The Worries: Shara and the Really Big Sleepover

Publisher: Puffin

Shara’s mum is going away for a couple of days with her netball team, and so Shara and her little brother Keita are going to stay with her grandfather Baba while she’s away.

The thing is, Shara doesn’t want to admit it, but she’s actually quite worried about Mum being away. She’s happy that she and Keita get to have one lovely long sleepover with Baba, but before she knows it, her Worries – squidgy orange beings that live in her pencil case and other unlikely places – are on the rampage, making her super anxious. And it’s not just Shara – Keita is also plagued by a slimy worry called Scared hiding under his pillow. How will the children cope with the Worries while Mum is away? And can the Worries be distracted – or even vanquished altogether?

This is the third in Jion Sheibani’s The Worries series, a sensitive and imaginative series of stories about children experiencing and coming to terms with worry and negative emotions. By making certain worries into cartoon-like characters (for instance, the painfully shy and mousy Em-Barrass-Ment and the spiky Badbye, who hates goodbyes) Sheibani empowers the reader to recognise familiar feelings and relate to other children experiencing them.

Shara’s attempts to distract herself from worry by being a perfectionist with her schoolwork or with perfect, sparkly stationery may be familiar to some young readers, and her journey in this book is that of realising that she doesn’t have to be perfect, or responsible for everyone else, all the time. Sheibani’s artwork in this two-colour young reader format is very appealing and accessible, making this a fun read as well as a particularly good one for mid-primary aged children who may be feeling a little anxious.

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