At a time when so many children are affected by anxiety, this is a much-needed picture book. It covers twelve different things children typically might feel anxious about (being told off, a new teacher, seeing something horrible on TV, finding something difficult, friendship issues, being picked on, arguing parents, fears and phobias, jealousy, being ignored, loneliness and being ill.) These could quite easily be applied to different anxieties (eg, seeing something unpleasant on TV could equally be applied to the internet or on the radio). Each scenario has a double page spread – the left side typically acknowledges the child’s feelings and provides words for their emotions: a great way to start off a conversation and to help the child verbalise how they feel. The right hand page provides ‘things to remember’ in the form of gentle guidance and suggestions to improve the situation, facts to help put the anxiety in perspective, and important safety information (eg, you need to tell an adult you trust if you are being bullied).
A great picture book to help children explore their worries. While it is normal to feel anxious now and then, when anxiety escalates and can't be controlled, sitting down with your child and reading this book together should help.
As effective as this all sounds to an adult, I’m keen to emphasise that this is not a dry and boring book. It has been cleverly written with simple language that a child will understand and enjoy (there’s a really good ‘feelings glossary’ for children at the back of the book if further clarification is required). The illustrations are very appealing, our child testers loved the cartoon-style scenes with speech bubbles. The entire book appears to have been produced with real love, care and expertise: the messages are well considered and the tone is just right for young children.
The messages we found in this book:
- When someone is nasty to you, it can be very hard not to be nasty back.
- When parents argue, children can feel ignored, worried and helpless.
- New situations (such as changing teachers) can be challenging for a children, who generally find change difficult.
- Scary or shocking things can ‘stay in your head’.
- Worries are unhelpful thoughts that make you experience negative emotion and confusion.
- It is perfectly normal to worry; it’s when the worries start to affect your life that things become serious.
- Some common childhood phobias – such as monsters under the bed, the dark and spiders – simply can’t harm you (Australian readers may wish to amend the spiders advice!)
- Eating well and drinking plenty of water can make getting ill less likely.
- Talking things through with a trusted adult may help.
- Finding a ‘safe place’ can help you feel less anxious (eg, cuddling a parent or snuggled up in bed)
- Don’t waste time comparing yourself to others, just enjoy being you!
- Things aren’t always fair and there’s not much we can do about it, but we can change HOW we think and focus on the positives.
This book has so many helpful messages that we can’t possibly include them all here; we have given just a few examples.