Children’s storybook teaches tools for life

Lizzy Shortall, from Benettsbridge, author of ‘Joy’s Playground’.

BENNETTSBRIDGE-based author, Lizzy Shortall, debuts her first children’s book, ‘Joy’s Playground’, tomorrow at Khans Books, Kilkenny.
The storybook aims to help young children learn how to navigate the stresses and strains of daily life as they follow the adventures of a little girl – Joy – and her animal friends, Jumpit the frog, Torti the tortoise and others, who are having a very bad day. They all work together to help their friends overcome the challenges they face through gratitude, mindfulness and self-belief.
Now, more than ever, it’s important that we help our little ones learn how to manage anxiety, stress and change and Lizzy, a resilience trainer and former social worker, wrote the book in response to that need.
“My eldest daughter, Chloe, is in Senior Class and like all children, has been in and out of school during the Covid lockdowns. Each time she went back to school, it was like starting all over again. She was experiencing a kind of separation anxiety over and over again, because during the lockdowns she naturally became used to being at home with me, her Daddy and little sister, Amy.
“Children are like mini adults; they get stressed, anxious and they worry and that’s all normal. But it’s so important to teach them the tools to cope. As parents, we need to acknowledge what’s happening to them and to help them learn the skills to deal with what they’re feeling.
“The story’s characters learn these tools, and as a family we use them to help Chloe, and Amy, through their moments of stress.”
The book is a real family affair. Chloe and Amy (four) helped Lizzy write the book. “They picked the characters’ names and helped with the storyline. The characters have become household names at home, which is lovely!”
The book, which is beautifully illustrated by artist, Roberto Cruz, is written in a light hearted way with characters like Mike, the mixed-up monkey, who learns about mindfulness, Sasha the scared squirrel who learns about self-belief, and Geraldine the grumpy giraffe who learns about gratitude.
Lizzy’s husband, Connor is from Kilkenny and is the reason Dubliner Lizzy settled in the Marble county. Her first novel, ‘The Lotus and the Tiger’ was published in July. Writing it was a cathartic exercise she said, which helped her process the unresolved grief associated with the sudden death of her brother, Lar.
Lizzy will be at Khans Books, James Street, Kilkenny tomorrow (Saturday) between 2.30pm and 4.30pm for the launch of ‘Joy’s Playground’ and will be signing copies of both her books. You can also find both titles on most online bookshops.
A skilled mindfulness teacher, Lizzy provides one-to-one training to adults along with online Visionboard workshops. Visit: for more information.

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