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Published by Magination Press, a children’s book imprint of the American Psychological Association, Jamie Roche, an experienced professional in the field of mental health and wellness and containing a fantastic write up by Donald Merriman, PhD NCSP, certified school psychologist at Pequenakonck Elementary School, “Tummy Troubles“, is an attempt to counter bouts of anxiety in children triggered by the fight-or-flight response. In particular, the book strives to educate parents about the fear of vomiting, medically known as emetophobia (severe fear of vomiting). As the authors explain in an eye-opening fashion in the afterword, around 9% or approximately 5.5 million kids across the globe are gripped by excessive fears that puts avoidable spikes in their endeavour to enjoy life.
Friday at the Primrose Elementary School, for little Gretchen was of special significance. It was “Pizza Day!’ However, this particular Friday turned out to be a real dampener for Gretchen. What began as a funny series of rumbles in her tummy led to a sudden and spontaneous bout of retching for Gretchen. Taunts and jibes of ‘Gretchen is retchin’ embarrassed the poor girl no end. Upon being sent home, her mother attributed her unfortunate phenomenon to an obstinate tummy bug.
However, much to her mother’s concern, Gretchen loses her appetite for Pizza and the coming Friday, she is enveloped in a cloud of doubt and apprehensive. Dr. Hernandez, the school’s counsellor, spotting Gretchen and her obvious discomfiture decides to become her saviour. Summoning her to his office, he learns what ails Gretchen and imparts to her the anxiety alleviating technique of GRIP – Ground, Refocus, Inflate and Pause. Requesting Gretchen to seat herself in a chair with feet firmly grounded (Grip), Dr. Hernandez makes Gretchen place both hands on either side of the rib cage and think hard about the where her hands meet the ribcage, before imagining two balloons where the lungs are located (Refocus). Next Dr. Hernandez exhorts Gretchen to breathe in deeply and inflate the two imaginary balloons (Inflate). Finally, when the balloons are ‘filled’, Gretchen is asked to pause a wee bit, hold her breath, relax, breathe out and let go (Pause)!
The GRIP technique relieves Gretchen from her anxiety and enables her to enjoy her delightful pizza. “Tummy Troubles” is excellent offering which parents can generously use to ensure that their children remain calm and are not unduly beset with anxiety. In fact, it would be excellent if parents can read out the book in tandem with the kids. Special shout out to Doruntina Beqiraj for the exquisitely tantalising illustrations that makes this book an absolute pleasure to read!
(Tummy Troubles by Jamie Roche is published by Magination Press a children’s book imprint of the American Psychological Association and will be available on sale from 6th June, 2023 onwards)
Thank You Net Galley for the Advance Reviewer Copy!