Ruby's worry by Tom Percival

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Bloomsbury, 2018. ISBN 9781408892152
(Age: 3+) Recommended. Themes: Anxiety. Depression. Sharing. Friendship. Ruby's life is carefree and happy, but one day a worry finds her. At first it is a very small worry and can be hidden behind her, or even ignored. But as time goes on the worry increases in size, becoming a constant shadow next to her as she goes to bed at night, eats her breakfast and catches the bus to school. She tries to work at school, but the worry sits next to her, invading her thoughts. The worry gets bigger, staring at her over the breakfast table, sitting on the swing besides her. She realises that no-one else can see her worry, until one day she sees a young boy sitting in the park. He too has a worry and this time, Ruby can see his worry. He is sad and reflects just how she feels, so she sits down next to him and they talk about their worries. As they do this their worries become smaller, and lift from their shoulders. They are aware that by sharing their worries they become smaller, and Ruby knows that although her shadow is still there, much smaller than it was, she now has the skill to keep it under control.
This story, like Mr Huff (Anna Walker, 2015) is most useful at a time where mental ill health has become a problem amongst younger children. Children will instantly recognise the background to the story, many knowing someone who suffers from anxiety, and see that having a worry is not unusual and there are steps they can take to help themselves not be overwhelmed by the feeling.
Fran Knight