Larissa Collins is a clinical psychologist who has worked with children for over 25 years in mental health, child protection and school settings. She currently works in private practice and as a school counsellor. Larissa often uses children’s picture books as part of therapy. She aims to write books that are helpful for children and parents to promote coping and to build resilience. This is her debut as an author. Larissa is a proud mother of two children. She lives on the beautiful Mid North Coast of NSW, with her human and animal family.
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Larissa Collins is the debut author of this book. The book was published by Austin Macauley in the UK. I do not know who the illustrator is as they are an employee of the publisher, Austin Macauley and hence have completed this as part of their job role and do not get acknowledgement.
WHAT is it called and what is it about? What is your favourite part of this book?
Be Brave Beatrice. It is about a little girl who is sick and cannot swallow her medicine. She tries…. and vomits it up, everywhere. Her cat runs and hides, not being a fan of vomit.
I do have to say – I like the vomit scene. It is just so gross and messy and unpleasant. I also like the Dad and how he loves her so much and finds ways to help her. The ending gives hope and is uplifting. It is hard to pick my favourite part.
WHEN is its release / launch date?
It has already been released on 29 January 2021.
WHERE did the inspiration for this book come from?
In the bigger picture, my Dad. He always wrote us poems and put them in our lunch boxes when we were kids, or wrote us stories about our animals. He was extremely creative – he acted, directed live shows, sang and wrote. My parents also owned a bookshop from 4 weeks before I was born, to when I was 7 years old. I virtually grew up in the Collins Bookshop in Tamworth.
More specifically for the actual story, I was inspired by my daughter, Olivia. She was sick with tonsillitis and had a number of real-life vomiting episodes. She has a very strong gag reflect – so what goes down, must come back up! I was doing an Australian Writers Centre course on writing picture books and had to submit a draft by the next day when my daughter became more unwell. We took her to the emergency department and then spent the next 7 hours through the night in ED. I was pretty worried and tired, and only had a few hours to submit a story. ‘I can write about this’, I realised when no other brilliant ideas had emerged.
WHY is this book meaningful to you and why would its message resonate with readers?
This book is meaningful because almost every child and every parent will have a struggle with their health, or child’s health and the battle about getting children to take, or swallow their medication. I think this makes the message universal. When discussing this with an adult work colleague, she admitted that she still has to hold her nose to swallow medication and that this book must have been written about her. I wanted to give parents some ideas, make children laugh at the mess and have a light-hearted and fun look at taking medication, while providing some basic distraction and motivational strategies that can actually help. I also wanted children not to be scared of doctors.
HOW do you feel about the illustrations? Do they convey the feeling or mood you envisioned?
I love the illustrations. The illustrator was very responsive to suggestions that I made, and had some very clever inclusions, such as Catflix (instead of Netflix) being on the TV screen in one image. I love the bright colours and the way they personified the medicine on the magically ‘green’ page. That one is definitely my favourite. I sent a photo of my girl’s first ever pet cat, so the cat is her, and has characteristics of my daughter (brown curly hair) and my Mum (Nan on the tennis court) and the Dad (tall, dark spiky hair, with glasses) that are true in real life. This gave another level of relatability to family and friends when reading the book. The illustrations do a wonderful job of conveying Beatrice’s mood and ill health and then later, her joy at being well again.
How have you promoted this book and how can we find it?
This book has been promoted through my two social media sites, Instagram and Facebook, as well as on my author website.
I have done an interview with our local paper, The Manning River Times and they printed an article (on the front page!) on Wed March 10. I am organising some author talks through our library preschool storytime events, as well as arranging some talks and book readings at local preschools and schools. I am providing information to writing groups that I am a member of such as Writing NSW and the Australian Society of Authors and other known newsletters, such as your own.
You can order the book through book stores, provided they are big enough, and also on eBay.
Thank you, Larissa! All the best of success! 🙂
#bebravebeatrice #childrenshealth #empowerment