Tiffany Aching as a role model for children

I thank my wonderful husband for introducing me to the incredible mind of Sir Terry Pratchett. If you have not read something by him, you are a missing out! He has several series revolving around the world he created called Discworld. One four-volume series is about Tiffany Aching.

I will add here that I have listened to these books through Audible, narrate by Stephen Briggs. His voices are phenomenal, and he will have you rolling with his characterizations of the Nac Mac Feegles. If you’re not into reading, try listening to it.

Tiffany Aching is nine years old when we meet her. She starts her journey in developing her powers as a witch by smashing a faerie monster with a frying pan. While there are some hilarious and whimsical moments throughout the story, the underlying truths and lessons we can learn are applicable for every reader, not just children.

(If you are reading this with no familiarity of the story, this is not a witch like Hermione Granger. The Harry Potter world and the Discworld are two vastly different kinds of magic. Both still amazing. Both still teach life lessons. Both worth reading!)

  1. Tiffany works out her own problems. Tiffany asks “what can I do?” to solve the problem, not “what can you do?” or “what can we do?”, she understands at a very young age the importance of standing up and working things out on your own.
  2. She still accepts help. Although she understands the importance of accepting responsibility and working to get the job done, she also accepts help from the Nac Mac Feegles and other witches. It’s an important lesson to find the balance of doing things yourself and accepting you need help.
  3. She loves learning. She read the entire dictionary and loves to think about words, what they mean, and how they sound. She mispronounces some words because she could only read it and guess the pronunciation. She’s wise and self-taught. A quiet thinker who sees and understands far more than people assume.
  4. She’s brave, because she has to be. She wants the Nac Mac Feegles to tell her they will handle the monsters, but knows they won’t. She doesn’t want to be the only one taking on the scary things that keep coming after her, but she owns up to the necessity. It’s a realistic fear. She often admits she would rather anyone else take on what she has to, but she still faces the horrible things head on and with the memory of her Granny keeping her strong.
  5. Her family is important to her. From her Granny passing on her powers and wisdom, to her parents doing their best to continue to teach their clever girl, to her facing the scary faerie world to save her brother Tiffany’s power comes from her family. The hills are in her bones, and her ancestor’s bones are in the hills. The kind of deep-rooted magic that can thrive on something as soft as chalk.
  6. Some of the magic in the story is something anyone can learn, but most are unable to grasp. Magic is speaking for those who have no voice, doing for others who cannot do for themselves, and at time times ensuring justice when no one else will. It’s the quiet acts done without people even realizing it. It’s seeing what others ignore.
  7. She’s enjoyable. Though her whit and clever tongue sometimes turn people away, for the most part she’s a really interesting and enjoyable person to be around. She isn’t so powerful and smart the reader cannot identify with her. She’s endearing.
  8. Her encounters with death. Death is quite literally a Character in the Discworld. Tiffany sees him in a few situations, and those times provide some powerful insight into dealing with death. Sir Terry Pratchett taught us the best way to greet death is by making the little part of our world a better place. I know my world was made better by his works.

Have any of you read her story? Is there anything else you would like to add?

What are your thoughts?