Wildling Books Offer Hope and Guidance to A Younger Generation.

Sunday 10th October marked World Mental Health Day, an international day for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy against social stigma.

In uncertain times like these it is all the more important to continue to speak up, talk with others and change our culture around mental health including with our wildlings (aka our children).

Mental health conditions amongst the youth of Aotearoa have doubled in the past decade and are rapidly increasing with the pandemic and constant uncertainty. 

Aiding our youth to understand and express their emotions is where Wildling Books comes in.

Established in 2018, multi-award winner author/illustrator Craig Phillips and social media manager, author and entrepreneur Rebekah (Bex) Lipp came together to create the Aroha series with a vision to bridge the gap between what the professionals know and what parents and teachers need to know to support the mental wellbeing of our wildlings BEFORE they end up in crisis. 

Wildling Books produced their first book in the Aroha series called Aroha’s Way: A children’s guide through emotions in 2018.

The book covers four rather uncomfortable emotions associated with anxiety and how Aroha managed those emotions.

A book like no other, it was initially met with skepticism about whether it would sell, but in fact the opposite happened – it hit the New Zealand best-seller’s list!

Highlighting the real need for the book series, parents and teachers were desperately looking for help to empower their wildlings in dealing with the fast-changing world we live in. 

Aroha’s Way has since sold tens of thousands of copies, is available in English and te reo Māori and more recently they’ve been asked to translate it into German and Spanish too. The book has gone on to grace Whitcoulls Kids Top 50 list reaching #2 in the country, with their newest release How Do I Feel? reaching #4. 

Co-Founder Rebekah Lipp

With the massive positive impact on the lives of parents, teachers and children across New Zealand with Aroha’s Way, Wildling Books followed up with three more books; Let It Go: Emotions are energy in motion – which covers sadness, anger, shame and fear; Aroha Knows – focused on getting into nature; and their newest book How Do I Feel? A Dictionary of Emotions for Children with over 60+ definitions to help children label and understand their emotions. 

How Do I Feel? is an in-depth look at how emotions feel in our body and how they are helpful. Wildling Books wants to expand emotional literacy in our wildlings, not dumb things down to the basic emotions, but really assist wildlings to figure out what they truly feel. 

Speaking on the need for such a book Co-Founder Rebekah Lipp says “We need a change in culture, where children grow up talking about how they feel and learning tools to manage their feelings in safe and healthy ways. Maybe then we will see some changes in our terrible mental health stats in this country. With a change in culture, maybe then we might be supportive of those that speak out and help them so they don’t end up suffering any more than they already are.” 

How Do I Feel? provides over 140 pages covering a range of emotions including empathy, compassion, curiosity, frustration, apathy, acceptance, suspicion and remorse, just to name a few.

Lipp believes it is a gift to give children the tools to know how to recognise what they truly feel and to know it is okay to feel all emotions.

“When they know that no emotion is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ and that all emotions provide messages, then it takes away any attachment to that emotion being part of who they are. They aren’t ‘bad’ for feeling a certain way. We hope that yet again we are able to spark conversations between adults and wildlings about emotions and how we feel, because it is these conversations that are instrumental in creating cultural change.”

The Aroha Book Series is available online and at stockists across Auckland including Whitcoulls, Unity Books and The Poi Room. 

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