Today at Promote Me Please we welcome Tanya Balcke, to talk about her innovative children's book "I Have a Worry".
A.1. This book has been forming throughout my experiences as a Primary School teacher. The language used within the book is the same language I use in my classroom with my kids. We talk constantly about how to manage concerns that the kids have, and really try to develop the kids’ ability to self-manage their own worries. It’s all about teaching the children to differentiate the size of their worries, and knowing when they need the help from the trusted people in their lives. I also am a mum of three beautiful boys. Our eldest son started high school in 2015, and it was a new time for our family. My husband and I reflected on how important it was that our boys were encouraged to talk and share. We wanted to be able to share and encourage others to do so as well.
Q.2. Which came first with ‘I have a Worry’, the ideas for the pictures or for the text?
A.2. During the Term 1 holidays in 2015, I sat down and wrote the story. The text only took 25 minutes, even though I spent many hours thinking about changing it or looking for improvements. The words just naturally flowed, and seemed quite simple. The simplicity is what I am told is reaching the children. The illustrations came next, and these also followed the theme of ‘simplicity’. I am a teacher, not an artist, so I needed to trust that simple would do.
Q.3. What means have you used to distribute ‘I have a Worry’?
A.3. Launching ‘I have a Worry’ has also launched my Facebook experience. My close girlfriend (who has wanted me on Facebook for quite some time) came around one night and helped me to set up my first Facebook page. This has been the primary publicity tool and has helped me reach many customers. I then approached my local book stores, and their support has been terrific. As a self-published author, you are required to build your own connections and relationships with the wider communities. It has been the strength of the message of the book that has built the momentum.
Q.4. Where did the specific worries come from? Are they real, or did you make them up?
A.4. ‘I Have a Worry’ doesn’t talk about specific worries, as kids deal with such a range of different things. I didn’t want to exclude some worries. The feelings that the children feel when dealing with worries are definitely real. They are real accounts and words that my students have shared over my time. My favourite time is reading this book for the first time with a child, and they look up and say, “How did you climb into my head?” The emotions are authentic.
Q.5. What plans do you have for a follow up?
A.5. This book is the first in a three book series. The second book, ‘My Pet Worry’, and the third book ‘My Worry Rocket’, are already written and illustrated. They build on the strategies from ‘I have a Worry’ and provide kids with more tools to be able to differentiate the ‘size’ of their worries. Again, they are written in the ‘voice’ of our classroom, and provide concrete and real things to do when faced with worries. As a self-published author, these books will be sent to the printer when we have raised enough funds from the sale of the first book. It is very exciting to share, that at the end of December, 2015, I sent ‘I Have a Worry’ back to the printers for its second print run.
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It is open to anyone with a family-friendly creative endeavour to promote. Comments are welcome. To read other interviews at Promote Me Please, choose from the menu on the right of this post. The direct url for this post is http://tinyurl.com/ihaveaworry