Having suffered with anxiety for most of her life, Nadiya Hussain wrote My Monster and Me to enable children and their parents or carers to open up and talk about their worries. The book is illusrated by Ella Bailey and published by Hodder Children’s Books.
The story follows a little boy and his monster. The monster follows him everywhere, knows everything about him and is always very very big. The only time it hid out of sight was when someone else was there, so he couldn’t get his parents or brother to make it go away because they couldn’t see it.
Over time, the monster starts to get bossier, it starts telling the little boy what he can and can’t do, stopping him from making his own choices or playing with his friends. Trying to escape it, the boy runs to his Gran’s house only to find the monster had beaten him there and was already lurking behind the door.
Gran could see something was wrong and finally the boy opens up, telling Gran all about the monster. And then something amazing happened; the monster started to get smaller and smaller until the boy realised he could be in charge of it.
Mental health problems can be tricky to understand as they are a problem that can’t be seen but this story visualises worry and anxiety in such a clear and accessible way that it is sure to help adults as well as children understand how it can impact on our mood, behaviour and mental health.
As well as being able to visualise anxiety, what this book does really well is make clear that having no worries is not the expectation. “My monster is part of me.” The boy says at the end, but the crucial thing is that he is now the one in charge of it, he controls the monster rather than the monster controlling him.
An excellent story that also acts as a toolkit for everyone to help us talk about worries and most importantly, listen. The way Gran listens quietly is a perfect model for all of us about the importance of listening. Communication is key.
To celebrate the publication of My Monster and Me in paperback we are joining in with the blog tour. This book could not be more relevant in light of what is happening in the world right now, I hope it encourages you to talk and to listen with your family about how these big changes are making us feel.
Buy My Monster and Me from Wordery with free delivery.
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