Archives For Orla


short stories for children

Credit: Nicole Johnston Pinterest

It is never to late to start your child reading or to begin reading to your child, but to help you on your journey through the vast array of books on offer on hard copy in various bookstores etc or online on different websites such as Amazon and Amazon Kindle, I have put together some suggestions for books which may be enjoyed by your child and enjoyed by you as you snuggle up together to read.

1. Age Appropriate

It is important to chose an age appropriate book for a child. They can be divided into Baby, Toddler, Pre-schooler, Young Child, Big Child and pre-teen.

2. Special Interests Or Hobbies

What is your child interested in. Is it dogs, cats, birds, small fluffy animals, the great outdoors and nature or exotic animals or do they like fairys, magic etc? There are books to suit each childs interests.

3. What Do They Need To Learn?

Okay this is something worth considering. Is there some little lesson you would like to teach your child but they don't want to listen to you or they think they know it all but really they don't! Wen it comes to the best childrens books to read, s it a book on manners, kindness, caring for a brother or sister, helping out at home, respect, etc? The right book will get the message across in a way that kids will take in in a subtle manner and they won't even realize they are learning something.

4. What Level Is Their Concentration At?

Some books will have too much going on for a child while others will need graphics, short words and phrases and lots of white space. Kids get easily distracted but the key is to get them lost in the story instead of just lost!

5. How Do They Best Learn?

Do they need images, lots of color, audio books or books that make sound, books that allow the picture to be dimensional or sensory where they can feel the character or image. An example would be wool from a sheep, fur from a rabbit etc.

6. Series Or One Off Books?

Is there a particular type of book that your child likes that comes as part of a series or do they prefer one off type of books? If they like a particular series, see what other related books you can find?

7. What Is My Budget?

Books come in all sorts of price ranges. Generally instantly downloadable books are cheaper than hard copy books but you will find bargain and discounted books everywhere and some books are available for free download at certain times. Some books are almost collectors items and your child will hold onto them for a long time so they will be good investment pieces.

8. Established Author Or Rising Star?

Does your child have a preference for a particular authors books or is there a new author that they have expressed an interest in. Sometimes new authors go to schools and maybe they did a book reading and the child expressed an interest in the book and the author. Don't be afraid to ask!

9. Content Including Hidden Content

Some books look harmless enough but they may contain content that may alarm, frighten or confuse a child. Maybe have a look through the pages or look online for feedback from other parents about the best books for kids.

10. Meaningful Or Just For Fun

Is this a book that is meant to be meaningful for the child or just a book that is to be nothing more than just fun! Some books have a fun content and that is fine too while others will be more meaningful and the child may have a special attachment to the book. The birth of a new baby, mom being pregnant, parents separating, death of a loved one or pet are examples.

11.Special Occasion?

Is the book to mark a special occasion. Maybe a little note written inside the cover will make a nice touch. Some books can be also used to mark occasions such as getting a new sibling where the book explains things to the child in a child friendly way, or even books on starting big school can help a child get familiar with what to expect!

12. Grammar And Composition?

It is important to select a book to help your child learn "proper" language skills and the proper use of English. Flawed grammer, made up words etc can teach kids the wrong way to express themselves!

13. Building That Connection and Association

Finally, books and reading can help create that special bond that can make magic come alive as kids get integrated into the story and taken on adventures they could only dream about. Sitting together closely to read and engaging with each other about the story is a beautiful past time and will improve a childs concentration, communication skills, vocabulary and expression.


the introverts heartI don't know how it happened but slowly over time technology and gadgets seem to come into my house, or another kid comes in carrying some device and suddenly it is the coolest device on the planet and they talk of nothing else.

The thing is that no matter how many devices or gadgets they have, they will never be truly happy, even if they protest they will be happy and not want anything else. Yes they will definitely protest and put up arguements that would make any debating team proud, but at the end of the day ask yourself this question.

"Are my kids really happier now that they have all these things?"

I know speaking for myself the answer is NO. If they were happy they would be content and that would be that, but the thing is, the grass is always greener on the other side and if they don't get something, they feel short changed and feel as if their life is missing something.

Yes their life is missing something-its called SPACE.

Space to be able to just look at everything they have and appreciate it, care for it and share it with others and play happily. It isn't a myth. I did it and the hours just seemed to fly by and I was never hounding my mum telling her I had nothing to do unless I genuinely had exhausted everything else.

Now it seems that if every minute isn't occupied, the kids feel empty and isolated and feel lack and spend more time thinking about what they don't have instead of what they do have.

What I found is that with every piece of advanced technology that comes in to our house (they save up and buy), the frustration and anxiety level of them and of myself as the parent increases.

Frustration and anxiety for them as they focus all their effort and concentration into trying to master something, but their will always be more levels, more ways for them to lose games and it is exhausting. Of course its like an addiction where they want one more game, like one more fix, but one game is never enough. I salute the kids and parents where the kids are happy to "down tools" and "let go".

