Roll Up, Roll Up! Penny Harris’ Guide to Teaching Empathy and Responsibility with Ginnie and Pinney

We are delighted to welcome back Penny Harris, author and knowledgeable expert in teaching social and emotional skills to children in the early years. You may remember our wonderful ‘Ginnie & Pinney, Learn & Grow’ book campaign where we discovered the fun and value from the first two titles in the series. It is with delight to introduce the next two books; Movie Mayhem and Roll Up, Roll Up, Clean Up! Penny Harris is here to impart her understandings on how these picture books can be utilised in early childhood settings to teach empathy and responsibility. Thanks, Penny! 🙂

Happily, two more books from the ‘Ginnie & Pinney’ ‘Learn & Grow’ series for children 3-8 are being released this month; ‘Movie Mayhem’, a story about ‘saying sorry’ and ‘Roll Up, Roll Up, Clean Up’ a story about ‘taking responsibility’.


Do little children understand the concept of ‘saying sorry’? Why do some children find it difficult to apologise? Is it more important to ‘feel sorry’ or to ‘say sorry’?

In the book ‘Movie Mayhem’ Tao Tiger gets very cross with his friends when they disrupt his peace and quiet and yelling at Ginnie Giraffe, he realises he needs to apologise.

What is probably more important than ‘saying sorry’ is to actually ‘feel sorry.’ This requires a level of empathy that some children may understand intuitively whilst others need a helping hand. This is where a book such as ‘Movie Mayhem’ can help adults explain empathy to their child and discuss the concept of feeling sorry and saying sorry.

When Tao’s friends burst into Tao’s house uninvited, Tao is rightfully annoyed, but do the friends apologise for the disruption? Should they have?

It is a good investigative question to ask your child or children to think about whether there is a right course of action when someone does something to upset another and whether these actions might require an apology.

When Tao finally loses his temper and yells as Ginnie, who is the only one sensitive to Tao’s need for quiet, everyone is very upset, particularly Ginnie. Leaving Tao to think about his outburst the friends continue their fun at Pinney’s house. But Ginnie does not feel like joining in. Tao, finally on his own, is not enjoying the peace and quiet any longer. He is feeling too guilty and is remorseful about losing his temper and yelling at Ginnie.

Here is a good opportunity to talk about ‘remorse’ and how Tao is now thinking about Ginnie and how his yelling has upset her. As a result of putting himself in Ginnie’s shoes, Tao says sorry to Ginnie. Is Tao being empathetic? What does being empathetic mean? Does Ginnie forgive Tao? Does she have to accept his apology? Ask your child what they would do in similar circumstance.


Is it difficult to get your child or children to clean up their mess? How can you make it more fun? Can we explain what it means to take responsibility for something?

In ‘Roll Up, Roll Up, Clean Up’ the koala siblings, Kevin, Kelly and Kylie are making a big mess of their treehouse, refusing to clean it up. The smell is so bad their friends decide to tell the koalas they need to clean up. Here is a dilemma the friends discuss; is it right for them to interfere by telling the koalas they need to clean up? Ask your child what they would do.

After much discussion the friends decide to intervene. The Koalas blame each other for the mess avoiding responsibility but when the friends offer help the koalas get involved. But have they really learnt a lesson? Will they take responsibility in the future?

This is a difficult topic and one I have struggled with, with my own children; not always successfully!

What can we do to encourage children to take responsibility for their actions? Telling your child they are doing a ‘good job’ and asking them how they feel when you do so, is a great way to give them a sense of pride.

In ‘Roll Up, Roll Up, Clean Up’ the friends take responsibility for the koalas’ mess. This is a good discussion point about whether it is right to take responsibility for others or only for yourself. What would your child do?


It is amazing to hear what children think about these complex issues and a little guidance from our stories will help them understand the themes of ‘saying sorry’ and ‘taking responsibility’ in a humorous and sensitive way.

In this uncertain world of social isolation children need both reassurance and opportunities to develop positive social and emotional skills. Every relatable book opens discussion, promotes personal reflection and every Ginnie & Pinney book includes a video to reinforce these understandings!

Visit the Ginnie & Pinney website to view all the titles in the series and for a range of resources.

Ginnie & Pinney are available to purchase through Big Sky Publishing.


#BookReview: Not Too Far From My Back Door by Tania Louise Smith

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Not Too Far From My Back Door, Tania Louise Smith (author), Archv Art (illus.), Tania Louise Smith Publishing, November 2019.


An empowering self discovery book for big and little feelings experienced by little and big people, heard through the voices of mother nature.


