Hello! (UK) / Counting Kindness (US)

‘What if a place got so scary that we had to run away…?’ So begins Hello! A Counting Book of Kindnesses.

In ten simple words, this counting book traces the refugee child’s journey through the lens of help offered along the way: 1 boat, 2 hands, 3 meals…and finally the hope of being able to stay and make 10 new friends. Rather than rubbing little noses in the horror or victimhood of the refugee experience, this book shows that one can always find kindness and hope amidst the rubble and uncertainty.

Hello! is a visual learning tool for young readers as well as a gentle reminder of how powerful one small gesture can be.

10% of author royalties will be donated to Amnesty International UK Section to support human rights including those of child refugees.

The book is published in 2020 by Otter-Barry Books; illustrated by Barroux; and endorsed by Amnesty International

International publishers to date include: Charlesbridge (US); Rubinstein (NL); Rue du Monde (France); Walker Books (Australia/New Zealand); Gütersloher Verlagshaus (Germany); and Edizioni Clichy (Italy).

Illustrations by Barroux

Readings, activities & extras

Hollis reads Hello! (UK) on youtube
Q&A with Hollis & Barroux
How Barroux draws the bird
Activities for children
Activity notes by Hollis & Barroux

Credits: illustrator Barroux and UK publisher Otter-Barry Books. Music for drawing a bird by Alfie Gidley.

Country Editions


"A beautiful and unusual counting book redolent with empathy and inclusivity. (...) ...this is an outstanding example of how a deceptively simple picturebook can develop empathy and understanding. Highly recommended."
"The warmth of the beautiful illustrations enhance the simple text enabling young readers to follow the journey of this refugee family and encouraging them to join in with counting...a gentle introduction to the plight of refugee children for the very young. It could provide the perfect starting point for conversations about this important topic in educational settings and at home."