Instead with every level to conquer, the pressure mounts just for more points more levels completed and of course instant gratification but this fades fast in a fast paced game where they must keep moving forward with the game.

I looked at my son playing an online game and when he "died" in the game, a message came up "Don't leave now another game is starting in a moment". What? No wonder it drives him nuts and me too and that is when he really doesn't appreciate me saying time is up.

No wonder books, passive activities and even active sport can't seem to match the thrill gotten from the latest mod cons. How could they!

No wonder also he doesn't want to leave the game-who wants to leave when the chips are down when you can keep going on and on!

Scary but true, so now I find myself relaiming my kids from technology, my daughter is still young and thankfully not really interested. Of course it is harder imposing rules when some of his friends can do as they please. Sure technology makes a great babysitter in that your child is entertained but not a good babysitter when you think of the cost to your childs mental wellbeing, ability to communicate effectively, physical health, the list goes on. Indeed everything in moderation is a must. Food for thought............


what to do when you feel stuckDo you know when I first started to write, I had no idea where it was going but now looking back I see how I got my messages through to my kids.

For example
1. The bunch of unlikely forest animals that came together represent the diverse cross section of people my kids will meet in life, different personalities, problems etc
2. Owly the main character represents the inner wisdom of a child and about bringing out the best in themselves
3. Victor Vulture "appears" to be a bad guy but appearances can be deceptive and sometimes when we mess up there is a good and valid reason behind it
4. Magic Medicine Tree represent the healing power of nature and about looking after our environment and the world around us.
5. Spirit of the Forest represents the life force all around us and is an unseen spirit that guides and looks over the forest and all its inhabitants. It won't help unless asked!
6. The twist-little messages that teach something of value to kids and this is how the story in my childrens books comes together!



kiss Find the best times to really interact with your kids, to get into their headspace and to see what has shown up in their day or see what has been building up to an "event" in their life.

It can serve as a way to download whatever has been troubling them and to sort things out. Otherwise the chances are they will try to sort it out in their head when the lights go out and they may lie awake or pay you a visit in the erly hours saying they had a bad dream or can't sleep.

Sometimes reading stories can trigger something in a child that reminds them of an unresolved issue, or it may relax them enough that they thoughts come out in their own good time.

Even if things are okay, it is good to incorporate the following into your time with your child.

1. Tell them they are in a safe place where they will come to no harm. Some kids find it hard to switch off at night. Something may have happened and they feel threatened or unsure of themselves. Reminding them they are in a safe protected space is very important.

2. Tell them they are loved and that will never change except grow. Feeling loved does not come from the amount of material things you give to a child but comes from the presence of being their unconditionally for them and from forming a deep bond or connection with them. Sometimes you may use tough love but whatever lesson that a child will learn once it comes in a loving nurturing way, will ultimately have the desired effect.

3. Tell them that you are there for them no matter what happens, even if they are at fault or have done something they shouldn't have done. We all mess up and kids do test boundaries and push them every now and then. Its one way how they learn to interact with the world around them and see where and how they fit in. They are not at the stage where they can rationalize like adults and they do not have our experience to know what will most likely cause problems or more importantly the consequences of these problems. So it is important to help first before allocating blame! Solve the problem first then dissect and review afterwards. Easier said than done, I know!

10288799_838885396126226_7886228772885837026_n4. Tell them it is okay to ask for help or report something serious because that is the right thing to do. It is important to keep the channels of communication open no matter what happens so children feel they can approach with any troubes they are having. Imagine if the fear of punishment was worse than them confiding  their worries. They would feel helpless, trapped, isolated and alone. No-one wants this and no-one benefits either.

5. Tell them different things they did to make you proud and explain why. This is a great way to end the night,but can and should be done anytime, filling their thoughts with positivity, not bloated ego just positivity, there is a difference. Explaining what they did that was so wonderful, even small things is a good way of re-inforcing positive behaviours and outcomes and helps prioritize in a childs mind, more positive events to model. Orla Kelly

the introverts heartToday we are all guilty of feeling we need to fill our day with "To-Do" lists and then punish ourselves or feel bad when we don't accomplish everything we wanted to do.

The thing is, how many of the items on our list are critical, vital, absolutely necessary? The answer is that probably only a small few if at all!

We need to allow some down time into our to do list where we just give ourselves the gift of peace, solitude, quietness and reflective time instead of noise, chaos and hussle and bustle.

I found this picture and found it very good to reflect on. How many of these areas would you like to spend time in?

I know it is called the Introverts Heart but I wouldn't consider myself introverted but I do think the areas highlighted sound bliss.

When my kids are around, it is very busy and very noisy but at the same time that is okay too because I have some times in the day when they are not around, and so silence is my friend too when I am at home!

