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In my work as a counsellor, there are many resources that I use to help clients work through their problems. Interestingly, the resources that people find most helpful are not the thick, wordy text books outlining the latest research on mental health or relationships, but simple books with few words and many pictures. Books that look like children’s books, but are very much for adults.

Jo Hilder’s latest work Small and Pure: A Cautionary Tale fits neatly into this category. A simple story threaded through pages of beautiful artwork and imagery, with a theme that reaches into the soul of the adult reader.

The story follows the life of a small girl named ‘Small and Pure’ who wrestles with the influence of an unseen character called ‘What She Was Not’. Questions of identity are raised as the story unfolds and the climax of the tale leaves the reader pondering those same questions about their own life.

Questions of identity come up many times in the counselling room. Work, relationships, family, and finances have a habit of draining the small and pure joy out of life. We don’t feel like we are in control.  Something that we once had seems to be lost. We don’t feel complete. We hurt.

Small and Pure: A Cautionary Tale will not answer these questions for readers, but perhaps will provide enough motivation to rediscover – and love – that part of us we thought was lost.