Me and my fear by Francesca Sanna
Flying Eye Books, 2018. ISBN 9781911171539
(Age: 6+) Highly recommended. Themes: Anxiety; Living with fear; Overcoming fear; Migrants. Me and My Fear is a delightful picture book, particularly for children who struggle with anxiety. The central character is a small girl who has a small companion called Fear, who stays close to her. This is normally a comfortable relationship, almost a friendship, when Fear is small. However, when she moves to a new country and a new school where she understands very little, Fear grows enormously and really disrupts her life. A small boy's overtures of friendship arrests the disharmony in her life and sets her on a more normal companionship with Fear again. She also discovers that the boy has his own 'Fear' companion, as do all her classmates.
With a simple colour palette and naive illustrations, with Fear represented as a white blob-like creature, the overall presentation is immediately accessible for all children. Fear is not conveyed with any fear-inducing qualities, a clever representation considering the topic. The power of the story is in the representation of the psychological struggle with fear and how its influence can grow and overtake a life. The author confesses to her own struggles with anxiety in the Author's Note at the end of the book. The great feature of this book is its reassurance that most people carry fears, and they can even be a recognised and comfortable companion, but also that there is hope for those who need to deal with this sometimes-disruptive and intrusive influence. This would make a good book to keep in a Counsellor's office.
Highly recommended, to begin a discussion about coping with Anxiety.