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Tracey Learns to Lead- Supporting 'Bossy' Kids to Become Leaders!

Written by Javeria Fatima Zaidi, illustrated by Zainab Jehangir.

I'm particularly excited to share this children's book with you all, as it was written by a student on my Storytellers Academy course. Since completing the course Javeria has gone on to self-publish two of her wonderful therapeutic stories, and I am very proud to have worked with her and supported her on her journey.

This wonderful book follows the story of Tracey, a little Puppy who has lots of great ideas and loves being in charge. However, the story shows how she can struggle to channel this appropriately which upsets her friends and means she comes across as 'bossy'.

Tracey is so keen for others to go along with her great ideas and she gets very frustrated when the other puppies won't listen or do as she says. This causes some real problems, as she and her friends end up feeling upset and annoyed. But Tracey doesn't MEAN to upset anyone, she is simply excited about her ideas and so it hurts when she feels she is rejected.

The book is written with real sensitivity, without any blaming or shaming, which I love. It's so important to be able to support children to build on their skills and avoid shaming them for the areas they are struggling with, as this can just exacerbate the issue.

In the story Tracey's dad is able to provide a warm, nurturing and non-judgemental space for Tracey to express herself, which is a great example of supportive parenting and a wonderful reminder for parents and caregivers of how to simply 'be' with children, accepting their emotions completely before moving on to problem solving. Tracey's dad is then able to gently guide her to see the difference between being a Boss, and being a Leader.

By the end of the story Tracey learns the importance of compromise, listening to others and finding ways to incorporate different ideas, to make her a strong leader AND a good friend.

This is a wonderful story to share with children who have been labelled as 'bossy', it gently expresses the emotions of all involved and guides the child to see their 'bossiness' as a source of strength WHEN it is channelled in the right way.

Activity Idea

Materials needed:

  • Card

  • Scissors

  • Glue or sellotape

  • Lollypop stick or pipe cleaner

  • Coloured pens/pencils

  • Optional: sequins, pompoms, glitter etc.

  • Examples of bossy behaviour


1. Help the child to create their own 'Leader Crown'. They can cut out and decorate a strip of card, before taping it to a lolly pop stick or pipe cleaner.

2. Next share some different statements or scenarios that display bossy behaviour, or ask the child to come up with their own examples- real or imagined!

3. Encourage the child to think of what a leader could do or say in that same situation.

4. When they come up with a great example of being a leader, they can 'put on' their Leader Crown! (Alternatively, you could share examples of both bossy behaviour AND leader behaviour and have the child 'put on' the crown for leadership and 'take it off' for bossiness.)


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