Feeling Worried – Kay Barnham

Illustrations – Mike Gordon

Feeling Worried is a great little picture book aimed at children from 5 to 9 years and is part of the Everyday Feelings series.

Ava helps her brother understand his maths homework that he’s been worried about all week. She advises her friend Bahar to talk to her parents because she’s worried about her parents’ divorce and which parent she’ll be living with when they separate. Ava helps the new girl at school, Mila, overcome her worry about having a different accent than the other kids in their school. Now Ava is worried about going to the dentist tomorrow. Will she ask anyone for help with her worry or keep it to herself? Can she overcome her worry?

Kay Barnham has done a great job of making a scary feeling not so scary. The message is clear in the different scenarios in the book that when you’re worried it can help if you talk to someone about it. There’s the sense in reading this book that having worries are understandable and there’s no judgement attached to them. There’s also positivity shining through the book, with the constant hope that things will be okay. Feeling Worried would make a great starting point for discussions with children about what worries them personally.

There’s a section at the back of the book with suggestions for other books relating to this topic along with a very useful section for parents and teachers. This section provides ideas for the adult to make the book interactive with the child or children they’re reading it to, with questions and activities aimed at exploring worry more.

Mike Gordon’s illustrations are also easy to ‘read’. The expressions on the faces of the people make it clear when someone is worried and when they feel better and the pictures line up well with what’s happening in the story. There’s a softness to the colours used, along with some brighter areas, that make the images calming to look at. I loved the style of the illustrations. There was a quirkiness to the pictures that really appealed to me, particularly the expression on the cat’s face and the tooth picture on the wall in the dentist’s office. The illustrations in this book remind me of Quentin Blake’s style, but in colour.

I can see this book being used for bedtime reading and also at libraries, schools and childcare centres. While I haven’t read any others in the series I would anticipate that this book along with the other books about being angry, jealous, sad, scared and shy would make a great set to help teach children to identify and deal appropriately with their feelings.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Free Spirit Publishing for the opportunity to read this book.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Anna is there to help her friends and her little brother with their worries, showing them how to talk it out, ask for support, and face new challenges. When she faces a visit to the dentist, though, Anna feels what it’s like to be worried herself. Will she take her own advice and help herself not worry?

Everyday Feelings Series: Young children face many strong feelings, some of which can be difficult to handle. This series uses humour and compassion to show children how to help others — and themselves — feel better when dealing with challenging emotions. Lively art illustrates the stories with charm and energy. At the end of each book, a special section for adults presents ideas for helping children deal with feelings in healthy ways, as well as a list of recommended books for further reading. Also available is a free downloadable leader’s guide for this series with additional information, discussion questions, and activities.

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