About Jo Rooks

Jo Rooks is an award-winning author-illustrator who studied graphic design and illustration at Bath School of Art and Design. She illustrated several award-winning books, including A Box of Butterflies and Hector's Favorite Place. Visit her at Jo Rooks Illustration and Follow her on Facebook: @JoRooksIllustration, Twitter: @JoRooksArt, and Instagram: @JoRooksIllustration.

Sophie’s Shell

Why is the sky blue? Why are raindrops wet? What are stars made of? Why am I so shy? Sophie can't wait til she's old enough to go to school. She has so many questions she wants to learn the answers to. But when it's finally time, Sophie feels so shy, she keeps popping back in her shell. What can help Sophie build the confidence she needs to come out of her shell and explore the world? Hear author, Jo Rooks, read Sophie's Shell aloud. Sophie's Shell is part of The Once Upon a Garden Series. Read a piece Jo Rooks wrote about supporting your shy child.

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Sophie’s Shell 2020-08-18T13:01:17-04:00

Nurturing Resilience and Mental Strength Through Creativity

Strength is often only considered in only one way: physically. But we also have to teach our children about mental strength which is arguably more important in today’s hectic world. My story, Doug’s Dung, is about how a dung beetle is mocked by his peers for being too weak to lift the heavy balls of dung like the others. You’re not strong or powerful. You’ve just given up!” they jeered... A passing butterfly helps Doug realize his strength in another way, and it doesn’t take long before Doug’s creativity begins to blossom!  Doug is so inspired to make art that he becomes completely absorbed in it, taking inspiration from the world around him. Even when the other dung beetles criticize or laugh at him, he retains the grit, determination and self-belief to continue creating more amazing art sculptures. When nobody comes to see Doug’s first art exhibition, he clearly feels a little sad and disappointed, but he finds the strength to overcome his sadness and disappointment and is more determined than ever to carry on making art. After all, he doesn’t need justification from others. It is something which gives Doug happiness in itself. Eventually, the butterfly passes by once more to admire Doug’s art and before long, the whole garden has come to see his exhibition.   Our children can sometimes feel down-trodden with the first failed attempt at a new pursuit or can be so influenced by their peers that they begin to doubt their own judgement. It’s important to gently express to them how giving up too early can sometimes mean you feel even more defeated and it often takes lots of practice to get better at any task. Artistic and creative activities are often especially challenging in this way. If your child has a new and exciting idea and others cannot see their vision, it could make them feel it’s not worth pursuing. This is something which happens to author-illustrators, like myself a great deal! Sometimes an idea just isn’t quite ready to share, sometimes it needs a bit more refining, and sometimes you need a break in order to see the problems within your creative idea. This is all part of the creative process and should be praised. All new ideas from our children should be encouraged. It is great to sometimes work on art with children with the understanding that we don’t know the final outcome, it might go differently than planned, or a mistake could turn into a whole new idea and turn into something even better! Nurturing creativity, rather than avoiding failure, is a great way to also conduct yourself as a grown up. Creative thinking and trying new things is courageous and no matter what your age. You have the ability to ride that creative train just like Doug did. Take the lead with creativity and trying new things, and be unafraid to make mistakes.  When you model grit for your child, you show them that risk-taking requires determination and self-belief.

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Nurturing Resilience and Mental Strength Through Creativity 2020-06-23T16:36:58-04:00

Four Ways to Support Your Shy Child

Part of living a full life involves having new experiences. New experiences help us grow and develop as a person, gain confidence, and build self-esteem. Whether it’s starting a new job, taking up a new hobby, or meeting new people, most of us are familiar with a feeling of shyness or anxiety that can be stirred up within even the most extroverted personalities.  Sometimes shyness can affect us in all sorts of negative ways. It’s important to let our kids know that we all feel this emotion from time to time, and that there are lots of strategies to help us cope with new experiences without being overcome with anxiety.   Shyness is the main theme of Magination Press book Sophie’s Shell. Sophie is a happy snail who wants to learn more about the world around her. In fact, she is counting down the days before she can start school. When she gets to school though, that all seems to change. Sophie’s shy feeling is so strong that she has to keep popping back into her shell. POP! Parents may also identify with this. Many have had the experience of taking an excited child to a birthday party, but upon arrival, they could hardly look up, didn’t want to play, dance, or join in with the games, and just clung to their leg for the entire time. As a parent, you can feel surprised and frustrated and want to say, “Just go and enjoy yourself!”, “Don’t be shy!”, “Speak up!”, but these reactions won’t help your child or you. How You Can Help Don’t draw attention to it In Sophie’s Shell, Sophie has many episodes of feeling shy. This is often because people are paying lots of attention to her, even if it’s for positive things like admiring her beautiful art. Adults can help children when they are feeling shy by simply carrying on calmly and not drawing attention to it. Discreetly asking other adults to do the same can also help. Everyone feels shy sometimes, even grown ups Let your child know that everyone can feel shy in certain situations, and that it’s not something to feel ashamed of. Shyness can make us feel uncomfortable: sometimes Sophie has “a wobbly feeling in her tummy.” Share with your child times when you have felt shy, how you coped with it, and how the feeling went away. Little by little With all experiences, the more familiar you are with a new situation, the easier it becomes and the less shy you feel. This means being patient and believing that being in new situations will get easier.  Before a new experience, talk to your child about where they are going and how many people might be there.  Suggest a way to make a new friend, such as smiling and saying, “Hi.”   Arrive to a party early, so there are fewer people. This can help your child get used to the environment without them feeling they are arriving to lots of new faces.  Bring a conversation piece. Encourage your child to bring

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Four Ways to Support Your Shy Child 2020-03-23T14:17:06-04:00