12 annoying monsters: Self-talk for kids with anxiety by Dawn Meredith
Shining Press 2013. ISBN 9781876870669
As a teacher, Dawn Meredith has encountered and worked with many children suffering from anxiety - anxiety so debilitating that it interferes with their daily lives. As a sufferer herself she felt she had something to offer them to help them help themselves and so she has written this book in which she talks directly to the child to help them understand their fears and then overcome them.
Using language they can understand but which treats them with dignity and acknowledges their intelligence, she explains what anxiety is and invites them to analyse their feelings, offering lists of words that will help describe them. She also offers step-by-step suggestions for getting in control such as breathing deeply, letting yourself go floppy and banishing the bad thoughts. Because she has already taught the child about the physiological effects of feeling anxious, these steps connect directly to this and so make sense. That in itself is calming and helps the sufferer understand that they can be in control.
She then tackles the twelve annoying monsters that are the most common causes of anxiety in children such as 'Bad things always happen to me'; 'Everything must be perfect'; 'I'm all alone and no one loves me' and 'It's my fault.' For each one there is an explanation of the message the monster is giving showing that the monster is wrong, is a liar, or is pathetic and then offers suggestions for self-talk to drown out its voice and practical steps to banish it. Apart from all of the great advice in this book, the fact that it's available shows that no one is alone with their fears, they are not freaks but a member of a larger group all with the same feelings, and offers the sufferers some comfort. 'No one would bother to make the time and energy to write such a thing if your fear was unique and isolated - you are not alone in this' can be the message that starts the road to recovery and control.
Given that as teacher librarians we are often the first port of call when someone wants a title that will help a child in a specific situation, this is a must-have on the shelves and worth a whisper in the ear of any students you know that need it. More information is at the author's website.