Riley Knows He Can by Davina Hamilton

Riley knows he can

In August last year I was privileged to meet Riley in a lovely children’s book by Davina Hamilton, Riley Can Be Anything, which I reviewed here. I’m delighted to find that Riley is back in a whole new adventure Riley Knows He Can, and would like to thank Davina for sending me an advanced reader copy in return for an honest review.

Riley Knows He Can is available for pre-order here. Riley will be sitting in your basket until he’s released on 25th April!

Riley Knows He Can

Riley knows he can

Riley is excited about starring in his first school play – but his nerves keep getting the better of him.

His Mummy and Daddy will be in the audience and Riley is excited that they’ll be there to watch him in his starring role as the wise king. In addition, Riley can’t wait to put on his costume – a kingly cape and crown!

But he keeps getting overwhelmed by the butterflies in his tummy! What if he walks on the stage and freezes? Or what if he walks on the stage and sneezes?

Thankfully, Riley’s big sister Ella is on hand. Not only did Ella help her little brother to practice his lines for the play, she also gives him the encouragement he needs to take to the stage with kingly confidence. With Ella’s help, Riley learns how to ditch the doubt and tell himself he can do it – because deep down, he knows he can!

The follow-up to 2017’s Riley Can Be Anything, Riley Knows He Can follows young Riley on a new and exciting journey of discovery. In this wonderful rhyming tale, our young hero learns, with the help of his big sister, how to conquer his fears by believing in himself.

My Review of Riley Knows He Can

A starring role in his school’s play can be rather daunting but Riley’s sister Ella gives him the confidence to perform.

I love this book. It is equally as good as Riley Can Be Anything and although I’m a good fifty years older than the target audience, it felt like an old friend had returned to read about Riley’s new adventure.

The elements that I so appreciated in Riley Can Be Anything are present in Riley Knows He Can. The gender and ethnicity balance of the characters is wonderful, giving equal status to all in a world where we still haven’t always managed that equality.

The language fits both Riley’s character and the plot perfectly. Children could read this to themselves but the lovely fluid rhyme scheme also makes Riley Knows He Can a perfect book for reading aloud together too. The refrain ‘I can do this. I can!’ is such a wonderfully positive message and I can envisage children saying it to themselves in emulation of Riley when they find themselves in challenging situations. Riley Knows He Can provides brilliant positivity without being patronising or twee and I love that aspect of Davina Hamilton’s writing. There’s a secondary message too in the play within the story that shows children that no-one is better than anyone else, so that as well as being hugely entertaining, Riley Knows He Can is educational too.

I must also mention the lovely illustrations. They enhance the words so fabulously. They are simple but effective and will appeal to adults and children alike.

I think Riley Knows He Can is a superb children’s book. It made me happy to read it and what could be better than that?

About Davina Hamilton


Davina Hamilton is an exciting writer with 15 years of journalism experience. The former entertainment editor for UK publication, The Voice, Davina has contributed to a host of publications, both in the UK and internationally. She has also featured on a number of radio programmes on stations including BBC London, LBC and BBC Radio 5 Live.

Davina lives in London, England with her husband and two children. She is available for interview upon request.

You can follow Davina on Twitter @davina_writes, visit her website and find Riley on Facebook.

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