Most children would say that the ocean is blue, but when Bowen looks at it he sees white where the waves crash, deep black on the ocean floor, and green when there’s a storm. He wonders whether fireflies are hot, and notices how the brushstrokes of a painting tell a story too. Bowen sees the world differently to other children and struggles to fit in. How will he find his place in the world?
The Incredibly Busy Mind of Bowen Bartholomew Crisp follows the life of Bowen through school and beyond. At every stage, he finds that he doesn’t fit in with his peers, but this eventually becomes his greatest strength. Through thinking differently, he is able to solve problems that no one else could. After all, just because something can’t be mended the same as it was, why can’t it be mended differently?
A very personal story, Bowen’s tale is sensitively written and full of colourful, lively illustrations. It aims to offer hope to children who haven’t yet found their place in life by showing them that being ‘normal’ might just be overrated, and that to find success in life we should be valuing our differences.
Children, carers, teachers and psychologists alike will find inspiration in this tale of embracing diversity and engaging our full potential. It is a vital reminder that the strength and uniqueness of every child should be encouraged to help them find their place in the world and flourish!
Paul Russell is a primary teacher, artist, playwright and children’s author of Grandma Forgets and My Storee, among others, with Grandma Forgets making the CBCA list of notable picture books in 2018. He is passionate about children’s literacy and building young appetites for the written word. He has a daughter who has worries of her own and he wrote her this story so they could talk about worries together.
Nicky Johnston is an educator, speaker and author/illustrator of children’s books. She enjoys every aspect of creating books for kids, especially illustration. Nicky’s illustration style is often described as whimsical, emotive, soft and expressive. She is passionate about promoting emotional resilience in children and raising awareness of mental health issues. Nicky’s love of teaching sees her busy with school visits to share her journey of becoming an author and illustrator, and to show children the process of creating a book using excerpts of her work. She also presents at workshops and conferences. As well as teaching, Nicky works from home writing and illustrating in her art studio, and has contributed to 16 books including At the End of Holyrood Lane(EK Books, 2018), The Fix-It Man (EK Books 2017), Saying Goodbye to Barkley (EK Books, 2019), The Incredibly Busy Mind of Bowen Bartholomew Crisp (with Paul Russell, 2021, EK Books) and Upside-Down Friday (EK Books, 2021).