Ipswich children's book author Brooke Graham (right) with daughter Charlotte.
Ipswich children's book author Brooke Graham (right) with daughter Charlotte.

Nightmare event drives Ipswich teacher to write kids’ book

MOST childhood nightmares are sorted out with a mug of milo and maybe another bedtime story.

But, when Charlotte, then 9, woke panic-stricken in the middle of the night, her mother Brooke Graham rushed her to the emergency department.

“She felt like she couldn’t breathe,” Brooke said.

“We went to the hospital and they said it was a panic attack – I knew her anxiety was only getting worse and it was time to get professional help.”

Motivated to equip young children with tactics to navigate anxiety, the Ipswich schoolteacher created a picture book in which the “worry monster” embodies irrational fear.

The protagonist defeats the monster – anxiety – by using the same techniques Charlotte learned from a counsellor to manage her anxiety.

Go Away, Worry Monster by Brooke Graham.
Go Away, Worry Monster by Brooke Graham.

“It’s about a boy named Archie who is anxious about starting his new school – the night before he starts, the worry monster appears,” Brooke said.

“It loves making Archie worry until Archie’s head hurts, his tummy flutters and his heart pounds – worry monster comes up with things for him to worry about.”

The story resolves when Archie realises the only way to feel better is to get rid of the cause of the worry – not the imagined problems but the anxiety itself.

“He takes deep breaths, thinks of the facts as to why he doesn’t need to worry, and he ignores worry monster,” Brooke said.

Before the book was published, Brooke wrote several drafts and said she started with only a general idea of what she was writing.

“It didn’t have exactly a clear picture – I just knew it was going to be about anxiety,” she said.

“Everybody worries and anybody can be anxious but, for it to be ongoing, it can stop you from enjoying life and impacts on your daily life.”

Read more news by Ebony Graveur.