violence and how it affects young lives. It is a tale of anxiety shown through the eyes of a small being with an intense dislike for thunderstorms, a fear shared by many young children. I hope the duality used evokes a gentle awareness for young readers who may be suffering their own domestic torment but are too scared or unsure of how to seek help and shelter from their storms.
Few picture books available today address this volatile and woefully prevalent aspect of society without overt explicitness or didactic overtones. At the End of Holyrood Lane does so in a sympathetic, non-threatening way. Once again, Nicky Johnston’s illustrations are visually arresting, emotionally incisive, and ultimately…uplifting. Pure magic.
Published: September 2018
Illustrator: Nicky Johnston
Publisher: EK Books $24.99
Format: Hardcover 32pp
Ideal for: 4 – 8 year olds, schools, children’s charity institutions, DV organisations, children in need organisations
Need help? Kids Helpline is Australia’s only free, private and confidential 24/7 phone and online counselling service for young people aged 5 to 25 1800 55 1800 kidshelpline.com.au
Published Reviews, Interviews and Testimonials:
Coomera author has dared write a book tackling the topic considered taboo for kids. John Affleck, Gold Coast Bulletin March 2017
It is a stunning book – in every way – metaphorically, the writing is lyrical and inspirational and the illustrations are awe-inspiring. Dimity again dares to touch on what is normally a forbidden subject for children: the devastation of domestic violence. With delicacy, and ultimately hope, Dimity’s lyrical words and Nicky’s evocative illustrations touch on hope in the midst of terror. With beautiful metaphors and symbolism this book brings to light awareness of children who suffer and who are vulnerable in our society. We are excited to add this deeply touching story to our Paradise Kids Library. Deidre Hanna, Founder CEO Hopewell Hospice Services and Paradise Kids
The End of Holyrood Lane is a beautiful, non-didactic exploration of family violence. Unlike many other books broaching the subject, it deals with verbal abuse directed at the child protagonist. The illustrations show the parent figure in silhouette as a storm, and the other adult figure as a refuge from the storm. Highly suitable for teachers to read to Early Primary classes. Dr Zewlan Moor, Byron Bibliotherapy
At The End of Holyrood Lane is a beautiful story about a little girl who is terrified by the storm that chases and scares her but when Flick reaches out for help she finally becomes safe and the sunshine comes out. Dimity Powell should be commended for the gentle way in which she approaches the challenges faced by so many children growing up in a house of violence. RizeUp is proud to support Dimity and her beautiful story and we are sure it will touch the lives of so many children and their parents in a positive way. Nicolle Edwards CEO Founder, RizeUp
I think…the poetry and vivid use of language is exciting and will encourage creativity and love of language in young children. Above all, Dimity’s skills in and focus on mediating social and emotional skills and competencies to children, will encourage them to see help in dark times and help them to navigate through stormy weather and understand that it will pass. Leslee Unwin Founder & President Think Equal
Congratulations to Dimity Powell and Nicky Johnston for creating At the End of Holyrood Lane, as it is timely in sending a message of hope to a child witnessing the scourge of domestic violence in their family. At last, attitudes are changing and the tide is starting to turn against family violence. Part of this change will include children seeking help directly when the adults in their life are unable or unwilling to protect them. Children’s books such as this have a role to play in the process of helping a child, through metaphor and subtle example, to gain some understanding and in encouraging them to seek help at an early stage. Gary E Poole Registered Psychologist & Regional Director Act For Kids