It has almost been a year since the That's Okay children's emotions, feelings and mental health (so many different phrases to call it, I'm not sure what to pick!) book launched.
Since then, the reviews I have received have been incredible. Parents and people working with children giving feedback that this colourful emotions guidebook is making a difference.
We've all been there, where we've started a project and have felt unmotivated to continue because it hasn't been received by others of how we hoped. We can often get excited by our own ideas, which quickly we become disinterested in because of the high expectations we set for ourselves and our projects.
There have been some moments of course with That's Okay, as is the nature with being human. I've had some sleepless nights thinking the book is going to take off the next day because I've created a social media post or invested in advertising.
The next day, I have felt disheartened to see that there may not be orders for a few days. My own insecurities have made me feel flat and unmotivated. And I'm not ashamed to say that (I used to feel bad for admitting that kind of thing!).
But, I'm glad to say those moments have been few and far between. And the popularity of the book has been evident. Those reviews keep me going. The fantastic photographs from friends of their children enjoying the book has been incredibly special - one friend's daughter even took it in for World Book Day!
I've also got involved with a number of book readings online with Openwoodgate Preschool who have kindly invited me back. I was incredibly humbled to see these cute and cool plush creatures that Miss Wardman created based on the colourful creatures!
I love creating things from my imagination and I'm glad this book is helping so many children with emotional awareness. As a result I hope they will grow to be compassionate and more resilient to the trials that life can throw at us.
To say thank you to all of those who have supported me so far, I created an animation with the help of Simon Wells who provided the voice over. This resource is entirely free and has all the characters in the book. The reviews have shown me how important it is that children have access to this kind of resource.
I'm not a professional animator, so this took me a while to put together and I hope everyone enjoys it (like Halle did below, who's almost 2!). You can watch it by clicking here.
There's a lot more going on at the minute with the books. Here's an update on progress:
- Augmented reality integration with the books - so when you scan it with your phone, the character will appear on screen along with the voice. This should be completed very soon, I have installed the software to create this.
- Text-based adventure game. Children and parents will be able to select the various feelings which will show the emotions characters. Each time a character is discovered, they will unlock a downloadable colouring sheet. I hope to also incorporate a quiz. I have started creating this, just having trouble with some styling, but once I've overcome it I hope it will be finished soon.
- Digital colouring book. Just an idea at the moment, but I want to create an app where you can colour in the emotions characters on your phone or iPad.
- Guided meditation for children. Character has been created for this and I am writing the script. I've asked Simon Wells to do the voice over for this.
- Guided meditation book. Off the back of the animation, I hope to create another book.
- That's Earthmazing climate change book. My next big project. I have created all the characters but working on the practicalities on how children can get involved with looking after our planet. I hope to release this soon.
- Laser-printed products. I am in discussions with a friend about producing character products using wood to sell for charity. He has kindly created a first concept which looks great.
So all in all, this year should be very exciting for the That's Okay brand and for all the children, parents and those who work with kids supporting their mental health.
After these are done, I want to create an affordable course to help people produce their own children's books from writing and illustrating to self-publishing and marketing.
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