Maia and the Worry Bug | Māia rāua ko te ngārara pāwera

Review by Kate Cherven, Communications and Marketing Officer, MHF

Julie Burgess-Manning, Illustrated by Jenny Cooper (2015). Kotuku Creative, NZ

Maia and the Worry Bug is a story and resource book to help families experiencing mild to moderate anxiety manage their worries and understand anxiety better.

The book focuses on the effect the Christchurch earthquakes had on families and the anxiety and change they brought about. But I think the book would be beneficial to any family experiencing any kind of difficulties that come with change.

It’s a colourful book with exciting animations that will keep the attention of young kids. I think it’s a lovely story that can help give kids the words they might need in order to explain if, and when, they are feeling anxious, or when they notice their parents have become anxious. Being American, I think this book would have been wonderful for many parents after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

I really enjoyed the family anxiety toolbox at the end of the book for families to see where their stress levels are and how to find ways to open up and talk about their worries. The toolbox provides a space for families to write down their worries and ask questions like, “What does dad think mum’s worries are?” to help open up conversations for parents and kids to really understand what anxieties they have.

This book also provides space to write down all those worries and lock them away. “This is a way to stop worries from intruding all day long.”

I think this is a lovely book and I plan to get two copies for my nieces and my sisters in the United States.

The Mental Health Foundation’s Information Service brings you reviews this Pink Shirt Day on books with bullying prevention themes.

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