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Professional Development Articles

The Sorry Plane by Deborah MacNamara (Neufeld Institute)

Nov 29, 2019 jjamison

As we approach the end of 2019, I am delighted to share that The Sorry Plane, my first children’s book has landed and is ready to share with you. 

The Sorry Plane It is a funny and surprising story that contains a wild goose chase to find where "Molly's" sorries have gone. Based on a true story with my own children, it highlights the key to cultivating caring and empathy in kids. It is playful with gorgeous illustrations from Zoe Si. It contains an important message as to the importance of saying sorry like we mean it and how we as parents can care for our children's hearts.
I am honoured that it is the first book to bear the Neufeld Institute Recommended seal for children's literature that is congruent with developmental science and the relational developmental approach of Gordon Neufeld. 

As I have visited you and your community over the last year, I had promised to be in touch when it was released. I have attached the official press for more information. Please feel free to share with your community as you see fit. There are also supporting materials on my website as well for use in the classroom and home. 


Scroll to the bottom to see page 2 of her book.

Deborah MacNamara, PhD, RCC

Director, Kid's Best Bet Counselling and Family Resource Centre 
Faculty at the Neufeld Institute
Phone: 604.802.1377
Facebook: Dr. Deborah MacNamara
Twitter: @debmacnamara

Rest, Play, Grow: Making Sense of Preschoolers (or anyone who acts like one)  is now on sale
Subscribe to the Kid'sBest Bet Newsletter for Deborah's latest articles and presentations



Publication Date: November 25, 2019

Contact: Margaret MacKinnon-Cash, MMC PR        604-733-9447/



“A beautifully illustrated story that will soften the hearts of children and help them find their true feelings. All teachers and parents should read this book to their students or children.”

– David McFall, elementary school principal


The Sorry Plane will inspire children and parents to honour the time it takes to face feelings, especially difficult ones involving regret or embarrassment, with encouraging words and delightful illustrations. Dr. MacNamara uses caring, developmentally sensitive language to help children see that it’s all right to take the time to reflect and figure out how to repair inevitable relational mishaps. This is a truly valuable book that all children can relate to.”

– Mona Delahooke, PhD, child psychologist and author of Beyond Behaviors


 Page 2 of her book.

Want your child to care about others? Don’t force them to say sorry.


It might be tempting to insist a child “say sorry” when they make a mistake, like hurting a sibling or refusing to share — especially since these words are the socially accepted way to “fix” a situation, appease other parents, and teach a child right from wrong. But does forcing an apology actually work? According to Dr. Deborah MacNamara, the answer is no. It makes a mockery of true caring and does not lead to empathy. 


A forced apology does more harm than good. You can’t make a child feel remorse. The act of saying sorry needs to be rooted in caring feelings, and caring performances don’t translate into genuine caring actions. Unfortunately there are “clear signs our children are losing their caring feelings at an alarming rate, with increased rates of aggression, anxiety, and self-harm,” says Dr. MacNamara. “Saying contrived caring words will not fix this; we need to get our children’s caring back.”


The good news is parents and caregivers can counteract this by building strong relationships with the children in their lives. When children feel deeply cared for, they have more caring to give. In turn, they then become more socially responsible and sensitive to the emotional needs of others.


In her debut children’s book, The Sorry Plane (Aona Books; ISBN: 978-0995051225; November 25, 2019; C$16.95|US$12.95), Dr. MacNamara, author of Rest, Grow, Play: Making Sense of Preschoolers (Or Anyone Who Acts Like One), offers a playful guide for cultivating empathy in children. Inspired by a real-life incident with her two daughters, The Sorry Plane tells the tale of sisters Molly and Lucy. When Molly accidentally bursts a balloon she and Lucy find, Lucy demands an apology. But Molly’s “sorries” are all gone — they’re hiding under the bed and down the sink, and they’re off to Paris on the “sorry plane.” Their mother explains that we can’t say sorry if we don’t have any sorries in us. Given the time and space to reflect on what happened, Molly eventually feels remorse and apologizes to her sister sincerely.


How Molly resolves the conflict with Lucyis based on the science behind brain development. Young children don’t have the capacity to make sense of their actions in the heat of the moment. “It’s important to remember that young kids’ brains are not fully developed,” says Dr. MacNamara. “And, while they have a strong desire to be good, well-behaved human beings, they’re impulsive. They are still developing the self-control to govern either their emotions or their actions.”


Beautifully illustrated by Zoe Si, The Sorry Plane carries a profound but easy-to-grasp message about the importance of taking the time to connect with a child’s emotions and reminds us that “a good sorry” comes from the heart and is much more than merely words. “If we can cultivate caring and empathy in the early years, then we can set up kids to have healthy relationships with each other and themselves,” Dr. MacNamara says.


The Sorry Plane is the first book to display the Neufeld Institute Recommended Seal. The initiative, established in 2019, recognizes “children’s literature that is congruent with developmental science as well as with the relational-developmental approach articulated by Dr. Gordon Neufeld at the Neufeld Institute.”


About the author:

Dr. Deborah MacNamara is a clinical counsellor and educator and the author of Rest, Grow, Play: Making Sense of Preschoolers (Or Anyone Who Acts Like One).She is a faculty member of the Neufeld Institute and the director of Kid's Best Bet, a counselling and family resource centre. She teaches, writes and presents on all facets of child and adolescent development. Dr. MacNamara lives in Vancouver, B.C., with her husband and two daughters. Visit her at


Zoe Si is an illustrator, cartoonist and lawyer. She lives in Vancouver, B.C. Visit her at


The Sorry Plane

By Dr. Deborah MacNamara

Aona Books

ON SALE: November 25, 2019

ISBN: 978-0995051225

Trade Paperback| C$16.95|US$12.95


Written by:

Margaret MacKinnon-Cash, MMC PR Literary & Lifestyle PR


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