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The Fix-It Man


Teacher’s Notes available here.

It’s handy having a dad who can fix just about anything. A young girl believes her father is the king of fixing things. But following the death of her mother, she discovers that broken hearts are not as easy to repair as damaged toys and cracked teapots.

Together, she and her father find a way to glue back the pieces of her lives. The Fix-It Man is a poignant picture book that explores how a child can cope with the loss of a parent (in this case, the young girl’s mother). Repairing damaged emotions is not as straightforward as gluing a broken kite back together or sewing up a torn toy.

And grief affects all members of a family, with each responding in their own way to the loss. By sticking with her father, the young girl is able to strengthen her resilience and ability to cope with one of life’s harshest experiences.

The author was encouraged to seek publication for this story after receiving the endorsement of several grief counsellors who work with children and who recognised the need for a book such as this.

SPECIFICATIONS: Hardback | 245 x 255 mm | 32 Pages |


Dimity Powell has trekked through many parts of the world and crossed several of its oceans, collecting story ideas along the way. She loves transforming these into kids’ books because, deep down, she’d love to be a kid again. When she’s not writing stories, she’s reviewing books or acting as a Books in Homes role model — or eating her body weight in ice-cream.

Nicky Johnston is an educator, speaker and author/illustrator of children’s books. She is passionate about promoting emotional resilience in children and raising awareness of mental health issues. Her love of teaching sees her kept busy with school visits and presenting at workshops and conferences.

Herald Sun/Leader Community Newspaper
“Langwarrin illustrator Nicky Johnston’s book The Fix-It Man helps parents, children deal with loss” – Interview with Nicky Johnston. Click here to read in full.

Pinerolo Newsletter, May 2017
“Dads are really handy and the loving relationship in this book is well described. Together, the girl and her dad fix everything. Appealing, loving illustrations complete the picture.”

Pass It On, March 2017
“This is a truly moving story. Every word is perfect”

Hip Little One, March 2017
“Written with great compassion by Dimity Powell and beautifully illustrated by Nicky Johnston ‘The Fix-It Man’ is a perfect read for families going through a difficult time of grieving”

Gold Coast Bulletin, March 2017
“Compelling Children’s Book”

Creative Kids Tales, March 2017
“This story will pull at the heart strings and prompt conversations otherwise hidden beneath broken hearts.”

Jnr Bookworms, March 2017
“Teachers agreed this would be a wonderful resource for a child dealing with loss with its gentle approach.”

NC Teacher Stuff, March 2017
“Achingly beautiful, The Fix-It Man is a gentle touch that can help children and adults deal with the loss of a loved one … With examples like the patching of a teddy bear starting the mending of two hearts, this book will lead to important discussions about how people move on in a time of loss.”

In The Good Books, February 2017
“a fantastic book for those wanting to help teach their child about loss. “

The Bottom Shelf, February 2017
“This is a poignant story of loss and one that will resonate with many children who have lost a parent or other loved one.  With its gentle text and soft palette, even though it is sad it is not gloomy because the love between this family oozes from the page and from that, the hope is tangible.”

The Bookseller, December 2016
“a poignant story of bereavement, this is an excellent starting point for exploring emotions of grief and loss with young children.”

Scholastic, December 2016
“We all think it’s lovely – the way in which death and grief is dealt with is gentle and not overpowering.”


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Sally-Anne McCormack, Melbourne-based Child & Adolescent Psychologist and author (

“The Fix-It Man is a story that reflects the challenges of losing a loved one, acknowledging that there is a pain which cannot be fixed, but also acknowledging that with love and support, a child can move forward after a major loss.  Many people avoid the topic of death, but in this book it is addressed respectfully and sensitively, and I believe that this will be a wonderful resource for those helping children deal with grief and loss.”

Deirdre Hanna, Founder and Board Director – Hopewell Hospice Services Inc. and Paradise Kids.

“Beautifully written and illustrated, The Fix-It Man is a valuable tool for educators, parents, schools and all parents. It shows metaphorically and symbolically that through persevering and getting on with ordinary life tasks, even through the harsh reality of loss, a deeper level of love and understanding can emerge. This is a wonderful book also to benefit men as role models for grieving children, as it shows that both task AND relationship are powerful healers in the grieving process.

Over the past twenty years Paradise Kids has helped children ‘heal the heartache’ through psycho-education about the grief process through art, story-telling, movement, music and literature. We are excited to add this deeply touching story to our resources to help grieving children heal.”