Why I became a teacher
5th March 2017
A day in a life
7th March 2017

Book review

Reviewer: Taryn Coutinho

Life Skill Tool for Teachers

Freeing Freddie- The Dream Weaver

Brent Feinberg is a dynamic young South African who is dedicated to making a positive impact on the world. He was born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa 26 years ago. Feinberg faced challenges within the schooling system: being a bright, gifted learner he never quite felt that the system supported his needs. Instead, it created a sense of anxiety and fear, which led him to learn about understanding the power of fear and how it has a negative effect on a person’s development and growth.

Feinberg has written a magical set of books that help learners, students and adults tackle and learn how to positively deal with their fear and to realise their dreams. Feinberg has been an integral part of the Tomorrow Trust (TT)’s journey — a nongovernmental organisation (NGO) that works exclusively with orphans and vulnerable children to provide integrated education and holistic support in a sustainable manner. It enables young learners to focus on their education and access opportunities they would otherwise be denied.

Book range

Through his exposure to the work of the TT, Feinberg found that many children and youth were working from a base of fear, and that this hampers their academic and self-growth. With these emotional challenges it is clear that practical tools are needed to support each individual on how to build skills to move forward. Thus, last year Feinberg launched his Freeing Freddie book range that works on multiple layers to help build an understanding on how to deal with issues of fear and how to build one’s dreams and goals.

Overcoming fears

The book is an enchanting story about the main character Freddie, who lives in a magical forest and becomes entangled in an old spider’s web. The old web that Freddie becomes entangled in is symbolic of his fears. The story then takes you on a journey as he meets a friendly giant spider – Mr Cotton – who becomes the boy’s teacher and guide, and helps him to overcome his fears.

Freddie learns to weave his own web of dreams and at the same time realises how we are all connected in some way, and that we all can make a positive impact on others and the world. This book is written in a style that helps children and adults gain insight into their own lives, fears and dreams through a charismatic and magical story. It is filled with simple methods of self-inquiry and brings joy to all those who read it and work with the activity book or workbook for older ages.

Generous donation

To date, Freeing Freddie has assisted 2 500 learners, students and adults both nationally and internationally. The book comes with a teacher’s manual detailing five lesson plans to make it easy to use by teachers, if requested. Feinberg has generously donated a large percentage back to TT to support their education programmes. When you buy this book, 70% of proceeds go back to the NGO.

Feinberg’s book range is made of three books:

  • Freeing Freddie Reader
  • Freeing Freddie Activity Book — This is fun-filled activity book that comes with 100 stickers and was implemented by the Tomorrow Trust’s teachers, who took the learners through the process of learning about fears and how to analyse them, as well as learning about compassion, love, forgiveness, gratitude and the power of dreaming through fun. It also includes such activities as colouring, making your own magical forest, understanding emotions, a dream box, creating a brave mask and making your very own Mr Cotton. This activity book shares the message that “we are all equal; we are all equally special and beautiful”, a message that orphaned and vulnerable learners don’t hear often.
  • Freeing Freddie – “A guide to realising your dreams” workbook — This is a comprehensive guide and as indicated earlier, was implemented by the teachers at the NGO to help children learn about their fears and other related themes.

Sedhoo Padayachee, a grade 10, 11 and 12 English teacher, said about the book: “The reader and the workbook are very professionally and impressively put together. The artwork complements the written content very well. The workbook certainly brings the reader alive. There are very valuable lessons for learners and teachers. There is great merit in what is being taught, and a book like this certainly can be used at schools, albeit as part of the Life Orientation syllabus.”

Finally, the lessons from the book have a profound impact in teaching young South Africans to deal with regressed fear that later manifests into anger and may result in harmful hate and suffering.

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