Many children will experience anxious thoughts or be worried at times in their life. Books may help them understand and explain their feelings, and can also help parents talk to their children about how they are feeling. Listed below are 6 books which may be helpful.
‘Don’t think about Purple Elephants’, by Susan Whelan, is about a girl named Sophie who is happy during the day at school, playing in the afternoon and on the weekends. However, come bedtime, Sophie starts to worry, and her worries keep her awake at night. Sophie’s mum has an imaginative idea to help Sophie get to sleep.
This book can help at those times when kids lie awake worried about was has happened that day or could happen tomorrow. The book uses contrasting illustrations to show the changes in Sophie’s feelings.
‘Don’t think about Purple Elephants’ is in the school library.
‘Jack’s Worry’, by Sam Zuppardi, is about Jack who plays the trumpet and is worried about his first concert. No matter how hard Jack tries, his worry just keeps getting bigger and won’t leave him alone. This book helps kids understand that it’s ok to tell their parents that they are worried and why they are worried. It is through sharing his worry with his Mum that Jack’s worry shrinks and Jack is able to overcome his fear.
‘Lessons of a Lac’ is written by local psychologist Lynn Jenkins, and illustrated by Kirrili Lonergan. This book aims to help children deal with anxiety. The characters are Loppy the Lac and Curly Calmster. Loppy always worries about what could go wrong, and Curly helps Loppy understand how to stay calm. This book helps children understand what they are feeling and how to remind themselves that things won’t necessarily go wrong. ‘Lessons of a Lac’ is in the school library.
A second book, ‘Brave’ has recently been published. Loppy and Curly return to help kids deal with an everyday situation where they need to be brave.
‘Mr Huff’ by Anna Walker is this year’s CBCA early childhood winner and is about a little boy named Bill who is having a bad day. This book uses the image of Mr Huff to represent Bill’s negative feelings as things go wrong. Mr Huff starts as a little grey cloud over Bill, but soon grows and has a presence all of his own, which Jack can’t ignore. Eventually, Jack tells Mr Huff how he feels about him and the next day is much better. This book helps children understand those times when their feelings won’t last forever, and tomorrow is a new day full of hope. “Mr Huff” is in the school library.
Shona Innes has a lovely new book called “Worries are like Clouds” which has just arrived in the school library.
In this book, feelings are described like the weather. The book is gentle and beautifully illustrated, and aims to equip children with techniques to understand, communciate and deal with worries.
by Catherine Whittaker