Off We Go! Series


It is a treat for me to launch my book reviews during Autism Awareness Month with not just one book, but a very special series of books entitled Off We Go!  Written by Irish author and mother,  Avril Webster, the books began as “hand books” she wrote at home to help her son Stephen navigate everyday life activities.  Stephen has a developmental brain disorder, and new experiences that include loud noises, bright lights and new smells, were upsetting.

What I appreciate most about Webster’s books is the simplicity.  Each book is the same size, limited to 12 pages, and is beautifully illustrated with bright photographs by David Ryley.  Each page has a picture with one sentence.  For instance, in Off We Go for a Haircut, the child says, “I’m going to get my hair cut.”  The book prepares the child for what to expect and what comes next, thus reducing the anxiety and stress in a first time situation.  And, Webster uses the same cast of multi-ethnic characters in each book so that the child is familiar with them.

Webster’s books are designed for children with special needs and disabilities that include Autism, Down Syndrome, intellectual disabilities, brain injuries, ADHD, and Sensory Processing Disorders.   However, they have much a broader appeal, because they can be read to very young children, ages 2-5, to help them understand a visit to the dentist or getting a hair cut.   Some children are more anxiety prone than others.  I remember my first ride on a big bus with my mother at age three, and I sobbed because everything was so big and loud.  They also can be used with children for whom English is a second language.

Some of the Off  We Go! book titles include:   Going to the Dentist, Going to the Restaurant, Going to the Grocery Store, Going Swimming, Going on a Plane, Going to Buy Clothes, Going to Buy Shoes, and Going to a Birthday Party.   You can visit their website at:

Fortunately, Off We Go! was launched in the United States and Canada in March 2011 through Woodbine House  Publishing.  An interesting side bar is that Woodbine is a leading publisher of books for children with special needs.  Many of their employees have a personal connection to someone with special needs — a winning combination for all involved.  Books can be purchased at their website:  and at



About Patricia Tiltonhttps://childrensbooksheal.wordpress.comI want "Children's Books Heal" to be a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and school counselors. My goal is to share books on a wide range of topics that have a healing impact on children who are facing challenges in their lives. If you are looking for good books on grief, autism, visual and hearing impairments, special needs, diversity, bullying, military families and social justice issues, you've come to the right place. I also share books that encourage art, imagination and creativity. I am always searching for those special gems to share with you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

6 thoughts on “Off We Go! Series

  1. These books sound excellent! Even keeping the books all the same size would be helpful for a child for whom routine and sameness were of key importance. I must see if Bev is aware of Woodbine, and of this series of books.

    On a side note, I’m reading Waiting for No One, and it is *excellent*.


  2. Wow — you are fast! Thank you. I ran across this series a few months ago and knew I wanted to launch my blog with Off We Go! I fell in love with the author, her family, their story and the amazing work she has done since 2008. I gave a link to her website which has a video and is very extensive. Thank you for your comments.

    I got a message saying Wild Orchid was shipped today — should have it by the weekend.


  3. When I read this post I kept thinking of two things that I will never forget as a child, – my first time in an automatic elevator and having the doors close on me as I was halfway out, boy did I scream the shop down. The second was when Mum took my brother and I by bus into town, she hopped off first to get the pushchair from under the bus and when she turned to help us down the doors closed and the bus took off with my brother and I still on. My Mum remembers vividly my tear stained face pressed against the window as she raced after it. Somethings can be very frightening for any child, when it is their first time. What a lovely cheerful way Averil puts it across to a child in such simple clear lines. Lovely post thankyou Patricia.


    • Thanks Diane for your feedback. I’m glad you liked the selection. The early experiences you had as a young child remained in your memory as did mine.:) Can’t imagine how young children today cope with a fast-paced life that we didn’t experience with the same intensity. That’s why I enjoyed what Avril Webster attempted to do for Stephen, “Make the wolrd a less scary place for my son.” For children with special needs, a first time experience of going to the hairdresser, shopping, and swimming is even more overwhelming because they are easily overstimulated. And, the books have many other applications for small children.


  4. This seems like a very versatile series, Pat, with value not just for children with special needs…. I can see its usefulness in a bilingual/multilingual situation, like our school. I do like the fact that her cast of characters is multi ethnic. The website is very resourceful also, with some great new IPad and IPhone apps.

    I can also see that you have managed to resolve a couple of the technical questions you still had on the blog 😉


    • Glad you looked at the website — it is very interesting and interactive. Knew you would pick up on the bilingual/multilingual features of the book for children. To date, there are only three books available in the U.S., with more to come. I showed the three on my blog. For once, you have access to books I would have loved to gotten my hands on. Usually it’s the other way around.

      Her books represent the simplicity we hope to strive for as I read them. It made me really value how much a picture tells the story. And, thanks for mentioning the iPad and iPhone apps. Thought about including the info. That makes them very inexpensive to download.

      Yes, I managed to correct a few, but still have much more to learn. 🙂


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