Martha the Mouse by Toronto Author and Illustrator Karen LangMonday, June 11, 2012
According to a parenting article in the Globe and Mail last April, studies have shown that "up to 10 per cent of kindergarten-aged children suffer from an anxiety disorder – a rate that jumps to more than 15 per cent of high-school students." While teachers may not necessarily pick up on anxiety disorders since they normally do not affect a child's ability to learn, parents often notice their child's unusual behaviour. One of the coping strategies mentioned in the article is to explain to the child that his or her feelings of fear and worry stem from a condition called anxiety. And what better way to begin an open dialogue than through storytelling. Allow me to introduce you to Martha the Mouse.
Martha, an adorable and quirky little mouse, bravely enters the realm of some of those worries and uncertainties that children (and even adults) sometimes experience.
She comes up with a unique strategy to help her gain a little more confidence, and she discovers how she can use her imagination to open up a world of creative fun and adventure.
Martha the Mouse is the work of talented Toronto native Karen Lang. With a background in Occupational Therapy, Lang is a mother of four who "has witnessed first hand some of their struggles with shyness, their fears, and their worries." The inspiration from her books stems from a desire to offer simple strategies for managing shyness, fears, and social anxiety. Throw in some whimsical illustrations and rhythmic poetry and you have delightful children's story that is fun to read.
There are two stories in the Martha the Mouse collection, with a third book currently underway. Lang is a self-published author and I am happy to learn that her books have been recently picked up by Chapters-Indigo. It is wonderful to know that there are books available for children which address the importance of mental health in a way that children will understand. I also love the illustrations, including this one in particular:
Both of my children enjoyed the books thanks to the rhythm and rhyme accompanied by the adorable illustrations. I truly appreciate Lang's careful selection of words and the effort she took to ensure a consistent rhythm in each verse. They are truly a pleasure to read.
Martha the Mouse books are available for purchase using PayPal on MarthatheMouse.ca at $20 for a hardcover edition or $12 for paperback. Paperback copies are also available on Chapters.Indigo.ca for $10.
Disclosure: I was sent a copy of each of her books to facilitate this review. The opinions expressed in this post are my own.