Positive Parrot & Negative Newt helping children's mental health and wellbeing
Series of books designed by Hull-based business Inspire Ignite to help children with their mental health and wellbeing

Member Article

Yorkshire business helping children return to school after lockdown

The co-founders of a Hull-based business, set up to champion the mental health and wellbeing of young people, have written a series of books which they say will help prepare children returning to school in September after living through lockdown.

Sue Altass and Hannah Cheshire, from Inspire Ignite, are experts in children’s mental health, with over 40 years of combined experience between them. They have written 8 short stories in total, designed to help primary age children with their mental health and wellbeing, with Positive Parrot and Negative Newt guiding the way.

Sue Altass, who spent 20 years working in the NHS developing Mental Health services, said the summer holidays is the perfect time for parents to read the books with their children.

“The mental health and wellbeing of young people is high on the agenda of both parents and schools as we approach the start of a new school year after an unprecedented 6 months away from the classroom. That’s 6 months out of routine, without socialising and interacting with others.

“Going back is going to be very difficult for a lot of children and they may need some extra help. Even those who have had some days back in school have found it to be a very different experience. They may no longer have that sense of structure and stimulation that is provided by the school environment. There hasn’t been much opportunity to be with their friends and to get that social support that is essential for mental well-being.

“Positive Parrot and Negative Newt are great characters that children love and understand. It’s really humbling to hear the wonderful feedback from children and parents who have already read them and now feel more confident.”

Meanwhile, Hannah Cheshire, a social worker for 20 years, said:

“We use emotional vocabulary to help emotional growth. The books include questions that prompt a conversation between parents and children about emotional wellbeing without the child having to focus on what may be distressing them.

“For instance, the first story, ‘Mr Blue Sky’, sees Positive Parrot talking to Negative Newt about different choices we can make, how to be mindful, how to make positive choices and how to put negative things that have happened behind us, in order to face the future in a much more confident way. And as you work your way through the books, Negative Newt becomes more confident and comfortable with himself - and, of course, much happier.

“We really believe this is a great time to read the books with your children, discuss the content and questions - and help to prepare them emotionally for going back to school.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Fiona Dwyer .

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