By Esther Marshall 

Sophie Says It's Ok Not To Be OK

Sophie Says It's Ok Not To Be OK

I became passionate about writing books for children through personal experiences that have totally changed my outlook on life for the better on certain topics. Firstly, after becoming a mum for a the first time and feeling this overwhelming sense of responsibility to teach my son to believe in equal rights and that he knows that regardless of race, religion, gender or class everyone should be able to have the same opportunities. The other personal experience which shook me to my core was the tragic death of my younger sister earlier this year who suffered with mental illness for many years. These two personal experiences were the imputes behind me writing the Sophie Says Children’s Books.

A recent study* found that 80% of parents believe that mental health is an important topic that should be addressed in children’s books, and yet two thirds of parents do not own a book which does. Children’s social awareness and emotions develop from as early as 18 months. I feel it’s important to encourage children to talk about their feelings from a young age because by explaining to children that its ok to feel the way they do it enhances the chances of them feeling more comfortable to talk. If parents can talk to children about this and get their children to talk openly and honestly it will help them build resilience, build self-confidence, make relationships stronger, help them learn about other people and in the long run with more people talking about feelings it will help reduce the stigma.

Many people are not comfortable with speaking about their emotions so many parents will naturally be worried or anxious about bringing this topic up with their children. They will be worried about whether bringing it up may make their child more upset or anxious. That is why its vitally important that there are children’s books which provide a toolkit for parents and educators to read with children and to help create a safe environment for children to feel comfortable to talk about their feelings. That’s where I feel Sophie Says It’s Okay Not To Be Okay is the perfect toolkit for parents (and educators) to explain feelings and the key message that it’s okay not to be okay.

There has never been a more important time to speak to our children about feelings and the importance of mental health. With the effects of COVID not fully known anxiety and worry has increased in the overall population. If we are not speaking to our children about their worries and reiterating the message that it is okay to have worries and speak about them openly, I fear it will have a detrimental effect on their mental health. If we are not careful mental illness will be the next pandemic we will be trying to combat if we are not already. My hopes for Sophie Says It’s Okay Not To Be Okay are that it will become a household and school staple which will help adults and educators help the next generation of children to develop positive coping skills to deal with their mental health which they can take through to their adult lives to live a happy and mentally healthy life.

You can buy Sophie Says It’s Okay Not To Be Okay here- and follow Sophie Says on Instagram @sophiesaysofficial

*Survey of 1,000 UK parents conducted independently by Snap Consulting

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