What were you most afraid of as a child? For children's book author Leslie Miller, it was the 'black panther' lurking in the hall at night... While childhood fears may seem silly once we grow up, at the time they can feel momentous and debilitating. That's why Fobie Friends has created a new series aimed at empowering kids to "find the fun in facing your fears."
After grilling teachers, parents and counsellors, Leslie and Brian Miller teamed up to create the stories which explore perhaps the three most common fears: the dark, heights, and water. Every book is gorgeously illustrated by Alessia Girasole in a style reminiscent of the movie Up, and features playful and inventive rhymes that end with the same closing affirmation: "I don't fear my fears, they fear me!"
Children are invited to "show their fear who's boss" as they set out on a journey alongside, respectively, a water-goggled sea horse, a purple gorilla, and a fluffy owl. In each case the cute critters shed a fresh perspective on the dreaded situation, proving that there is really nothing to be afraid of. Quite frankly, I wish these books had been around in my day!
Fear is a big issue for my four-year-old son. As with many kids on the autism spectrum, his anxiety looms large. Seemingly trivial and innocuous things can scare him to tears—from toilet flushes to dogs, and pretty much all three of the subjects covered so far by Fobie.
He immediately took to the books, though I worried that the vivid illustrations might inadvertently scare him more. That didn't seem to be the case, even after multiple readings. I was also concerned that the language might be too sophisticated for him to follow (a consideration for younger kids and those with delays). Again, not the case.
Plush Fobie Friends from the stories are available, too, providing children with a cuddle-worthy reminder of the story's lessons. E-books are also available, though these quality hardback books are sumptuous and would make an amazing gift or heirloom. Fobie fans (as we now consider ourselves) are in luck. The series will continue, with other fears being addressed in forthcoming books.
What are your children most afraid of?