Melodic and expressive illustrations pair with the richly meaningful and lyrical text to share a sensitive story of heightened emotions within the vast beauty of mother nature and the depths of one’s heart.

Told through a first-person narration, a child comes to realise that an inner strength for coping with big feelings is always held within – with the help of the whisperings of the surrounding landscape. ‘Not Too Far From My Back Door’ is a beautiful metaphor for young readers to ponder, and to understand that help, guidance, security and comfort is never far away. Author and experienced social worker, Tania Louise Smith, captivates and encourages reflective interpretation with her poetic-like text and her underlying messages of hope, resilience, empowerment and exploration of one’s emotional growth. The vivid language and quintessence of nature enhance the emotions being reinforced and soothed. ‘”Bask in my warmth, little one,” sweetly sounded the sun. “I am here to give you light on a shadow filled day.’

The mixed illustrative techniques by Archv Art feature brush strokes, spatters and daubs; energetic but at the same time, loose and undefined, emanating a calming tone and with an openness that fills the pages and leaves room for the text. Colours are intense and reflect variances across natural landscapes, just as emotions vary in intensity, too. From the ‘soothing sounds’ of a turquoise wind sky, to the ‘glistening glow’ of a dandelion yellow field, and the ‘beautiful bliss’ of aquamarine waters. These places aptly reflect an atmosphere to refresh and recharge.

These descriptive, alliterative, playful yet gentle phrases alongside the contemplative pictures allows young readers opportunity to process and appreciate the world around them. Sharing the book between children and caregivers provides ample space for discussion about meaningful and sensitive topics such as one’s place in the world, an environmental focus, and mindfulness / mental health strategies surrounding managing big emotions and difficult life circumstances.

Not Too Far From My Back Door is a visually stunning and thoughtful, tender tale representative of the power of courage to reach out, as well as within. It also acknowledges the validity of a child’s feelings – big or small. Children from age four will find themselves through exploration of the beauty in the world, within the book, and within their own minds and hearts.

Review by Romi Sharp

Follow Tania Louise Smith at the following links:


Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Not Too Far From My Back Door is available to purchase at Tania Louise Smith’s store.

A #BookGiveaway for Big and Little People!

Click here to go in the running to WIN a copy of the stunning Not Too Far From My Back Door.

Experience all the emotions with Tania Louise Smith and her stunning picture book, Not Too Far From My Back Door, with special appearances at the following media sources…


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Special Ginnie & Pinney Book Readings with Penny Harris

#ginnieandpinney #bookcampaign #booksontourpr #day4

We have some very special book reading videos presented by author Penny Harris, modelling the effective use and questioning techniques when reading the Ginnie & Pinney books to young children. And the super cute finger puppets help add to the fun, too!

So, sit back in a comfy seat and enjoy these wonderful stories! 

First up, it’s 3, 2, 1, Here I Come: A story about Fairness

Next, let’s listen to Pinney the Winner: A story about Selflessness

Available to purchase at Big Sky Publishing| Booktopia (3, 2, 1, Here I Come) | Booktopia (Pinney the Winner)

Visit Ginnie & Pinney at the website:

You’re a Winner! Ginnie & Pinney #BookGiveaway!
Enter here for your CHANCE to WIN the PAIR of gorgeous Ginnie & Pinney books.

Discover the story behind the Ginnie & Pinney stories with Penny Harris and Winnie Zhou, with special appearances at the following media sources…

Subscribe at Books On Tour PR & Marketing to stay in the loop.

#BookReview: Ginnie & Pinney Book 1 and Book 2 by Penny Harris and Winnie Zhou

#ginnieandpinney #bookcampaign #booksontourpr #day2


Ginnie & Pinney ‘Learn and Grow’: 3, 2, 1, Here I Come. A story about Fairness, Penny Harris (author), Winnie Zhou (illus.), Big Sky Publishing, July 2020.


Playing Hide-and-Seek is Ginnie’s favourite game.

But Ginnie has a problem. She is very bad at hiding and is always found first. So when Ginnie disappears and her friends can’t find her, they are worried.

Where is Ginnie?

Is Ginnie being fair to her friends?


Ginnie & Pinney ‘Learn and Grow’: Pinney the Winner. A story about Selflessness, Penny Harris (author), Winnie Zhou (illus.), Big Sky Publishing, July 2020.


It is sports day and Pinney is determined to win a chocolate medal.

But when his close friend Ginnie has a fall, Pinney has to make a decision. Will he stop and help Ginnie or continue on to win the last race?

Is winning that important?

