In this excerpt from Varoom 41 Laura Carlin reveals the process behind her book with Bronwen Ballard, Your Mind Is Like The Sky, which shows children that worries and negative thoughts are normal and helps them develop healthy thinking habits.

Your Mind Is Like the Sky is a book about reassuring children (and adults) that you’re going to experience a whole range of emotions and that that is ok. Some of these will feel positive, some negative, but it’s important to recognise them. The author, Bronwen Ballard, is very much an expert in the field of focusing on being aware of what you’re sensing and feeling in the moment, without interpretation or judgement, and she simplifies her message without appearing condescending or patronising towards a younger reader.

All images from Your Mind Is Like the Sky by Bronwen Ballard and Laura Carlin, published by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books

Occasionally (very rarely) book visuals come easily for me, but this wasn’t one of them! I was nervous of taking away from Bronwen’s beautifully edited words. There seems to be no wastage. Too much going on in the visuals, or straying too much from the text would distract and get in the way. The most important thing – I think – is that a child is reassured by the narrative, as they follow a girl who responds to different emotions.

The weather and clouds are important metaphors in the book, as Bronwen compares changing feelings to changing skies. I love trying to give the sense of the sky using ink, I move it around on wet paper. You stand around for ages and it gets very messy, but every so often you get one that you feel achieves the right mood for a piece. 

To read more from Laura Carlin purchase Varoom 42

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