The four-time Ironman World Champ Chrissie Wellington has turned her hand to writing children’s books in her new series, ‘The Joy in Simple‘, which is centred around uplifting and empowering young people and families. The series is influenced by her experiences as a child and now as a mother herself, and is co-authored with Susie Bush-Ramsey.
What is the motivation for writing children’s books?
Why children’s books, you may ask? Growing up, Chrissie encountered her own struggles with mental health, including battling an eating disorder and body image issues, all of which is well documented in her autobiography, ‘A Life Without Limits’. Chrissie hopes that her children’s series of empowering and heart-warming stories will encourage her own children, as well as other children and families, to embrace their differences and grow up in an environment of self-acceptance and love.
Co-author Chrissie says of the motivation behind the series: “We need to act now. I believe that children risk being the biggest victims of the pandemic over the longer term. As restrictions are eased, there is an urgent need to invest time, resources and energy in nurturing the health and wellbeing of ourselves and especially the next generation… We have been deprived of that opportunity of socialisation – to interact and connect in a rich and meaningful way with others. I believe that this isolation and disconnect has had, and is having, profound impacts on our health and wellbeing.”
What are the books about?
The two books are called ‘You’re so amazing‘ and ‘You’re so strong‘, they are centred around children protagonists appreciating the nature around them, with the anthropomorphised characters of a flower and a tree guiding the children and teaching them the importance of kindness, trust, perseverance and love. These wholesome stories come at an instrumental time for children in the UK, who have recently returned to school and sporting activities after a tough period of isolation and uncertainty during the pandemic. Wellington’s new novels emphasise the importance of supporting children’s mental health and wellbeing, and begs the question – are we doing enough to protect and improve children’s wellbeing?
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What do the books aim to do?
At the end of each book, there are 7 Simple Steps to help readers enjoy each day to its fullest. These are based on a wellbeing programme that co-author Susie illustrated and narrated in 2020 to help adults create a simpler, more satisfying life and has already been rolled out to help female prisoners and young women in the UK. Ultimately, the books aim to destigmatise the conversation around mental health, and act as a conversation starter for families.
Why make children’s books only in black and white?
The book’s illustrations do not use colour, only black and white, and this is an intentional choice by Susie and Chrissie to simply and clearly portray the books messages, and most of all, so children of any ethnicity can relate to the characters. The characters in the book have also been drawn without defining facial features, so children of all ethnicities and backgrounds can imagine themselves as the characters.