Title: Feelings #3: The Worried Elephant
Author: Phillip Gwynne
Publisher: Scholastic Australia
Published: 1st May 2021
Synopsis: There is so much bad news in the world. Elephant is worried. So worried that he can’t do any of the activities he loves anymore. Can Elephant learn to manage his worry?
- · A relatable, encouraging story about managing worry, including practical techniques to try at home
- · It’s normal for children to feel worried, particularly during the COVID19 pandemic as they are constantly exposed to news that could cause worry, fear and anxiety
- · Includes discussion questions to help teachers, parents and caregivers encourage children to talk through their concerns and find ways to help them manage their worry
- · Themes include worry, worry management techniques, family and friendship
COVID-19 and its ongoing affects – snap lockdowns, various measures to prevent the spread into the community and separation from family and friends has exacerbated people’s anxiety and worry. It’s hard enough for adults to cope with all of this, compounded by working from home, job losses and the uncertainty that we all live with these days going forward in terms of new variants, the threat of lockdowns and when we will get our vaccine. As an adult, it can be hard to talk about these worries. I write it all down in a journal, a way of processing my emotions and the world around me. But for kids, who rely on routines and have had these routines disrupted. The worry and anxiety will never go away, and that’s where books like Phillip Gwynne’s The Worried Elephant can help.
Elephant is worried about everything and keeps hearing bad news on the TV, the radio and from everyone around them. Elephant stops doing the things they love – and it is up to their family and friends to help Elephant find a way to cope with the worry and anxiety. Filled with powerful words and images, this deceptively simple story explores what it means to be worried and anxious about what is going on in the world and how we can all cope with it for ourselves and those around us. It is filled with sensitivity, with no judgement. It allows the reader to sit quietly and think about their worries and anxiety, or can be used to open discussions about what is worrying children at home or at school.
There are discussion questions at the back of the book about opening up discussions about anxiety with children, and educators and parents will find this useful if they are trying to help children of all ages cope with what they are feeling. This book can be used for all levels, as the simple text can help start any discussion. This touching book is appropriate and calming for all ages, and it will be interesting to see how schools and carers use it in educational or caring situations.
It is beautifully written and illustrated, and the images seem to have a calming influence as well and show that you are not alone. There will always be people who want to care about you, and want to help you. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help – those who truly care about you will always be there for you.