Local author, Lu Thomson, tells us about her new debut book published 20 June 2017, ‘The Worry Box’, and how she thinks that it might help children with even the smallest of worries:
“Hello Worthing Mums! It is an absolute pleasure to have been invited to write a guest post on the blog and I am really pleased to be able to introduce you to myself and to my book.
I have been writing for as long as I can remember. As a child I learnt to read extremely quickly and absorbed books by the truck load. I would often be reading under the covers by torchlight as my parents watched television downstairs. It didn’t take long for me to be conjuring up stories for my younger sister which I would tell her whenever we were allowed the treat of a sleepover in one another’s rooms. It is perhaps unsurprising, then, that I have developed an absolute love of crafting stories for children.
As a teenager and young adult, I pushed aside my love for writing and focused instead on working towards an entirely different career path; but the love for story making remained. It is as I entered my thirties that I became inspired to bite the bullet and actually see if I could do something about the stories that I had kept locked away inside of my head for so long. The driver for me was the prospect of being able to empower children through my writing. I found the independent publisher Cynefin Road on Twitter and the rest is history!
‘The Worry Box’
‘The Worry Box’ was a natural choice for my first publication. I had experience helping friends’ children and my own step-daughter with worrying and the thought of helping children more widely really appealed to me. I had used a worry book with my step-daughter and had suggested the use of a worry box to my best friend. Through helping individual children, the idea of writing a book for a wider audience which would gently introduce the concept of using a worry box seemed viable. I did some research and although there were many books dealing with worrying I felt that the market could do with a book like mine.
For those who are not familiar with the concept, a worry box is a physical box which can be used for a child to communicate their worries to an adult without initially having to say them out loud. When the child is experiencing a worry they can write it down or draw a picture of it and then post it into their box. Sometimes this act alone, which helps the child to visualise the worry, helps rid them of its burden; however the adult and child can agree a time to ‘check-in’ on the worries and if anything in the box is still bothering them, it can then be taken back out and discussed with their permission.
James, a worrier who worries about all kinds of things
My book introduces this common tool in a child focused, friendly way, through the story of James, a worrier who worries about all kinds of things. The reader is taken through the different things he worries about and how they make him feel providing the perfect opportunity for parents to relate this back to their own child’s experiences. In the book, James’ Mum introduces him to a worry box and explains how this works which enables the reader to also be introduced to the concept.
I have included a note to parent/guardian at the back of the book to help to explain how to deploy the concept and there is also an activity page at the back with instructions to make a worry box – the idea being that once the child has been taken through the story they can make their own box which can then be used by them and a trusted care giver to assist them in communicating any concerns they have in a safe way.
The book is aimed at Key Stage 1 children approximately ages 4-7 as it can be read with children but also read by them when able. It is simplistic enough for some Key Stage 1 children to read it themselves or it could be read with them by an adult.
‘I have already had parents approaching me gushing about how much their child has taken to the book’
So far the book has been extremely well received. I have appeared on BBC Radio Northampton talking about my book following which I held a fun day to launch the book in Northampton on 17 June 2017 as, though I now live in West Sussex, I grew up there. The children attending the launch had an excellent time and I have already had parents approaching me gushing about how much their child has taken to the book. I am looking into the possibility of holding a local event in the future.
It is also amazing how many reports I have had from parents about their children opening up about worries that they didn’t even know that they had since being introduced to the book. I saw that for myself at the launch when one girl, inspired by the book, drew her worries for her Mum there and then. I have also delivered an assembly to a primary school in which we discussed worrying in general before going on to discuss the book and it really is amazing how what we think of as little worries can really occupy a small mind. In the first week of publication I have sold more books than I ever expected to and I have bookings to speak at a further two schools next month.
I really hope that this is a book that parents and care givers will find the book useful. The RRP is £7.99 and the book can be purchased on Amazon at https://www.amazon.co.uk/Worry-Box-Thomson-Lu/dp/0995763763/ or on my publisher’s website at https://www.cynefinroad.co.uk/product-page/the-worry-box
I do also sell signed copies of the book direct and you can find me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/luthomsonauthor – like and follow to be kept up to date as to local craft events and fairs where I will be holding signings.
This is only my first children’s book and I have several others already written awaiting illustration and final edit. My second book, the name of which if presently a secret, will be released toward the end of this year also by Cynefin Road.
Thank you to Worthing Mums for inviting me to your wonderful blog and I hope to meet many of you in the near future – I’m sure to be the one in the crazy cat skirt J