A Portadown classroom assistant has just published her first book, one of a series which aims to teach children how to be happy.
Maggie Silva, who works at Seagoe Primary School, wrote the ‘The Secret of the Stars’ using her experience of young children and her role as mum to 10-year-old Maddie.
Said Maggie, “The book tells the story of four friends who go to the park; something happens and they have to find a way to deal with it.
“It’s a simple and fun story, based on a situation children can easily relate to, and empowers them to deal with their feelings.
“Its a way of showing them that whenever bad things happen, you have to acknowledge your feelings but there are ways to overcome the problem. It’s about believing that everything will work out for the best.”
Maggie has already tested out the story on her daughter as well as friends and pupils and staff at Seagoe, and the positive feedback provided the reinforcement she needed to make the decision to have the book published.
Originally from Portugal, Maggie moved to Portadown in 2012 with her husband and daughter. She discovered her love for children and child care relatively late - having previously been business focused - but believes she has now found her true vocation.
Before obtaining her diploma for Children’s Care, Learning and Development, she had already earned two Master’s degrees in Digital Marketing and Hospitality, and a graduate degree in Management.
The book is the first in a series, ‘A fun way of learning how to be happy’, with the second ‘The Day Time Flew Away’ due to be published in July.
Maggie’s daughter will feature as a recurring character in the stories, although Maggie explains that the character is only very loosely based on Maddie. Meanwhile, she has no shortage of ideas for future stories, with her work with young children throwing up fresh material every day.
She said, “Each story in the series has a moral that is in alignment with core values that promote a better relationship with life’s everyday challenges and help children develop skills that will empower them to be their happiest-self as they grow up into adulthood.
“Giving advice to children on how to better deal with their feelings and emotions is very helpful to their emotional development. But children do not always listen well to adults’ advice! So to have a book with a short story to which they can better relate, seemed like a good idea.
“The sooner a person understands the importance of being positive, the better he/she will be ready to face whatever life brings their way.”
The book is suitable for a six or seven-year-old independent reader or for a parent to read aloud. The words of each character are colour-coded enabling children to follow the text or take the part of a character in shared reading.
‘The Secret of the Stars’ is available on Amazon in paperback and eBook. Maggie also has her own website and Youtube channel, Happy Peeps, which features videos and easy projects.