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Healthy For Both Body And Soul

Tuula Pere Author Interview

Scared to Swim follows a young child who is eager to learn how to swim but is fearful of the busy swimming pool. What was the inspiration for the idea behind Lillian’s character?

First of all, I must advertise that Finland is indeed a country with thousands of lakes. Much of the summertime is spent on the shores of the lakes and by the sea, and the use of swimming pools is active during the winter. For this reason, good swimming skills are essential for the safety of children.

There are, of course, other good reasons. Swimming is healthy for both body and soul. I learned to swim when I was very young. I immensely enjoyed the lakes and summer nature when I spent my childhood in a small rural village in Finnish Lake District. And diving was fun!

I was the oldest child in my family, so I also participated in teaching younger siblings to swim. I was a popular swimming teacher because I always kept my promise and never loosened my grip unless it was mutually agreed. The feeling of being in safe hands is most important when a child learns something new and challenging.

In indoor swimming pools, a child may be afraid of the hustle and bustle around them. Loud noises are unpleasant for many, too. In particular, shy and sensitive children suffer, and a pleasant thing can turn uncomfortable and scary. With this book, I wanted to help every real-life Lillian. Over the years, I’ve met many of them.

The Little Fears series gives young readers the tools needed to handle fear. What is a key tool shared in this book that will be built upon throughout your series?

Six books have already been published in the Little Fears series, and more are on the way. The fears they talk about are very different and of various sizes.

But, regardless of what the others say, every fear exists for the child. This unpleasant thing can cast a shadow on the child’s whole life.

The key tool that unites these Little Fears stories is a two-way solution. It involves a helpful adult who takes the child’s fear seriously and seeks a solution. It also includes the child’s opportunity and ability to express the concerns instead of drawing back and feeling left alone with the trouble.

Creating an atmosphere of trust, rather than downplaying grief, is important for the adults to remember. This change of attitude may take time, but it is worth working with. At its best, it can save children a lot of harm for the rest of their lives.

In many cases, the reactions of adults surprised me when I presented the Little Fears series at international book fairs, for example. I have met people who have come to seek advice for the parental challenges of their daily lives or asked me to write a new book about some of the fears connected to their families. I have also encountered those adults who burst into tears and said they would have needed a similar book when they were children. Their fears may have plagued them until the adult years.

What is a common fear young children have about swimming and how can parents help them overcome it?

Although children generally enjoy water games, the situation may change as the playing becomes a lesson in swimming. Performance pressures hamper a relaxed attitude towards learning a new skill. Children may compete to see who is the quickest to learn, the bravest in diving, or who swims fastest. A joyful hobby turns into a tough competition.

The children may also fear that they will be a disappointment to their parents or swimming instructors. The family may have traveled a long way to swim on the beach with high expectations. Or swimming course has been an expensive parental sacrifice that should result in some achievement. Failure can make a child feel utterly disappointed and give up the effort for good.

Children also have concerns about their safety. What if I sink under the surface and no one notices? What if I draw water into my lungs? What if no one hears me screaming for help? Fears like this are, in my opinion, the most serious because they are related to the child’s basic safety.

There are a few simple things to keep in mind for parents. Learning any new skill requires time, patience, and a safe environment. It is best to forget all about performance pressures and unnecessary requirements. The grown-ups must focus on making the children feel protected and happy to practice the new thing at their own pace.

What is the next book in the Little Fears series?

After the present six books in the Little Fears series, it’s time to introduce two new books later this year – both illustrated again by a very creative Catty Flores, who has an eye for the child’s view of the situations. Both stories, “Noise All Over” and “The Giant Legs,” talk about celebrations and crowds in separate ways.

In the first one, “Noise All Over,” the Dinosaur Rock Band concert for children turns out to be an unpleasant surprise for the little Liam. The loud music is painful to his sensitive ears, and the only solution is to escape! There are other noisy elements in the book as well, to make it possible to discuss this problem with children.

“The Giant Legs” may be a surprising name for a book about fears. It tells about Elliot, who doesn’t like family gatherings. At Grandpa’s party, he feels uncomfortable in the noisy group and escapes to the attic. His uncle finds a way to lure him back to the others. The crowd looks less scary when Elliot observes it while walking on high stilts! These old playthings, wooden legs, provide many fun moments for the entire party, and Elliot is no longer afraid to participate in the joint celebration.

Adults should remember that parties and crowds may look very different when viewed from a child’s gaze level – and sound different as a child listens to them.

Author Links: Facebook | Website

“Little Fears” is a book series about the various concerns that children can have. Sometimes, minor harms may grow into big worries if they are ignored. Fortunately, there are fun ways and gentle tools to handle such situations, often through play.

Lillian wants to take swimming lessons, like some of her friends.
However, it’s very noisy at the swimming pool, especially in the children’s pool, where things can get wild at times. It frightens Lillian and makes her back away from the pool.
“What if I sink to the bottom and no one notices?” Lillian says, worried.
Once Dad and Lillian start practicing together, she conquers her fear of swimming.

Scared to Swim (Little Fears)

Lillian is taking a bath one day and decides that it would be fun to learn how to swim. Her father agrees and quickly signs her up for swimming lessons. But that night Lillian feels that she may have been too hasty in her decision and starts to worry. Sure enough, when she is in class she is frightened by the noise and wild activity in the class. How will Lillian ever learn to swim?

Scared to Swim is an educational children’s book that shows young readers how to conquer their fear, specifically their fear of swimming. Many parents, myself included, think that sending their child off to swim lessons solves their swimming problem. But for some kids all the activity of a swim class can make them nervous. Author Tuula Pere illustrates this point perfectly in her children’s book.

I loved the art in the book as it made Lillian’s emotions throughout the story very plain. The dramatic enhancement of emotion on the characters make for some funny scenes, like when Lillian says she wants to learn how to swim. I literally laughed out loud when I saw her waving her arms around as if she was swimming.

This bright kids book sends a powerful message to young readers that if they trust in their parents, and give it a good try, together they can accomplish anything. I thought this book was going to show the parent encouraging their child to take the class. I was delighted to see that the parent is the one that helps their child learn a new skill and gain confidence in themselves. This shows young readers that relying on family can be powerful.

Scared to Swim is about so much more than swimming, and all of these ideas are shared in an easy to understand and beautifully illustrated picture book. This is a fantastic book to read multiple times as I’m sure that every time a child reads it they will pick up a new subtle but important lesson.

Pages: 34 | ISBN: 9523254510

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