A Book Review – James and the Birthday Balloon.

Recently I was sent this beautiful book, James and the Birthday Balloon by Nicola J. Rowely to review, thank you, Nicola. I always know when we are onto a good book because Alex will ask for it to be read over and over, James and the Birthday Balloon is one of these books.

James and Ruby are best friends, on this day James wakes up very excited as it is Ruby’s birthday.   At Ruby’s birthday, they each receive a special balloon.  As James and Ruby are running along excitedly, Ruby loses her balloon and it floats off into the sky.  As Ruby is distracted looking up, she falls over and hurts herself.  Ruby has to go to the hospital, she is scared.  James wants to help make his best friend feel happy again,  How can he do this?


Ultimately the messages spread through the book are about kindness, sharing, and empathy for others.  What I love so much about this book is that the messages are simple and very relatable for young children.  Alex instantly fell for the story as Ruby lives on a farm, much like his cousin and best friend Meeka.


The simple, realistic pictures and facial expressions are bright and bubbly.   Younger children who may not be at the reading stage would easily be able to tell the story through the illustrations when looking at this book alone.

A delightful story for all ages.

You can purchase this book from Amazon or Fishpond.  For more about Nicola J. Rowley and her books see her web page.


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KidsPlayNZ recommendations

I thought I would do a post on some of the great books, articles and pages I follow on Play and Gentle Parenting. I get asked this question a lot, it’s also a blog I will update when I read something new or find a great new page to follow.  So let’s just say it will be a living document.

I wish I had known about many of these blog pages and facebook groups when I was a new mum, it’s really hard not to get caught up in mainstream parenting advice and education when you have no support from the alternatives or don’t even know where to start.  Along the way I have joined local facebook groups on babywearing, wait it out parenting, breastfeeding support and I am now finding out about homeschooling and alternative education.  I have found all these groups very welcoming to answer questions and support you through the harder times of parenting.   The book I am currently reading Free to Learn by Peter Gray is most likely the most amazing book I have ever read.  He speaks my language, he has done a few TED talks so you may want to google him and see what it is all about.


  • Dance with me in the Heart – Pennie Brownlee – The adults guide to great infant-parent partnerships.
  • Magic Places – Pennie Brownlee – The adult’s guide to young children’s creative artwork
  • The sacred urge to Play -Pennie Brownlee with Kimberley Crisp – Unfolding your’s child’s intelligence, imagination, creativity and joy for life.
  • Our Babies, Ourselves – Meredith F. Small – How biology and culture shape the way we parent.
  • The Continuum Concept –  In search of happiness lost – Jean Liedloff
  • The Whole-brain Child – Daniel J. Siegel, MD – Revolutionary strategies to nurture your child’s developing brain.
  • Free to Learn – Peter Gray – Why unleashing the instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life.


  • The Natural Parenting Magazine

Blogs and Facebook Pages:

These are just a few of the many resources I have read over the past 4 years.  I would love to know any books or blogs and pages that you recommend.  Let me know in the comments section or leave me a message on Facebook.