A Story about Self Belief for Children

The Modest Tortoise & the Horrible Hare: Child Counsellor Releases Therapeutic New Book to Boost Self-Belief & Confidence in Children

John Mill’s ‘The Modest Tortoise and the Horrible Hare: Homework, Bullies and the Secret to School Survival’ puts a compelling new spin on Aesop’s timeless ‘The Tortoise and the Hare’ fable in a way that combats low self-esteem and self-worth in modern children. Through a powerful story and a series of therapeutic questions, children can learn to embrace the high confidence they were born with and use it to triumph throughout life. Mill himself never really knew where he fitted in and after a colourful past, turned his own life around to become a renowned child counsellor and hypnotherapist, he is confident no child has to suffer at the hands of societal/peer pressure.A Story about Self Belief for Children

For almost 3000 years, Aesop’s ‘The Tortoise and the Hare’ has epitomized the importance of understanding that, no matter one’s starting block in life, great things are never unachievable. It’s a message that transposes perfectly to the modern child born into a world of societal pressure to be “perfect”, a fierce bullying epidemic and demands that make many youngsters feel that they’re simply not enough.

Having worked with thousands of young children through his work as a counsellor and hypnotherapist, John Mill knows that every child is perfect just the way they are and, if they believe in themselves, there is nothing they cannot emerge victorious from. In a wholly-unique new project, Mill has taken Aesop’s fable and adapted it into a life-changing children’s book.

‘The Modest Tortoise and the Horrible Hare: Homework, Bullies and the Secret to School Survival’ has the ability to grab any child’s attention before society skews their perception of their own self-worth and teach them to live with abundant confidence.


A colourful, heart-warming tale based on the classic fable in a modern day school setting. We follow the story of Modest Tortoise who feels different from the other children at school. He is shorter, his skin a different colour and he has a hard shell for a coat that he can’t take off even in summer. He is every one of us at our most vulnerable, thinking we are not enough. Horrible Hare is the cool kid in school, the one we all wanted to be but he is devious, manipulative and ultimately a bully. The book touches on bullying, self-esteem and confidence and the last pages are filled with open therapeutic questions so that a parent, grandparent or teacher can explore with the child how the story made them feel and whether any parts of the story touched them based on their own lives. We are all born perfect with great self-value and confidence but school life, negative adults and early messages we are told change us and make us question our abilities.

“This book is the complete package; a stunningly-illustrated story for children that also includes a message that could potentially change their lives,” explains Mill, who perfectly demonstrates the power of self-confidence, rising from his days selling ‘bootleg’ copies of the latest films at markets and living hand to mouth to become a respected counsellor. “After the story I present a series of therapeutic questions that adults can discuss with children to further explore the story, their own lives and ultimately guide them through a bold journey of learning to believe in themselves and their abilities.”A Story about Self Belief for Children

Continuing, “The problem is that we live in a world where children are taught to not speak out, to accept what society throws at them and still somehow try to find the space to forge their own success. As you can imagine, this leaves many children feeling like they’re not enough, evidenced through the hundreds of calls I took during my time at Childline from youngsters at breaking point and face to face in my daily practise. This book is about teaching them that they possess all they need to be great and that their voice is as important to the world as anyone else’s. With the story and its follow-up questions working together, I firmly believe this book can mould any child into a person that is brimming with confidence and ready to take on the world with gusto.”

‘The Modest Tortoise and the Horrible Hare: Homework, Bullies and the Secret to School Survival’, from Matador, is available now: http://amzn.to/1YPk181.

About the Author:

John is a passionate hypnotherapist and counsellor who worked for 3 years in Harley St and now runs a very busy practise in Surrey. In the early days John trained in telephone counselling children at Childline’s London office and during his weekly voluntary shift counselled over 400 children. Children that rang often discussed bullying as well as other problems and there were a few calls during this time where children had to be talked out of hurting themselves, suicide in some cases. These calls struck a chord with John. John later trained for 3 years at university studying hypnotherapy, psychotherapy and counselling. He has since helped literally thousands of clients make empowering life changes. John also has written 5 other children’s books covering bereavement, being disabled, sibling rivalry and more.

 Thoughts on The Modest Tortoise and The Horrible Hare

I found this to be a delightful, well-illustrated and well-told story. I felt empathy for the tortoise and even recognised in myself times when I have identified with him. I also saw people I have let treat me like the Hare – and through the story I could see that it is the “Hares” and not the “tortoises” of this world who should feel bad. I think it is a great way to build self-esteem and such a short story that it would not take much time up to read (and talk about) the important messages often. The book suggests that it can be read by those ages 7+ alone but I feel that this book warrants time together – especially if it does bring to the surface any issues that may need resolving.

ISBN: 978-1-78589-015-4





I received a free copy of the book for purposes of review. All opinions are my own.