Can I Tell you About Anxiety is a fairly short, pamphlet type mini book meant as an introduction to begin the process of dealing with anxiety issues for a child. It is not a self help book.
An avatar character named Meg discusses anxiety, from types with examples to how to get medical help. Although meant to be conversational in tone, it is very heavy on clinical words and dauntingly huge paragraphs that honestly make it a chore to troll through for a child. I had my 11 year old read this and I got the impression she only understood 1/10 of what said and that it was excruciatingly boring to read. Mostly, only the examples are what she remembered (e.g., being afraid to go upstairs for fear of a terrorist attacking you up there or your mom dying). I feel that making the book a bit longer by shortening nearly every paragraph would have made the book far more accessible.
While I applaud not talking down to kids, I do also think you have to talk to kids, rather than above them. My 11 year old wasn’t impressed with the ‘conversational tone’ and felt the information inside could be better presented in shorter, friendlier, less clinically approaches. For me, I was reminded of scientists or doctors who think they are talking on a kid’s level but really never make a connection with that child.
The book is in preparation for professionally administered CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy) as a solution and isn’t really meant as a home-based answer book. It’s purpose is just to introduce different behavior issues so kids can identify with their own anxieties. Unfortunately, it means they have to troll through a lot of non-related anxieties first (e.g., my 11 year old may fear sharks or monsters in the basement but she has no fear at all being alone upstairs or that her mom died in a car crash if I’m 5 minutes late to pick her up at school).
Of note, this is a British book so you will find terms such as ‘mum’ instead of ‘mom’ for American kids. And while I am not sure how efficacious the book is, it certainly is worth investing in as a parent guides their anxious child toward treatment.
Reviewed from an ARC.