Tag Archives: Anxiety

Worst. Holiday. Ever. – Charlie Higson

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Penguin AustraliaISBN: 9780241414781

May 2021

  • ISBN: 9780241414781

Imprint: Puffin

RRP: $14.99

See, I associate Charlie Higson’s name with Young Bond, thrilling spy adventures, evil villains – you know the sort of thing so this absolutely hilarious book took me completely by surprise.

Stan is the only child of pretty ordinary parents and lives in a pretty ordinary suburban house and, in fact, lives a pretty ordinary life. He’s not what you would call an extrovert – or confident – or actually, not very interesting and certainly not brave, but he is a nice kid. So when he is invited to go with a school friend, Felix and his family on a holiday to Italy, he finds himself packed and at the airport with Felix’ uncle and aunt, whom he’s never met, going to a foreign country to stay with an entire villa full of strangers with only Felix – and a very tenuous friendship to bolster himself.

Stan’s list of things that could go wrong on the holiday is even funnier than the one his mum gives him ‘in case of emergency’ and readers will be continually amused throughout as Stan’s lists are added to – but also subtracted from – as he encounters new experiences from food to girls, from moody or just downright batty adults to haughty Italians.

While he is away Stan’s dad takes ill, which causes him great anxiety, but at the same time, as he observes the interactions of the families in the villa with acute perception, he develops a greater understanding of what he’s always taken to be his father’s dissatisfaction with his only son. As the holiday progresses and Stan’s small steps towards confidence increase, so does his insight into what family means and that sometimes, being anxious is OK and being even just a little brave can take you a long way.

I find it quite difficult at times to find humorous novels that will be enjoyed by lower secondary as much as primary children but I think this one might just fit the bill. I’m certainly going to give it a red-hot go with some of my Year 7s – especially some of the more reluctant readers.

Highly recommended for kiddos from around 10 years upwards – especially those who like a good laugh-out-loud read.

Eliza Vanda’s Button Box – Emily Rodda

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Harper Collins Australia

May 2021

  • ISBN: 9781460759608
  • ISBN 10: 1460759605
  • Imprint: HarperCollins AU
  • List Price: 22.99 AUD

Buttons three, attend to me!

Take me where I want to be!

Emily Rodda returns with her own special brand of sparkling magic inthis delightful new fantasy adventure. Milly Dynes has been a bit down in the dumps of late. She still loves living in Tidgy Bay, in the holiday park she and her dad have called home for six years but there seem to be problems surrounding her which sometimes make her wish she could escape. Things have been changing at home with Julie and a new baby sister to think of, her friends are all going away for the holidays, high school is looming and grumpy old Mrs Meaney have all been causing Milly some real anxiety.

Then on a cold and wet wintery day, when there is never an expectation of anyone wanting to rent a cabin, along comes Eliza Vanda with her sewing, her small brown mouse friend and assistant, Victor, and her amazing button tin. And just like that Milly also becomes an assistant and helper for Eliza, finding herself whisked away with Victor on some very magical adventures and meeting some very odd characters. This is no overly dramatic on-the-edge-of-your-seat adventure but a gentle and winsome one where small deeds ensure happy results to problems.

Your readers who revel in imaginative and feel-good stories will love this – who wouldn’t want to go on errands to places where unicorns, frog princes and other magical beings abound?

Very highly recommended for readers from middle primary upwards – it’s a delightful and highly enjoyable read.

Two For One

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Let’s look at some feelings……

scaredy

Scaredy Book : it’s not always easy to be brave! Devon Sillett & Cara King

Harper Collins

ISBN: 9781925335682

ISBN 10: 1925335682

Exisle Kids Publishing – NZ

On Sale: 23/04/2018

List Price: 24.99 AUD

Often it’s difficult to step out of our comfort zones – hard enough for adults and regularly even more so for children. This is a beautiful book with which to explore overcoming trepidation about new situations.

Book loves being in the library but also yearns at times to get out and be borrowed, to explore and discover new adventures. However he always feels tremendously relieved when no one takes him out as his anxiety overwhelms him. Over and over he watches other books go out and some of them come back damaged – or worse, don’t come back at all. What if the same thing happens to him?

