Story Book 1
The New Playground
Story Book 2
The Four Square Challenge
Story Book 3
Be Wise Story Book Lesson Plans
Classroom resources to help kids develop social skills that foster safety and respect.
Thoughtfully designed teacher-led classroom learning and activities that are age-appropriate, featuring activity sheets, printables, and role-play scenarios.
Supporting the next generation
Our story books form a critical part of our Be Wise Education program by introducing children to our important messages of Be Wise, think carefully and act kindly. It is very important that from the earliest possible age, children are taught and learn to understand that physical aggression is never okay.
Story Books Bundle
Buy your story books today
The Pat Cronin Foundation story books are available from our online shop for $20 each, or just $50 for all three in the Story Books Bundle. Schools can contact us for an extra 20% discount code.
Extend the learning with tailored activities
Author Maureen Hyland is a primary school teacher with a wealth of experience in educating young children. In fact, Maureen even taught Pat many years ago. As well as capturing the important lessons in these stories, Maureen has prepared a series of activities to complement each book and help children engage with the important messages they deliver. View the individual book pages in the Shop to see the activities.
Pat Cronin Foundation Story Books Launch
A boy with little spikes of blonde hair, eyes that sparkled with curiosity and the cheekiest of smiles—that’s the image of Pat that warms me; that breaks me; that inspires me. Pat was 5 years old when he started attending the school I taught at. I first met him in the playground, dressed in his blue and yellow uniform; this happy, caring, fun-filled little boy seemed ready to take every day of life in his stride—and he did.
While these stories are fictional, I have drawn on my knowledge of Pat, his personality and his life, and included some features that reflect the young man being honoured in these books. Throughout the series of books, I have used the name Patch for the main character as this was one of Pat’s nicknames. Another of Pat’s nicknames, bestowed upon him by his football coach, was Skipper. The owl in the story, a creation of Pat’s, has been honoured with the same nickname. The colours of the school and football uniforms were worn by Pat. Every word in these books is dedicated primarily to Pat, but also to his parents Matt and Robyn, his sister Emma and brother Lucas who have vowed to ensure Pat will always be remembered. Inspired by a beautiful image every day—what a privilege this has been for me.
— Maureen Hyland
Message from the Cronin Family
A huge thanks goes out to all involved in bringing these books to life including our author Maureen Hyland, the illustrator Bruce Rankin, the passionate team of volunteers from Pearson Publishing including Casey McGrath, Anne Donald, Michelle Thomas, Lauren Smith, Alicia Dudley, Kerry Nagle, Rebecca Harris, Sophie Sirninger-Rankin, Benjamin Harris and Jennifer Johnston.
Thanks also to Keenan Archer and his team at Minuteman Press Abbotsford for the printing of the books.
Finally, let’s always remember the reason for why the Pat Cronin Foundation exists and that is for Pat.
Together we can end the Coward Punch.
— Matt, Robyn, Emma and Lucas
Story books reviews
I highly recommend this series to primary school teachers, librarians and parents. They are a valuable tool to use and will significantly alter the approaches we can take to manage a situation from a student, teacher and parent perspective. Most appealing is that the main character involved in each scenario would go home having completed full circle. They are not ‘in trouble’. They are calmly led through a process of speaking, evaluating and accepting the situation. Most importantly, growing as a person from it to become informed, stronger and resilient. The poster in each story is a wonderful thread that blends into the page but is brought to the forefront when needed. The balance of text and illustrations are combined perfectly.
In addition, these books, when read by parents, can also be a teaching tool for how to handle a situation. There are no raised voices. There is reasoning and understanding. The character who made an error of judgement is not brandished as naughty or bad, they are able to move on and not hold onto to a situation longer than needed.
Congratulations to the Pat Cronin Foundation and author Maureen Hyland and Illustrator Bruce Rankin for this wonderful literary initiative.
Teacher - Library.
Xavier College Burke Hall Early Years
This series of books is engaging, contemporary and written in a way that’s inclusive. The stories are on point with the situations that arise in schools and the strategies used to resolve them. Students will enjoy reading these tales about Patch and his friends. Teachers will enjoy reading these books to their students and discussing how sometimes it can be easy to be impulsive and make poor choices but when we do, others can get hurt.
These books deal with all this and ultimately teach Skipper’s important lesson. A great resource for all primary schools who want their students to be wise, think carefully and act kindly.
St. Joseph the Worker Primary School, Reservoir North
This book is a useful tool to allow students to build their social-emotional understanding with relatable scenarios. I love the support notes for teachers, parents, and carers! The guidance for leading discussion and follow-up activities is extremely useful as they integrate Literacy, Speaking and Listening, and Wellbeing. A lot of effort and consideration into how to appropriately target this age group has gone into making this book. I can’t wait to use this resource in my classroom!
The Four Square Challenge and The New Playground introduce the message that it doesn’t matter how you are feeling, you need to ensure that you constantly be wise, think carefully and act kindly like Skipper the Owl. Footy Fever, demonstrates that this message not only needs to be taught in schools, but to the wider community. All of the books show what happens when one of the characters forgets, however each of the stories ends with reminding the audience of Skipper the Owl’s message.
Not only are the books a great resource on their own, the inclusion of the ‘Support Notes’ at the end of each book allows for whole group, small group and independent activities. These notes provide teachers/parents/carers with questions and activities to help with making connections between the scenarios in the books and their own lives, build on prior knowledge, and encourage the children to think more deeply.
Classroom Teacher – Preps
Our Lady Help of Christians Primary School, Eltham
(Pat’s Primary School)