The NAMI Ramsey County Book Club got off to a rousing start by featuring two excellent children’s books about mental illnesses, one by a Minnesota author who also works at NAMI Minnesota and the other by an author who lives in Great Britain.
The March 18 virtual event entailed reading both books out loud, followed by group discussion led by Carrie Roach. Carrie is a member of both NAMI Ramsey County and national NAMI boards.
Kate Bartlein, our guest author, read her lovely book Lennon Bruce Fire Breather and described how Lennon Bruce, a child turned dragon, learned to calm down by using a breathing technique his mother taught him.
Bartlein showed us how to use fire breathing: hold out five fingers as "trees" and breathe fire at each extended finger by slowly breathing in through our noses and out through our mouths, putting a finger down after each breath. She explained that it is easier for younger kids to show anger, which may be covering up other feelings, such as fear. She reminded us that this breathing exercise should be practiced before it's actually needed. This is her first book and thankfully she plans to write more. Besides being an author, Kate leads some of NAMI Minnesota’s parent education and support programs.
The second book was The Princess and the Fog by Lloyd Jones and was another delightful book. In the book, the princess gradually becomes enveloped in a deep fog and is only helped back to "normal" after receiving help from several people, including a doctor who gives her a potion and a wise woman who encourages the princess to talk to people about the fog.
Both books were educational and generated good discussion, including what is "normal," the blame parents often feel when their child is ill, and remembering the time when children weren’t supposed to have mental illnesses.
Join us for our next book club event on Thursday, April 15 at 7 p.m. where we will discuss a middle-grade book, The Notations of Cooper Cameron by Jane O’Reilly. The author will be joining to read passages and answer questions. The book is available in libraries.
Author: Mindy greiling
Mindy was a state representative for 20 years, served on state and national NAMI boards, and is the author of Fix What You Can, a book about her legislative work and her family's story about her son's schizo-affective disorder. She is the board president of NAMI Ramsey County.