Understanding ‘big feelings’ and navigating family contact are the themes behind two new books for children and young people in care.
My Family Time is Mine and Roar were both written by care leavers – Bobby Hendry and Billy Black – to help children and young people understand their feelings and behaviours.
Developed by the Research Centre for Children and Families as part of the ARC Linkage Project Fostering Lifelong Connections for Children in Permanent Care, Billy and Bobby bring their own personal experiences to explore how trauma can intensify our emotions and provide practical ways to manage these feelings.
My Family Time is Mine written by Bobby Hendry is a simple self-help guide for young people in out-of-home care around family contact, including their rights about seeing their family and how trauma affects the brain and their emotions in stressful times.
The book includes practical tips young people can incorporate into their lives, particularly before and after family contact, to help regulate their emotions and better communicate with the adults around them about their feelings and what they need/want.
Billy Black’s Roar is a picture book for pre-school aged children in out-of-home care. It depicts a lion cub who has big emotions when he spends time with his father and how a gorilla carer and bear caseworker help him understand these emotions and find ways to regulate and enjoy the time he and his father have together.
Billy has also created an adult’s guide to Roar to help carers and workers guide discussions with the child and young person about their feelings and the themes that appear throughout the book.
“In Roar, I hope to provide adults with a resource for talking to children in care about the difficulties they face, navigating their family identities, emotional regulation, and the intense reactions they have… [children and young people] don’t choose to be “bad”, it happens when their brain gets too many big feelings.”
Billy hopes her book is an important step towards understanding and security for children in care.
“Our brave children can instinctively roar when they’re facing something tough. When adults find roars frustrating, it’s more effective to focus on making little lions feel loved and safe and powerful, rather than trying to teach a lion not to roar. I hope this book can help children in care remind their adults to focus on their love and safety and empowerment, to move towards the rich quality of care children deserve,” Billy said
Both books can be read online or purchased as a hardcopy (see links below).