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28 May, Sunday
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Montreal Families

Book helps kids deal with stress

Having worked with children, teens and young adults for 18 years, Montreal-based social worker Jessica Gottlieb (pictured below) recognized a need for a book that could help kids cope with their worries — so she wrote one. The final product is BEing BEa, an interactive children’s book that empowers young ones to build self-confidence and deal with stress.

The book’s protagonist is Bea, a young girl who is anxious about an upcoming oral presentation at school. Readers follow her on her journey as she overcomes her worries and builds confidence by learning to believe in herself.

Gottlieb says the idea came to her while on maternity leave as she made up a bedtime story for her son Brayden, who she calls “B”. To overcome an argument with a friend, she told him, he could use the power within his name to be confident, be proud and be strong. The book was published May 2021, and Gottlieb hopes it will help as many children and families as possible.

“I’ve witnessed first-hand the strength and resilience of these children,” the author says of her patients, many of whom have struggled tenfold during the pandemic. “[They] are the reason why the book was created.”

The response to the book has been extraordinary, Gottlieb says. And it’s an achievement made even more gratifying given the circumstances under which it was written: the project became a way to cope with the changes and stress of the pandemic era.

When equipped with the necessary coping strategies, children will thrive, Gottlieb says. So how can parents help? One approach is to help kids be conscious of physiological symptoms of stress—their body’s way of telling them that they need to cool down—and knowing how to respond accordingly. BEing BEa offers tools to help deal with those moments of stress.

The book has a narrative on its left pages and a corresponding interactive component on its right pages. As the story progresses, the reader completes worksheets where they express feelings and worries that correspond to Bea’s circumstances. The child can complete these alone if they’re older but “book buddies”—the parent or caregiver—can help children as young as five. “It’s not just about worry,” Gottlieb adds. “It’s also about building self-confidence.”

“Bea learns that she has the power to overcome her worries all along, using her name, to be confident, to be brave, to be strong.”

A percentage of the royalties from BEing BEa will be donated to charities that support the various needs of children. The book can be purchased on Gottlieb’s website.

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