Thank you for your interest in my AWAKE children's picture and activity book to improve sleep for children struggling with insomnia and anxiety! This is a project that combines my numerous passions as both a practicing artist and a mental health therapist. I hope this book provides children (and adults!) with comfort in knowing they are not alone in their quest for sleep. Perfect for caregivers and mental health practitioners---the books will be available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble in both print and digital formats.
Why Childhood Insomnia?
As a child, I suffered from insomnia, feeling that I was the only one awake in the middle of the night. I would try all sorts of "experiments" to make sure that I would fall asleep: from running in place right before bed to exhaust myself (that didn't work) to laying on the couch hours before bedtime in the hopes that sleep would be a natural transition (that didn't work either!). I was left lying awake with the "hamster wheel" of thoughts in my brain running. I would also often wake early in the morning but this time, I would get out of bed hours before my parents woke up and draw or stitch, finding comfort in these activities.
But it's not just personal, I explored this topic for my masters thesis in Mental Health Counseling and found that childhood insomnia and anxiety are the two most common caregiver concerns reported to medical and mental health professionals. They are distressing to the child and their family and can also lead to depression, anxiety, and substance use disorders later in life. But there is hope! Treatment in childhood that explores underlying emotional processes and environmental factors coupled with developing coping skills can lead to long-term improved sleep.
How will AWAKE help children?
The story follows a young boy who lies awake night after night, counting sheep, and still not able to sleep. One night he becomes drawn to the moon and decides to capture it for himself with the aid of his three animal companions and his favorite swing. No spoilers, but this book teaches an easy-to-learn meditation technique to use for children (and adults!). In addition to the picture book, I also have created an accompanying activity book with worksheets and coloring pages to explore and express feelings and fears, instructions and templates for making the animal characters from the book, and a meditation script based on the picture book.
What makes AWAKE unique?
AWAKE also combines my love of creating in textiles and paint. I completed the illustrations of the boy in watercolor and ink. The moon and surrounding night sky were embroidered using hand-dyed threads on hand-dyed fabric, all completed by yours truly! Completed over 18 months, the embroideries show the phases of the moon as they arc across the pages from the beginning to the end of the book. The final artistic step was digitally blending the paintings and embroideries into full-page spreads. See my instagram for process videos @sfkcreate!
Risks and challenges
All of the painted and embroidered illustrations for the AWAKE picture book are complete and have been digitally laid-out. It will be released on May 5, 2019 to coincide with Children's Mental Health Matters Awareness week.
There are a few more drawings to complete for the activity book, and then it will be laid out for print and digital format. The AWAKE activity book will be released in June 2019 as many children begin summer break.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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