What will Pinney do?



The Ginnie & Pinney eight-part set of books for increasing empathy and emotional intelligence in children are exactly what our younger generation need growing up today. The characters, including Ginnie Giraffe, Pinney ‘Potamus and their friends, are the ideal role models for empowering children to develop strong values and life skills to be able to respond in ethical and moral ways when faced with a range of social and emotional situations. The animated characters are visually-pleasing, amiable and diverse; apt for engaging children universally, who would be able to see themselves in them as they navigate a range of play and personal interactions.

Author Penny Harris and illustrator Winnie Zhou have ticked all the boxes when it comes to character development, theoretical underpinnings, creativity, and audience engagement; vital attributes when developing an innovative and award-winning series such as Ginnie & Pinney. Their groundwork, carefully considered, language-based and fun storylines in large visual format hit the mark for presentation to children in the early years, neatly accompanied by lively animated videos, finger puppets and comprehensive teaching notes to encourage adult-child discussions. Developed in Australia and China, the set of books also include a Mandarin Chinese counterpart, with plans to be released worldwide. An incredible resource that definitely deserves its recognition and use in all home and early learning settings around the globe!

In 3, 2, 1, Here I Come, Ginnie wants to play Hide-and-Seek. It’s her favourite game, but some of her friends don’t think she’s good at it. And in the first round, Ginnie is the first to be found. Desperate to try again, Ginnie comes up with a plan so that her friends will never find her… but searching, and waiting to be found, is no longer fun. Through the gentle, explanatory narrative and speech bubbles, readers gain a clear sense of how each character thinks and feels, and are guided through the problem in a positive and easily accessible manner. At each point in the narrative there are opportunities for adults to ask questions and allow children to respond with their own analysis, predictions and reflections. And given the familiarity of the scenario, such as a game of hide-and-seek, this is an experience that most children will be approaching Ginnie’s, and her friends’, situation with prior knowledge. The themes are subtly woven in to the playful storyline; primarily, what makes a fair game, but also not casting assumptions of a person’s ability, giving others a go, and being assertive (but also fair!). All round, perfectly simple, age-appropriate and visually eye-catching to attract, excite and incite deep contemplation in young children from as early as three years of age.

Pinney the Winner also sets the scene in a universally familiar experience of racing on ‘sports day’. Ginnie is not confident, but Pinney is absolutely determined to win a chocolate medal. After many trials and tribulations, it finally looks as if Pinney might just win the pogo stick race… until his long-necked friend has a big tumble and hurts her knees. How will this story end? The clean lines, clear facial expressions and definitive pastel colours on white backgrounds, together with speech and thought bubbles, help children identify the context of the situations, and how to respond appropriately even if the thinking process may not reflect a kind or fair attitude. For example, Pinney tells Ginnie he wanted to help her, but in his mind, he still would’ve wanted to win a race. In the end, though, a positive message with fitting behaviour is left for readers to ponder. Complete with character profiles and links and images to learn about the whole series, Pinney the Winner: A story about selflessness shares its complete regard and consideration of both its audience and the characters within.

The Ginnie & Pinney books by Penny Harris and Winnie Zhou are superbly characterised by diverse, perfectly imperfect personalities and familiar issues to navigate, with the ability of a ubiquitous influence across early childhood settings all over the world. This series is invaluable as a resource for building foundations for sound emotional, social and ethical development. Readers from age three to eight will simply be ‘won over’ with every run, time and time again.

Review by Romi Sharp.

“Ginnie & Pinney is supported by much evidence in its reasoning, particularly this from the Harvard Graduate School of Education which states, in its Making Caring Common project that ‘Empathy is at the heart of what it means to be human. It’s a foundation for acting ethically, for good relationships of many kinds, for loving well, and for professional success. And it’s key to preventing bullying and many other forms of cruelty.’ (, 2018).”


More information about the award-winning Ginnie & Pinney series as selected by the HundrED organisation 2019 can be found here.

Available to purchase at Big Sky Publishing| Booktopia (3, 2, 1, Here I Come) | Booktopia (Pinney the Winner)

$5 from every book set will be donated to WIRES and Animals Australia.

Visit Ginnie & Pinney at the website:

You’re a Winner! Ginnie & Pinney #BookGiveaway!
Enter here for your CHANCE to WIN the PAIR of gorgeous Ginnie & Pinney books.

Discover the story behind the Ginnie & Pinney stories with Penny Harris and Winnie Zhou, with special appearances at the following media sources…

Subscribe at Books On Tour PR & Marketing to stay in the loop.