by Jill Seeney, illustrated by Rachel Fuller - £9.95 BAAF (2012)
paperback ISBN 13: 9781907585456 | ISBN 10: 1907585451
Rufus loved curling up in his favourite place and dreaming of pilchards. But it hadn’t always been like this... When Rufus was a kitten he lived with a different family who weren’t always kind. Sometimes they shouted at him. Sometimes he had no food to eat. Rufus still remembered those times and bad memories followed him everywhere...and there was no getting away from them. Would Rufus ever find a safe place where he could be cosy and calm and dream his dreams?
This colourful picture book for young children, aged 4-8 years old, explores the importance of feeling safe and banishing fears. Rufus the cat lives with a family who looks after him, feeds him his favourite foods and gives him lots of cuddles. He feels happy and safe, especially when he is lying on his favourite blue cushion. But he didn’t always feel this way. The family that Rufus used to live with were not kind to him at all. Thinking about his past makes him angry and sad and Rufus struggles to escape from his memories and find a safe place where he can just relax and be himself.
Change and transition, such as moving house, starting a new school or perhaps even leaving home, can cause confusion and uncertainty for very young children. If they have to move from one family to another, the change is often too big for them to fully comprehend in advance; no matter how thorough the preparation, the child still has to take a very big leap into the dark.
Concepts of “permanence” do not mean as much to young children, and for children who may have been hurt by previous families the key concern is safety. ‘Will I be safe this time?’ It takes time for children to trust enough to feel safe. Like Rufus, they have to discover a way to banish their fears, and like Rufus, they can be helped by finding “a safe place” of their own.
A Safe Place for Rufus is accompanied by comprehensive practice guidelines for social workers, foster carers and adoptive parents. They contain useful suggestions for questions and activities to encourage children to think about their own behaviour; talk about their own fears and bad memories; and identify their own safe places.
(Price & availability last checked: August 2019)
In booklists: Adoption & Fostering - Books for Children, Fiction - Picture Story Books, Abuse & Safety - Books for Children, In categories: Childrens & Teenage Books, Children & Young People, Fiction, Violence & Abuse,