Children’s book about anxiety published by student

Fri 01 April, 2022
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A third-year student at the University of Bedfordshire has written a picture book themed around anxiety, highlighting different coping methods which children can use to manage any worries they may have.

Laurajoy Newman – who is currently in her final year of studying BA (Hons) Applied Education Studies with the University’s School of Teacher Education – was inspired to write the book after witnessing the anxieties of children in the school where she works as part of her studies.

Titled The Worry-o-saur, the story centres around a dinosaur named Geoff who struggles with anxiety. During the pages of the picture book, Geoff goes on an adventure through a forest, meeting other dinosaur friends along the way who offer support and suggest different ways that he could try to manage his feelings.

After sending her manuscript to a number of publishers, Laurajoy was made three offers and decided to move forward with Pegasus Publishers and the book was released by the end of 2021.

Laurajoy said: “The idea behind my book was to provide an opportunity to begin conversations with children about worries, and to teach them that it is okay to have feelings other than just happiness. I noticed an increase in the number of children at my school who were struggling with worries as a result of Covid-19 and I wanted to help them – this was the best way I could think of!”

One of the main themes of the book is showing the importance of reaching out for help, as seen when Geoff the dinosaur opens up to his father about how he’s been feeling, which Laurajoy hopes will inspire children to be confident in opening up to parents, guardians or teachers about their worries.

She added: “I'm hoping that children who read this book will understand that it's ok to have worries and to not let their feelings control them. There are coping methods and other proven strategies explained in the narrative, so I hope that Geoff and his friends will help the children who read their story.”

‘The Worry-o-saur’ is Laurajoy’s first published book and, following its reception, she’s hoping to put pen to paper again but says that a sequel would likely focus on another emotion.

Dr Karen Wicks, Senior Lecturer in Applied Education Studies, commented on Laurajoy’s success: “It’s so good to see Laurajoy’s compassion for children and I am sure that her book will support many who have worries. A huge congratulations to her and I look forward to her next book!”

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