The Girl Who Was Scared of Everything

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Elaine feels scared of everything, and she doesn’t always know why . . . but she doesn’t want to miss out on all the exciting things her friends get to do. Luckily for Elaine, her best friend Lou is here to help!

One in five Kiwi children will have been diagnosed with some form of anxiety disorder by the age of 19 (Source: Mental Health Foundation NZ). Children need to know that these feelings of anxiety, while uncomfortable, are not uncommon and can be overcome. They are not alone.

"The Girl Who Was Scared of Everything" is based on debut author and illustrator Emma Pascoe’s personal experiences of anxiety and depression. Originally created as an outlet for her feelings, feedback and encouragement from her friends and family inspired Pascoe to turn her work into a children’s book.

Pascoe says that keeping busy is one of the best ways to manage her mental health. Facing her fears has also been a major step forward in handling her anxiety and depression. Pascoe’s dream is for her book to introduce children to the concept of exposure therapy, by focusing on how enjoyable life can be when we face our fears head on. She hopes this will be empowering for Kiwi kids.

"The Girl Who Was Scared of Everything" includes a DIY section for parents and children to fill in together – making a list of the support people in that child’s life. The aim of this is to start a conversation about who children can look to for support when they feel scared or anxious.

Dr. Clare Calvert, Clinical Psychologist says, "Elaine’s story about having anxiety is one that will resonate with many young children and their parents. This book illustrates in a gentle and fun way that facing our fears is not as scary as we might think, especially when we share our worries with someone else who can support us. The book deals with ‘what if’ thoughts and generalised anxiety, and shows children that it’s normal to feel anxious about things but they can overcome their fears by being brave and facing them. The book is beautifully illustrated and approachable for young children and their parents to read together."

Dr Sarah Bell-Booth, Clinical Psychologist says, "The Girl who was Scared of Everything is an encouraging book with clear, important messages for young people. It highlights how common anxiety is and emphasises seeking support while confronting fears. This book will likely be useful in various settings to start conversations about various 'what if' thoughts and fears, physiological symptoms and benefits of acting bravely."