This story aims to empower children by encouraging them to explore how they can develop their “inner happiness honey pots”.

“An Apple, a Cat and a Wish” is intended for children aged seven to 14 and covers strategies children can engage in, in order to develop their resilience and confidence to deal with life’s challenges. With children’s wellbeing at its heart, embedded within are a number of themes that can be discussed with young people, such as friendship, school worries and bereavement.

Emma explained that following working in education for 25 years, which included being a head teacher of a school in South Lincolnshire in England for 9 years “I experienced first hand the challenges of Covid-19 and its emotional impact on children and I wanted to encourage children and make them aware of how important it is to do the things that make you feel good inside.”

Emma kindly shared a short synopsis of the story: “After remembering some of the ‘spells’ that her mother once taught her, a teenage girl embarks on a magical adventure in her new home to hunt for the small witch who she believes exists at the bottom of her garden. The girl’s quest takes her and a mysterious cat to a meeting underneath the apple tree with ‘Merry Wish Minty,’ a sharp-minded witch searching for fresh ideas to put into the spells she makes for helping others. Merry Wish Minty refers to her spells as ‘wishes’ as she is a firm believer in the power of positive thinking and the pleasure to be gained from acts of kindness.”

Emma explained that “I have always enjoyed storytelling and I wanted to create something for children and if I can reach into a child’s thoughts and elevate their wellbeing through the story I am sharing, then that can only be a joyous outcome.” Adding that “In a pastoral sense, I would love to see my book used in classrooms as a good teaching tool but it is equally lovely for a parent and child to read together.”

Emma and her husband decided to move to the Algarve over a year ago, “We just love Portugal, I came here a lot as a child, my parents adored the Algarve! So, we thought let’s do it, before we talk ourselves out of it!”

“It is so beautiful here and the people here are so friendly and family orientated. I have two step daughters who are 12 and 15 and they are at an age that they can totally buy into the swimming pool. We also came out with our two black Labradors who are living their best lives.”

A Beautiful Tribute

The author shared that the story was inspired by her mum who passed away from Cancer but had jotted down some ideas for this story including the little witch at the bottom of the garden. “My mum was a primary teacher and had a particular flair for creative writing. Whilst she was poorly, she said I have these ideas and I would like you to go away and write them please.”

“To be honest I didn’t do much about it for a very long time, every summer I would sit in the back garden at my house and we had this old apple tree and think I must have inspiration from there so I mind mapped all the ideas weaving in my mums’ initial ideas, it was important to stay true to me.”

The Importance of Play

“I wanted to keep the story fairly simple and relatable as you don’t have to look far to find an environment in which you can use to engage with your imagination. We know that nature is anatomic for the soul and is so good for us. Actually, just the engagement of play, there is so much academia behind it that really teaches us that children play through metaphors and they project their experiences good and bad.”


Emma told me that she would love to write more, revealing that a sequel could be on the cards and that it would focus on the importance of sleep for children “I am a big fan of professor Matt Walker who wrote about the importance of sleep and I think establishing really good bedtime routines is so important. I have some ideas surrounding mindfulness and relaxation so maybe I will create a similar scenario with another little witch for a different family.” Emma also hopes to start a blog, where she would like to share wellbeing messages each day for children.

An Apple, a Cat and a Wish is a delightful read. If you would like to purchase a copy please visit Amazon as it is available on Amazon Spain and at


Following undertaking her university degree in English with American Literature in the UK, Cristina da Costa Brookes moved back to Portugal to pursue a career in Journalism, where she has worked at The Portugal News for 3 years. Cristina’s passion lies with Arts & Culture as well as sharing all important community-related news.

Cristina da Costa Brookes