I find answers to all sorts of problems come from moments of silence. That doesn't mean I am sitting or lying down, I may be doing other things but in an atmosphere of quietness and eureka, a thought comes into my head. Thankfully a bad thought comes in to my head less and less so when a good thought or idea comes to me, thats great.

There are so many answers to questions right there inside of us. Often we don't think of asking, or don't trust our answers or ourselves and we can often spend time in the wrong places or consult the wrong sources for knowledge.

Not only does some down time give the body what it needs but it is also necessary for a healthy mind.Try turning off unneccessary backrground noises every once in a while. It may seem strange or lonely at first, but by doing it for some of the time, you will find it helpful and you will probably accomplish a lot more and sort out whatever is in your head that needs an answer!

Think about it for a minute. You go for a massage, facial, visit the steam room or sauna, talk a walk in the woods or whatever. Do you want to be bombarded with noise? No, this is not quality time and it takes from the experience of switching off and relaxing. The same can be done anywhere so try turning down or turning off, tuning out and letting go of noise and chaos. Orla Kelly



We have all been there, a point in our lives where we are unable to move forward, we don't want to go back but cannot create enough momentum or overcome the fear or what ever it is that is holding us back from moving forward with our lives. The above quote is so simple yet its powerfulness lies in its simplicity as anyone can relate to it. The good news is that the more you read it or learn it and repeat to yourself either out loud or in your head, or even write it down, the more it will make sense, the more it will stick with you.

The answer really is that you don't have to do everything right now and all together. That would be impossible. You cannot prioritize everything even if everything needs to get done. This will really keep you stuck in a rut.

We all think life rushes passed us and time files but does it really?

Look at nature, look at the sky, the waves, the animals. are they going around all freaked out, stressed, are clouds zooming past, are waves suddenly speeding up, are birds singing less because they have no time, not at all, nature is a great teacher and yes animals can be a lot wiser than us if you watch them. they can teach a lot about priorities and the waves and clouds simply go about doing what they do best and life continues as normal.

The same can be applied to anything and everything that needs to get done, one step at a time, set priorities fast without dwelling too much or you will never get going. What is the worst that can happen, you change the plan or you change course. That's fine and its also doable.


When thoughts come flooding to your mind, act as if you are a teacher.You know the troublemakers and the ones that should the loudest aren't always the ones that know what they are talking about, they may be just looking for attention, trying to distract or sabotage you.

Select the thought you want to listen to and act on it carefully, then the next and so on. If every thought is shouting for attention, there is too much noise and chaos and nothing gets done. The same applies for any harm done to you. Don't bunch all the negative things together. They are all not related and some really are only minor and although upsetting, won't affect you in the long term.

Anything else that has more significant consequences for you, again break them down and try to separate the person from the problem if it is a person that caused the problem and see what part of the problem you can tackle first. it is less emotional to deal with the problem than with the person who caused it and you will need to build up your emotional capacity and reserves to be able to deal with the person who caused the problem in the first place.-Orla Kelly


As a mum, I am always looking for ways to make parenting easier for myself. There are so many lessons I want to teach my kids, but of course they are not always willing to listen, or they think they know it all already, which can make my job as parent quite difficult at times. Finding books with moral stories for my kids is one way I can help reinforce any positive ideas and life skills in my kids, without them thinking I am being overbearing or suffocating.

Buying books with moral stories for kids or borrowing books with a positive content for children, is a good way of ensuring that, while they are reading, or while you are reading to them, they are being introduced to the right messages you want them to receive.

There are different themed books for different morals you would like for your child or some books have a number of morals and positive life skills for your kids. A child may not pick up the message the first time, or some messages may sink in a little or not at all, but don't get discouraged.

Reading with or to your child is a real positive use of your time together, and if your child is at an age where they will read the book for themselves, then they can take it in and process the content of the book in their own time.

kids imaginationIt is always good to check at some stage for understanding of the content. an example would be, "I wonder why the others thought that Victor Vulture was one of the bad guys" or how about "how did the magic medicine tree help the forest animals?" or "what did they learn from the magic medicine tree?" or "why do you think Owly wanted Cloud to make a list?" or "why did Cloud put all those things on her list?"

It is a good idea to read the book yourself also, so you know what messages are clearer and which are more subtle in the book, and often by asking the right question, you will get the right answer.

Depending on your childs age, they may not always understand your question or what you are trying to ask of them, so you may need to explain to them about what the story also teaches. An example would be "look how all the animals worked together and helped make the enchanted forest" or "see how much the animals care about the magic medicine tree, they made him well again" or "the spirit of the forest always seems to be around when the animals and the forest needs her help, yet they have never seen her".

