1st Edition

Helping Children to Thrive Following Adverse Childhood Experiences ‘Maya’s ACE Adventures!’ Storybook and Adult Guide

    132 Pages 53 Color Illustrations
    by Speechmark

    This sensitively written and beautifully illustrated storybook and guide provides children (aged 7+) and the adults who support them with the resources to understand Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and demonstrate how speaking with children can foster healing and recovery from trauma.

    Maya is a young girl who lives with her mum, her mum’s boyfriend and her pet hamster, Harry. She loves learning about space, playing football and drawing, but often feels very anxious at home and school due to the ACEs she has been exposed to. In the story, Maya is able to overcome her ACEs with the help of a variety of protective factors in her life – and with three fantastical adventures she embarks upon with Harry, that give her additional tools and keepers to use in her everyday life.

    The set provides children with the opportunity to comprehend and safely express their feelings, and the adults who read alongside them with the guidance to become a sensitive, active listener, able to support the child’s efforts to disclose and manage their fears. The accompanying adult guide contains discussion prompts and practical communication strategies, as well as an examination and critique of the ACEs framework and an exploration of the developing brain.

    This set is a vital tool for teachers, parents, foster carers, social workers and other professionals who are supporting children affected by ACEs and trauma. Used with a trusted adult, this set enables children to talk about their experiences and express themselves safely and confidently.


    Dr Mine Conkbayir is an award-winning author, trainer and researcher passionate about bridging the knowledge gap between neuroscience and the EY sector. A key contributor to the Birth to Five Matters non-statutory guidance for the Early Years Foundation Stage and designer of the first-ever neuroscience-informed qualifications for the EY sector, her latest award-winning book, Early Childhood and Neuroscience: Theory, Research and Implications for Practice, is now in its second edition.

    "This book is for any adult seeking some kind of template for communicating with a child who, through no fault of their own, is having to cope with a number of obstacles… Problems can be overcome Mine’s book tells us: with kindness, listening and talisman-like Keepers that remind us to be kind, talk to each other and to have empathy." - Sir Lenny Henry, CBE

    "A much-needed resource to support parents, caregivers and other adults around a child experiencing adversity. Often, adults have a fear of speaking to a child about their experiences, not knowing what to say or how to be or whether they might make the situation worse. The storybook and its Guide scaffold and hold the adult safely, helping a child to reflect on their own thoughts and feelings whilst in the safety of story. Exploring the emotions and feelings of Maya, with a trusted adult will undoubtedly help the child to make sense of their own experiences. What is shareable is bearable!" - Julie Harmieson, Trauma-Informed Schools UK (TISUK) Director of Education and National Strategy

    "Children’s lives are full of big challenges that adults often don’t see. Hearing stories about how other children handle their worries prompts creative solutions and hope. This story of a little girl named Maya and her pet hamster Harry is a story full of those hopeful solutions. We are treated to an adventure in Maya’s secret dreamland where she discovers how she can tackle her own worries and who she can get help from. She shows us the importance of trust, talking and breathing slowly. I love that award-winning author, Dr Mine Conkbayir has put her knowledge of neuroscience to use in a brand-new way. We could all do with more of the wisdom Maya gains in her dreams. We need more stories like this one – because it boosts insights for children and adults alike." - Suzanne Zeedyk, trauma specialist, founder of Connected Baby and child psychologist

    "Dr Mine Conkbayir’s book is an incredible, magical insight into some of the complex emotions many young children and their families can experience when life is a little confusing. There is a purity and honesty of both the storytelling and the characters of Maya and Harry. Their partnership is heartfelt and warm.  

    You can't help but feel you are on their journey as the story evolves in the different worlds. The impact is quite profound. You start to relate and want to understand and learn more of how children feel in times of trouble which is very powerful.

    You finish the story on a high with a reality of how sharing our feelings, being kind and talking can only inspire others.

    Can’t wait for the next chapter!" - Paul Adams, foster carer and POP Charity CEO