The Copper Tree


The Copper Tree Series of children's books by Hilary Robinson and Mandy Stanley help children deal with concerns and issues that can affect their everyday lives. We've previously taken a look at the series, and we're catching up with "Tom's Sunflower" - a story designed to help children deal with the issues around their parents splitting up.

Anything that affects the family unit in this way always affects children the most, and "Tom's Sunflower" addresses the issues in a sensitive story of a young boy named Tom who loves to grow things in the garden, and a class of children who rally round to support a girl whose parents have recently divorced.

The story neatly underlines some of the concerns children develop when they're dividing their time between two parents who no longer live together. The story of Tom has a neat twist that imparts a hugely positive message. We won't spoil things too much but it's easy to see how fantastically effective this book could be when used in class where children are in the same situation.

Charlotte had a ton of questions to ask about the story - and it was great to see her reaction to the characters and also how she would help anyone at school or at Brownies who is going through something similar.

A superbly accomplished and sensitive book series that would really be a huge help.

Charlotte's best bit: Charlotte loved the Classroom lineup at the end - and finding out who Tom was!

Daddy's Favourite bit: A hugely impressive book series sensitively dealing with difficult issues facing children every day.

The latest in the Copper Tree Class series, Tom's Sunflower is about helping children come to terms with difficult situations. Hana is feeling sad because her mum and dad are splitting up and going to live in different places.

Mr. Davis, the teacher, tells the class a story about a boy called Tom whose parents split up and how he learned to understand that he could make new friends in new places and that it wasn't his fault. Tom's teacher had shown him how to plant a sunflower to remember that he would always grow on both sad and happy days. Guess who Tom grew up to be...

This is a very simple but supportive book with elements to help children with different issues that might make their tummies feel "wobbly".

Juno Magazine

  • Juno review of Tom’s Sunflower
  • Juno Magazine
  • Juno review of Tom's Sunflower

Divorce is never easy and the damage done can last a lifetime. Often it is the children who are left to count the cost. Stuck in the middle or pushed to the margins. Whilst grown-ups score points and look to survive, children can be left to drift through the debris of their own lives, desperate for love and with an ever deepening, unexpressed need to make sense of it all.

The parents of divorce often under-estimate the impact separation can have on their children. Caught up in their own pain they often fail to take account of how two angry voices, drifting in the dark, muffled by walls and closed doors can plant frighteningly dark images into the minds of their children. These images distort dreams and lonely ruminations can easily intrude into waking.

Friends may try to help but understanding is difficult and too often other children give the grief stricken a wide birth. The result of this can mean that already vulnerable children feel isolated and confused.

For the child of divorce left to grieve alone, self blame is an obvious result and any effort to help them accept their innocence must be supported.

This book represents a celebration of a child’s right to be heard and for explanations to be tailored to meet their needs. Written in simple language with a gentle nuance of humour and love, Tom's Sunflower is a teeny triumph.

  • Divorce is never easy
  • Peter B. Forster
  • Chartered Counselling Psychologist and author