27th February 2017
The Fix-It Man
Written by Dimity Powell
Released: March 2017
Book title: The Fix-It Man
Author: Dimity Powell
Illustrator: Nicky Johnston
Publisher: EK Books
Format: Hardcover 32pp
Ideal for: 4 - 8 year-olds and lovers of picture books
Author’s website: www.dimitypowell.com
Tell us about yourself
Dimity Powell writes exclusively for kids because deep down, she’d love to be one again. She believes kids and great stories are life-essentials, like ice-cream Her word webs appear in school magazines, anthologies, as digital narratives and creative content for apps, in junior novels and picture books. Visit her anytime at www.dimitypowell.com
What is your book about?
A young girl believes her father is the king of fixing things. He even knows how to make her ailing mother feel better. However, after her mother passes away, she discovers that broken hearts are not as easy to repair as damaged toys. Together she and her father find a way to glue back the pieces of their lives
The Fix-It Man is a poignant look at the way a young girl copes with the loss of her mother. Replacing and repairing damaged emotions is not always as straightforward as gluing a broken kite back together or sewing up a torn toy. By sticking together with her dad, she is able to strengthen her resilience and ability to cope with one of life’s harsher lessons –loss.
Who is your target audience for this book?
Essentially 4 – 8 year olds but potentially, 0 – 100 year olds!
In addition, those who work and care for children dealing with grief and life crises be they school counsellors, grief support organisations, or psychologists. Given grief is universal and does not discriminate between age, gender or creed, this story’s potential to aid children’s mental health and well-being especially in times of grief and loss is immeasurable.
The Fix It Man is a story of substance and beauty that positively fulfils a pivotal role in supporting childhood mental health care. As such, it and other books like it need to be accessible to young readers in general but especially to those experiencing stressful life situations as well as to those surrounding them in caring and supportive roles.
Lovers of beautiful fusions of art and words will also find it endearing.
What aspects did you find challenging about this book?
Fine-tuning the manuscript to ensure each word delivered as much as possible and was able to involve the reader as emotionally as possible without becoming too morose or melancholy.
What does your book offer the reader that differs from others covering similar subjects?
There are several notable children’s picture books dealing with emotional hurt available, for example The Heart in the Bottle by Oliver Jeffers, Old Pig by Margaret Wild & Ron Brooks and Chasing Shadows by Corinne Fenton & Hannah Sommerville.
The Fix It Man differs in the treatment of grief to those titles as it examines the omnipotence of a parent’s ability to make good all wrongs and fix all things broken, and focuses on a child’s reliance on such abilities. How they (father and child) evolve when these beliefs are challenged by loss and grief is shown through use of symbolism, suggesting that not everything can be fixed but together they can work towards a brighter, better future, in spite of the destruction of their ‘old world’.
It also addresses the very real situation grieving parents may find themselves in at times of loss (of a partner or loved one); no longer able to adequately consul or comfort their dependants, so that the child in turn attempts to ‘fix’ an adult’s grief, ultimately augmenting their own feelings of helplessness when this is not always possible.
Concentrating the story at the point of impact of death, and thus attempting to ‘normalise’ the emotions that ensue is what sets The Fix It Man apart from other similar titles on the market.
How did the idea for this book come about?
It grew from an 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 carers /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?
Find out more about Dimity Powell
Dimity Powell's website: www.dimitypowell.com
Dimity Powell writes for children because she would secretly love to be one again. To support this fantasy she produces sometimes silly, sometimes sad, always sparkly stories for school magazines, anthologies, online, as junior novels and picture books. The Chapel of Unlove was her first attempt at creating an immersive digital locative narrative for the Story City app. It was shortlisted in the Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards 2016. Her latest digital picture book creation, Circus School has just taken off as part of the Kindergo app featuring in Virgin Australia Airlines in flight children’s entertainment program.
Dimity’s past adventures include skiing the French Alps, Kombiing around a quarter of Australia, spotting manatees in Florida, and getting lost in the Bermuda Triangle. She’s tried a few grown up jobs but thinks it’s more fun pretending to wear jarmies all day and staying up all night eating chocolate. One day, she would love to travel to Lapland and meet Santa for real. Dimity lives just around the corner from Bat Man on the Gold Coast in Australia but both are far too busy ‘fixing stuff’ to hang out much together.
The Fix It Man is her first picture book. For more information on The Fix-It Man, comprehensive teachers’ notes, book trailer, and full details on all three celebrations to launch this poignant and purposeful book, visit Dim’s Write Stuff Blog.