The Joy Thief! is a story that helps children and adults to discover more about a subject that is often difficult to understand. Demonstrating the subjectivity of trauma, The Joy Thief! highlights how a seemingly ordinary occurrence can have a significant impact upon the wellbeing of a child, particularly if left unaddressed. Challenging the idea that trauma only occurs during more "serious" incidents, The Joy Thief! leads us to conclude that such occurrences, or rather our responses to them, may be more significant for children's mental health than we would perhaps like to admit. The story of The Joy Thief! encourages help-seeking, while challenging adults to consider the way they handle such situations. The story is written in a person-centred fashion, seeking to normalize a range of outcomes that children may experience following a traumatic experience - including the little-acknowledged phenomena of imaginary "friends." Whilst highlighting positive themes of intersectional diversity, The Joy Thief! also challenges us to consider issues of parental absence, inattention, and invalidation within the context of the needs of children.
Above all, The Joy Thief! is a story of hope.
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"This book demonstrates beautifully a gentle reminder to parents about the way that children can perceive the world and then models to children how talking about difficult things helps. Supporting better mental health and wellbeing for children is invariably about how the adults around the child respond to what is so often in front of our noses, yet we fail to always see." -- Lisa Cherry, schools, services & systems consultant, and author on trauma-informed & relationship focused practice (Twitter: @_LisaCherry)
"The Joy Thief! is a joy to read and is a beautifully illustrated book with inviting and fun colours. The language is simple, using the idea of rhymes to communicate the powerful and crucial message of children sharing their fears and worries with a trusted grown up, so they can get rid of their Joy Thief and be happy. Learning to share our innermost anxieties and not hold onto trauma is an essential lesson that we need to teach at an increasingly early age." -- Deborah Somerset, safeguarding trainer and trauma-informed consultant. (Twitter: @DLSSafeguarding)
"Sean McCallum has written a lovely book with vivid colors, rhyming text and a message. He describes how the unexpected appearance of spider frightens a young girl and the subsequent distress that builds up with repeated suppression of the memory. With psychological underpinnings, this book explores the impact of keeping upsetting thoughts pent up as well as the benefit of being able to share them with someone you trust. Highly recommended." --Laurie Zelinger, PhD, ABPP, RPT-S, Board Certified Psychologist, author of Please Explain Anxiety to Me and Please Explain Alzheimer's to Me