‘Glad to be Dan’ is the first children’s novella for mum of two and Happiness specialist Joanna Howarth. It launched on the 10th September 2016 at Write Blend in Liverpool, ‘Glad to be Dan’ follows the story of a little boy who is feeling very sad. This delightful and charming story includes a range of mindfulness exercises to help young children learn to cope with different, sometimes difficult emotions like sadness and anxiety.
“Almost three quarters of teachers feel young people are under more pressure now than two years ago,” says Joanna. “I couldn’t be more excited to see this book come to life. Feeling supported and learning the techniques to conquer different feelings are key to building resilience and happiness in our children.”
Joanna, a Mindfulness practitioner, also runs The Happiness Club whose mission is to help people be happy. She penned ‘Glad to be Dan’ with celebrated Storyteller, children’s writer and current Disney Winnie the Pooh Laureate for the North West Jude Lennon. Joanna’s husband, graphic designer Trevor Howarth was tasked with imagining Dan’s world for the book. The design has bright colours and bold shapes which makes it perfect for young children as well as those coming out of primary school.
I (Jennifer Gilmour) personally have read ‘Glad to be Dan’ with my two eldest children and it has helped them when they are feeling low or frustrated. Now that we have read the book a few times, my eldest daughter aged six will read it to her younger sibling aged four.
I am a survivor of domestic abuse and it has also helped me with my family to use the happiness jar, which can be used for writing positive memories from the day or taking out the notes previously written to help see the positives when feeling low. For many years I have found it hard to see the positives but now this book alongside my children help me to pin point those positives even in the hardest of days, from perhaps having a chocolate bar to having a hug – it could be anything. The techniques used within the book should be used by us adults just as much as children as our day’s increase with the pressures of the world and our jobs demand more from us. I would also recommend ‘Glad to be Dan’ if you have children who can become overwhelmed by pressures in their life or to aid those low moments you may see.