Laura Carlin graduated from The Royal College of Art in 2004 and has lived and worked in London ever since. He picture books include The Iron Man, The Promise and King of the Skies, published by Walker Books, and A World Of Your Own, published by Phaidon Press. She is the illustrator of Your Mind is Like the Sky for Frances Lincoln Childrens Books.Bronwen Ballard has a background in psychology and management consultancy. She worked in advertising before retraining in psychology at London Metropolitan University in her late twenties. She has an MA in Philosophy and Modern Languages, and a Post Graduate Diploma in Psychology, and is a graduate member of the British Psychological Society and the Association for Coaching. For the past ten years, she has worked as a personal coach and organisational consultant in London, where she lives with her two daughters. Your Mind is Like the Sky is her first children's book.
Our most cherished picture books tend to be those that contain an
underlying wisdom. Giraffes Can't Dance (Giles Andreae)
affirms that it is all right to be different; Eric Carle's The
Very Hungry Caterpillar has inspired Marxist, feminist and
queer interpretations - but is described by its author as "a book
of hope", showing how even the most insignificant-seeming creature
can unfold its talent. But our busy modern children do not need
whimsical stories to help them make sense of the world. Instead,
they can take direct advice from a growing library of self-help
books, designed (to quote the author of one, Create Your Own
Happy) to help them take "positive steps towards their own
happiness and positive self-esteem!"
Some parents might find the idea of children's self-help off-putting. But Your Mind is Like the Sky, by Bronwen Ballard (a "personal coach and organisational consultant"), is an exemplar of the genre. It is aimed at readers of seven, but would be suitable for younger ones too. "Your mind is like the sky," it begins. "Sometimes it's clear and blue", with "white, fluffy cloud thoughts", but sometimes it is full of "darker, meaner, raincloud thoughts". This is the problem that the book addresses.
Most children's self-help books take anxiety as their theme. Unusually, however, there are no games or activities suggested here, and no "calm down tactics". The message is relayed solely through the pictures and text, which show a little girl wrestling with her dark thoughts - and finally beating them. "When a raincloud thought comes into your head, you say, 'Oh, it's a raincloud thought'. And then you notice all the white fluffy cloud thoughts as well." With lyrical illustrations by Laura Carlin, this is an engaging and refreshingly jargon-free book, which would be ideal for any worried child. -- Emily Bearn * The Daily Telegraph *
One to watch out for. Subtitled A First Book of Mindfulness, this picture book, with its busy, stylish drawings, suggests how to respond to sad thoughts, so you do not get lost in them.-- Nicolette Jones * The Sunday Times *