Out in March 2022, a book for 8 to 13 year-olds that explores trauma through the interweaving of stories and science. It is full of characters and makes a case for more knowledge and more kindness. Illustrated by Emmi Smid. Keep an eye out for virtual launch events, giveaways and special discounts.
A kind of sequel to my last Unofficial Guide, equally if not more messy and rooted in real life.
A fictionalised memoir about adopting and parenting care-experienced children in the UK.
‘For those who already know the author through her adoption blog the brilliance of this book will come as no surprise… Sally Donovan seems to write as naturally as the rest of us breathe, with an eloquence and honesty that makes “No Matter What” totally absorbing.’
‘If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to adopt, this book holds the answer: it’s hard, sometimes traumatic, and far from “normal family life”. It’s also special, joyful, and utterly transformative – for parents as much as children. Yes our families are different; this book explains in both a moving and matter-of-fact way why we are proud to be so.’
Baroness Oona King, adoptive parent
‘Honest, refreshing, heart-breaking, thought-provoking and inspiring – this is a valuable insight into adoption and the devastating effects of trauma.’
Lorraine Pascale, television presenter, chef and former model, adoptee and TACT patron
‘This book is sheer therapy for an adopter and enlightenment for anyone who comes into contact with adoption in any way. A must read for parents, schools and authorities.’
Carrie Grant Vocal Coach/TV Presenter, adoptive mother and BAAF adoption champion
‘No Matter What is by a long way the best account ever written of the experience of being an adoptive parent and carer of children traumatised by maltreatment. …. This remarkable book is not only a major contribution to work on child welfare; such is the sheer power and brilliance of the writing that it triumphs as a work of literature, as art. Utterly compelling and humane, No Matter What is essential reading for all those who care for and about vulnerable children, adoption and fostering and who are open to being inspired by the healing power of love.’
Harry Ferguson, Professor of Social Work, University of Nottingham
‘I found this book almost unbearably moving and, ultimately, uniquely uplifting. I have never before read, in a single book, such a compelling portrait of the horrors of child neglect and its consequences, alongside a portrait of the historical inadequacies of adoption assessment and post adoption support. This is a staggeringly vivid account of a heroic struggle by heroic adopters to heal the deep scars of neglect and abuse. I cannot recommend it warmly enough.’
Sir Martin Narey, Government Advisor on Children’s Social Care and Visiting Professor, Durham and Sheffield Hallam Universities
A guidebook rooted in the messy and baffling realities of domestic life.
‘In this new book Sally Donovan communicates powerfully the messy lived experience of daily family life with her two adopted children. In her hopeful, intelligent, moving, witty and psychologically sound reflections adoptive parents will gain a lot of comfort. This book will be an invaluable resource for both parents, extended family and friends and professionals.’
From the foreword by Dr. Vivien Norris, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, DDP Practitioner, Certified Theraplay® Therapist and Trainer, The Family Place
‘The Unofficial Guide to Parenting Adopted Children is brilliant; it’s Sally at her best and a must-read for all those involved in adopting children from care. Any adopter reading this will know that they are not alone, that they can forgive themselves for not being the perfect “elite” parent, and that with love, knowledge, support and determination very damaged young lives can be transformed.’ Hugh Thornbery, former Chief Executive, Adoption UK
‘Sally Donovan gives us a book that is honest, real and down-to-earth. The satisfaction and the pain of parenting traumatized children is here along with many practical suggestions for therapeutic parenting. Writing from the perspective of an adoptive parent of two children this book has the compassion and reassurance that can only come from having been there. Thank you Sally for helping us to understand what it is like; for showing us that therapeutic parenting can work even though the journey is a long one and for the wisdom that says give it a go and if you don’t always follow the model that is okay too.’
Dr. Kim S. Golding, Clinical Psychologist
‘If we had had this book to refer to many years ago it would have helped us to parent our children more easily. It is not a text book and it is not prescriptive. It is a practical guide, easy to read, full of helpful advice and strategies to try for children where traditional parenting methods fail because our children have not had a traditional childhood experience. It is a must read for all adoptive parents.
Read from it, get ideas from it, but above all smile at it and use it to help you smile again with your family.’ From the foreword by Sue Clifford MBE and Jim Clifford OBE.
An novel for children from 9-13 struggling with aggressive behaviours in school and at home, illustrated by Kara McHale.
‘Billy Bramble is a fantastic book. It gives you an insight into people who may struggle and how their surroundings can influence their behaviours and attitudes. Billy Bramble is a nice boy with an angry, imaginary dog. Together they battle with certain feelings. I believe everyone can learn something from this book, not least that through persisting, eventually, in spite of hardship, you can achieve.’
‘Brilliant and thoughtful insight into the mind of an eleven year old and the wonderful power of cooking.’
‘This moving and psychologically sound story encapsulates many key themes expressed by vulnerable children and paints a vivid picture of the seeming impossible dilemmas they may be facing. Compelling for children, this book will also be of great value to adults as through Billy they gain insight into the risks children face when they begin to dare to trust.’ Dr Vivien Norris, Consultant Clinical Psychologist
‘I like the way Billy has an invisible dog. It is one of the best books I have read.’
‘I love Billy – he is funny and cool and awesome and I understand him. I think he was very brave for entering the competition. The story made me laugh a lot.’
‘The book shows even if you are different you can achieve.’
‘An inspiring read which will encourage children to get cooking in order to make delicious food and also gain confidence in their own abilities.’
Jo Ingleby, BBC Cook of the Year 2015 and Chef in Residence at Redcliffe Children’s Centre