GO AWAY, WORRY MONSTER!: A children’s book about anxiety

Probably the number one request I get is for recommendations for children’s book on anxiety. It’s a widespread problem and a difficult topic. Schools are doing such a wonderful job these days of teaching about emotions and mental health concerns. Despite this, there’s always room for more books on this important topic.

Appealing to kids

It can be hard to find a picture book that appeals to kids and isn’t too much like a self-help manual. The ones with stories are often too didactic, too sweet, or too abstract.

Example pages
Illustration by Robin Tatlow-Lord, text by Brooke Graham, in Go Away, Worry Monster!

Because of this, I was very happy to see this new title, Go Away, Worry Monster, by Queensland writer and teacher, Brooke Graham. In the interests of full disclosure, Brooke happens to be in my writer’s group.

The Worry Monster

Graham has written a story about a young boy, Archie, with a specific problem. He’s about to start a new school the next day and, sure enough, his old “friend”, the Worry Monster visits, bringing lots of worries with him. What if Archie gets lost? What if they don’t get to play sport? What if he’s left out?

Archie takes matters into his own hands and tries to banish Worry Monster by using techniques his mum taught him last time Worry Monster came to town. He practises relaxation techniques, questions the validity of the worries and distracts himself by doing something enjoyable. Finally, Worry Monster leaves of his own accord.

Evidence-based techniques

The techniques are simple, structured and evidence-based. They are consistent with methods used in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Mindfulness/Simple Relaxation Techniques.

As such, they are just as useful for the adult reading the book as for the child!

A beautifully produced picture book by a boutique publishing house

Endpapers for Go Away, Worry Monster!
For those of us who love the endpapers in a beautifully produced book…

The illustrator, Robin Tatlow-Lord, has done a wonderful job of illustrating a story that stays within the one room, in the dark. I imagine both those tasks are difficult. She has managed to introduce movement and colour with her coloured pencil illustrations over the glorious texture of parchment paper.

EK Books publish “Books with Heart On Issues that Matter”. They’ve really kicked a goal with this book.

Highly recommended for anyone dealing personally or professionally with anxious kids, I will definitely keep a copy close at hand at my clinic.

Cover, Go Away, Worry Monster!
Cover, Go Away, Worry Monster!

Written by Brooke Graham

Illustrated by Robin Tatlow-Lord

Published by EK Books 2020, ISBN 978-1-925820-39-3