Children seem happier, more honest, truer to themselves.

They don’t conform to all our rules, they try things out, they aren’t scared to fall or get hurt.

Children seem to have a better grasp of life than adults do, and yet we rarely listen to them. Why? When it seems, they have the answer – or at least the attitude – to navigating life.

Out of the Woods Competition

Betsy Griffin is only nine years old and already she seems to know more about life than most adults.

Diagnosed with a brain tumour, hospitalised regularly and blind since the age of two, none of this seems to have dampened her spirits. Rather, she seems to understand what truly matters in life.

Out of the Woods, a title that is both literal and metaphorical, is about a walk in the woods, where a little girl called Betsy gets lost in a dark forest with a puppy she just found.

Getting lost is about the scariest thing that can happen at that age.

To make it out of the woods, Betsy and her puppy Clementine get help from the animals of the forest, who guide her through the darkness. The lessons from the mouse and the bee and the squirrel and the hare and the butterfly are all literal and metaphorical and represent a story of bravery to children, while to the adult reading it shows the challenges Betsy has been through to acquire this knowledge.

While Betsy has had a little help to write the book, her voice is audible throughout the entire story, not just because of the character with her name, but because the tone of the book – or fable, might I say – rings just like the little girl Fearne Cotton describes in her preamble: “She is unstoppable. She is blind, but never lets any adverse situations get in the way of her messages. Betsy is a true example of strength and positivity, which are two attributes I think many of us would like to have.”

Out of the Woods by Betsy Griffin was published by HarperCollins on the 29th February 2024. ISBN: 9780008519643.

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