In this story Billy, like any other child, is looking forward to a big birthday. He is to be 10 on the 10th day of the 10th month, and he’s sure it’s going to be extra special. However, the local bullies hear he’s been given a twenty pound note, and challenge him to hand it over. Billy realises he can’t fight the gang so has to agree to their demands. At first Billy doesn’t dare tell a grownup as he feels guilty about losing the money. Billy and his friend Ant try to hatch a plan to get it back, but it’s not until Maxine, Ant’s sister, hears about the problem that she realises an adult needs to be involved. Grandad who does party magic, is the ideal person to get it back. Max and Grandad hatch their own plot.
"The Billy Growing Up" series is a collection of eight children's books authored by James Minter. The books follow Billy, his best friend Ant, Ant’s sister Max, and of course Billy’s dog Jacko, as they face the challenges of pre-teenage years. Each book takes Billy and Ant on a new adventure, and focuses on different emotional and negative behaviours, and how they deal with them, including, bullying, pride, jealousy, lying, stealing, self-confidence, dealing with money, and holding secrets.
Each book contains a new story together with a chapter of helpful pointers to enable children and their parents or carers to discuss any issues that might have affected them personally.
The books are also come with their own, free, fun activity booklet for you to download.
Selfless pride is based upon a person's achievements and qualities, whereas pride which comes from the ego is arrogant, selfish, and gives us an inflated opinion of ourselves.
The story starts with Billy having a spat with Ant over nothing particular. Ant goes off confused at his friend's behaviour and feels hurt and let down. He decides to find a new friend, but when Billy sees how easily Ant found someone else to play with, he feels abandoned, becomes annoyed and convinces himself that it is not his doing. Billy's pride is too strong to let him apologise. Instead, it sees him dragged deeper and deeper into things that an apology may no longer be enough to put right.
This book looks at jealousy. Jealousy is based on wanting something for ourselves that someone else has. As children, we learn by making comparisons with others. Jealousy usually involves another person. Seeing them with want and do not have, can lead us to harm and bring unhappiness to the other person at whatever cost. These emotions can also generate feelings of guilt and shame, as we know deep down that we are actually harming the other person. However, jealousy only harms the person who is feeling it.
In the story, Billy thinks he deserves the most attention and a prize because he believes he is the best student. When Ant receives both, he begins to feel jealous. It isn’t fair and he’s afraid he will lose his popularity as Ant becomes the centre of attention. As things progress, he blames Ant for how he’s feeling and wants to get his own back.
Lying is common, and is done for number of reasons. The most frequent reason is to avoid trouble.
In the story Billy and Ant discover whatever you lie about, and whenever you lie, it affects something or somebody. And it can have serious consequences.
It is easy to embellish stories as you tell them. Billy and Ant get carried away with their own storytelling. Of course, everyone hopes to get away with a lie – that’s why they are told – but there is always a consequence. Even their teacher gets into trouble without having had anything to do with the lie itself. Every lie, no matter how small, has an impact not only on the person who has told it, but on others too.
Stealing is taking something without permission or payment. Children may steal for a dare, or because they have no money, or as a way of getting attention. Stealing shows a lack of self-control. Max sees some go-faster stripes for her bike. She has to have them, but her birthday is ages away. She eventually gives in to temptation.
Parents can teach their children that stealing is wrong by insisting they return whatever item they’ve taken and apologise to the owner. This makes a child understand that if they take something that doesn’t belong to them it impacts the other person and this is wrong. Max was made aware that her only option was to return the item when it was pointed out to her by Billy. She felt guilty and took it upon herself to apologise. This is often the best way to deal with such a situation.
Self-belief and self-esteem are at your core. It’s like an iceberg where what you see is just above the surface, and where people act out how they think they should be. But deep down is the truth of how they really feel. It’s a part they don’t show to the outside world, and sometimes not even to themselves. This is why we don’t understand why we feel that way we do. Why we feel that we’re not good enough, or not lovable enough. The reason is hidden deep beneath the waters.
In the story Billy is given an opportunity to shine but his inner talk tells him he can’t do it. He’s convincing himself that he’s not good enough, and therefore, that is what plays out. He feels so insecure and vulnerable that he begins to think of all the ways he can make this become a self-fulfilling prophecy. If he believes he can’t then he can’t – and so won’t.
It's important that children learn both the purpose and value of money, and how it fits into the way they will have to live when they are adults. Parents take care of a child's financial needs until they leave education. Food always appears on the table, and clothes in our closet, or gifts on birthdays and at Christmas. However, the most important lesson a child has to learn is that these things don’t appear out of thin air. Someone has to exchange their services – work at a job – in order to earn the money to purchase the goods.
In the story Billy wants a new skateboard. He doesn’t understand why he just can’t have it bought for him. He doesn’t have to pay anything towards any other costs in the household so why does he have to participate in a toy?
If something has to be kept a secret, there must be a reason. It is usually to protect yourself or someone else. This story explores the issues of secret-keeping by Billy and Ant, and the consequences that arise. For children, the importance of finding a responsible adult with whom they can confide in and share their concerns is a significant life lesson.
Keeping secrets is not easy, even though at times it seems like the right thing to do. Ant and Billy were somewhere they shouldn’t have been, and saw something they shouldn’t have seen. They didn’t want to get into trouble but by not telling anyone, the wrong person was accused. Sometimes it’s hard to know what to do, but things need to be put right.
All 8 books are available as paperback books from all leading bookshops or on-line from Amazon; as ebooks for Amazon's Kindle, as Apple iBooks and as ebooks from Barns & Noble or Kobo. They are also in audiobook format available from Amazon and Audible.co.uk
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