Then Emily finds Book. Emily loves the library and books. She’s a bit sad that Book looks kind of sad and faded so she promptly takes him out and shows him the wonderful world outside the library, as well as taking very good care of him.

This is a wonderful way to introduce the topic of uncertainty about new circumstances and that while they may have some small negatives the positives usually outweigh these.

Highly recommended for young readers from around Prep upwards.

LAC

Lessons of a LAC – Lynn Jenkins/Kirrili Lonergan

Exisle Publishing

9781925335828

$19.99

Just because bad things might happen, it doesn’t mean they will.

Psychologist Lynn Jenkins is committed to helping children build emotional resilience and overcome mental hurdles that increase anxiety and worry.

LACs live in their own village and worry about everything. Their entire existence is a whirl of worry. Opposite geographically and mentally, the Calmsters in their village learn how to relax their minds and build positive responses.

When Loppy LAC meets Curly Calmsters he expects the worse but actually finds some solutions to his constant fears and endless concern. This new friendship leads to an unexpected joining of the two clans as they all learn to deal with life without resolutely expecting disasters.

The delightful illustrations are very reminiscent of Dr Seuss whacky style and will have genuine appeal to children. Art activities which combine ‘feelings’ concepts are a very distinct possibility with this one.

Highly recommended for children from around Prep upwards.

Both of these will be on my list for end of year when Preps prepare to move onto to Year 1 and new adventures.

Glitch – Michelle Worthington/Andrew Spark

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Glitch PB HR Cov RGB

Ford St Publishing

July 2017

Author: Michelle Worthington

Illustrator: Andrew Plant

 

ISBN 978192527271

 

RRP $16.99

 

Here is a really lovely picture book about friendship, self confidence, and persistence, upcycling, overcoming anxiety and being positive.

 

Glitch is a twitchy little bug who lives in the dump and just loves recycling junk into useful things especially billy carts. Every year he builds a billy cart and his best friend, calm and kind June is the driver. They never win because in Glitch’s twitchiness he has usually mucked up something.

 

This year they have their fastest billy cart ever but in a practice run that goes awry, June’s antenna get bent. She won’t be able to drive like that but she insists that Glitch can. His nervousness almost gets the better of him but June, like a true friend, supports him and gives him just the boost of confidence he needs.

 

Andrew’s illustrations as always are so striking in each double page spread and Michelle’s text combines some lovely techniques like alliteration and assonance to make a really readable and rhythmic piece.

As well as all the above it’s a fabulous story that underlines that winning isn’t everything!

 Highly recommended for your little readers from around 5 upwards.

 

 

Willy and the Cloud – Anthony Browne

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willy

Walker Books Australia

ISBN: 9781406366969
Imprint: WALKER HARDBACK
Release Date: October 1, 2016
Australian RRP: $24.99

Once again, one of my very favourite author/illustrators the immensely talented Anthony Browne takes a serious topic and transforms it into a sophisticated picture book that will be a perfect springboard for discussion with young readers.

Willy the chimp has taken us all on many explorations of concerns and everyday stresses and now helps us to unpack anxiety and depression for children. When Willy sets off for the park the day seems sunny and people seem happy but he is targeted by one lone black cloud which appears to follow him. No matter what he cannot seem to join in the happiness of the day because of this pesky hovering cloud. Finally he comes to a solution which banishes it and off he goes to make merry with his usual charm.

Partner this with Anna Walker’s CBC winner Mr Huff for a comprehensive discussion of an issue which, according to research, is a growing concern with many of our children.

Earlier this year I explored sophisticated picture books with my Year 5s and we naturally included Anthony Browne.  As well as his picture books (which promptly went flying out the door with excited girls) I also shared Anthony’s outstanding memoir – PlayingThe Shape Game co-written with his son Joe. I would strongly urge you to seek out this marvellous biography and of course, highly recommend this new picture book for your collection.

Perfect for sharing with children from around 5 years upwards.