They will then begin to look out for parts of the book that highlight what you said to them and it will all make sense. Do this for any book with a good moral story but even if you can't find one that addresses morals as such, just go for a book that is positive, inspiring and uplifting for your child. There are so many books that will have the opposite effect on your child and you will spend time trying to undo any harm caused.
As children grow, we want to instil positive qualities and life skills, but it does start with us and by introducing them to the right reading material at an early age, will help them in so many ways and in making the right decisions for them.- Orla Kelly

Yesterday  a rare opportunity came my way. I actually had time on my hands. Yes lots of time, but I couldn't think of a single thing to write about, and even then when I could think of what to write, I lost my words. Each sentence was a struggle, and I eventually gave up. Instead I stared out my window, which looks out onto a large grassed area where kids were playing. I watched them for a while, looked at te trees swaying in the breeze, looked at the cloud formation and simply accepted where I was in this point of time.

Sometimes the best thing we can do, is nothing at all, because in doing nothing, we are actually doing something. It is called down time and it is also a very useful time for the brain to re-charge, the body to rest and to simply quieten everything that needs to be quietened.

In the stillness, you also learn a lot about what works best for you. I now realise the best times for me to work, the best times to rest and the best times to plan what to do next.

When there are too many thoughts flooding my mind, its like trying to teach a class and all the kids are shouting "me, me me" trying to get my attention and I have no idea which one to select and I become disorientated, overwhelmed and frustrated.


Instead, there is great freedom and power by walking away from something and saying, "not now" to yourself and by doing something completely different.  Without thinking about what you had planned to do, it becomes easier to go back and start afresh. Its like taking a mental detox and that mental detox is different for different people. For me it can be doing some exercise or housework and that doesn't magically happen by itself yet.  It can be listen to music that fires you up or calms the spirits, it can be reading, a walk in nature or sitting in a quiet place. It doesn't matter what you do, once it takes you from where you are to where you want to be.

Of course, sometimes it really is down to discipline when you have writers block so if you find the above still doesn't work after trying a few times over a few different times and dates you plan to write, then it is a case of just knuckling down to a bit of self discipline, and saying, "I am giving myself 30 minutes (or whatever), and I need to write x words that are meaningful and make sense or, I need to come up with new concepts/ideas for my next task/project". Just sit down with a timer or some form of alarm, turn off all distractions and just make yourself do it. Even reward yourself afterards, if you need an additional incentive.

Sometimes it is down to how you feel, physically emotionally, mentally and spiritually as these all effect how and what you write, so if there are things going on that need to be addressed, try to come to some sort of resolution or they will keep cropping up and interfering with your work.

Post traumatic traumaWhy would anyone want to write about PTSD if you don't have it and if you are not a mental health professional? I have been asked this many times and yes thankfully to date I have never personally suffered from PTSD, but have witnessed others close to me who have suffered the devastating effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

It was never something I set out to do. One day I was watching the news on television and right into my home horrors from around the world were being broadcast right into my living room. I could see and hear everything going on at the time and all I kept thinking to myself was that if I found the images harrowing and what was happening, indescribable, what was it like for other human beings who were caught up in this suffering of an enormous scale. I could chose to turn off my television or not, but what choice did they have-none. it wasn't as simple as that and just because I could turn off the television, I could not turn off what they were going through.

I think after that, I was determined to write about PTSD and so the first book began. I called it Learning to Re-connect The Pieces Of A Life Shattered by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

After writing the first book, I felt I left out a very critical group of individuals, and they were the children.

Children being exposed to trauma within and outside the home. Children experiencing trauma directly or indirectly and how childrens abilities to process and respond to different types of trauma would influence this group of vulnerable individuals whose childhood was hijacked!

This of course led to book two which I called PTSD In Children Growing Up and Its Influences On Adult Life.

Will I add to the PTSD topic? Maybe or maybe not!

yMy 6yr old daughter has a stuffed toy owl whom she called Owly. To her, Owly has a real life with her and with us as a family. She is excited when we go anywhere because Owly gets to experience what we do as a family! Who am I to come between her and her wonderful imagination!

One night she had no more new stories to read and my son who is 9 said he would write her a story. He wrote about half a page before it was time for lights out but in that short piece of writing, I could see how important imagination and make believe is for children.

The story he started to write was about Owly and a butterfly. He didn't get to write too much but I promised him I would write an Owly story for the 2 of them to read for bedtime. They were happy with this and so the seed was planted for me writing childrens stories.

Owly features in all books but the story he started to write is only featured in the third book and where part of the story is about a butterfly needing new wings and having to travel to the rainbow to get them which is what he was starting to write about, so full credit goes to my 2 children who inspire me to see inside their minds and to re-live the wonder and imagination that a child experiences from the simplest of every day pleasures.

Not only is Owly the hero of the books but he also inspires others to be the very best they can be and draws out the real magic that surrounds us all and that can be called upon at all times when we ask and when we know where to look.