‘Ms Mol’s Favourite Things’: Children’s book aims to boost mental health

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After the first hard lockdown hit the world in March 2020, South African-born actress, producer and drama teacher Marlisa Doubell witnessed first-hand the effect the pandemic had on our youngest members of society and Ms Mol’s Favourite Things came to be.

Doubell, who moved to the United Kingdom in 2020, noticed a drastic drop in her niece’s happiness levels since the start of lockdown. As a mom herself, she decided that she needed to help children find their joy again.

CHILDREN’S MENTAL HEALTH BOOK AIMS TO UPLIFT AND ENTERTAIN

Doubell chose to aim her book, Ms Mol’s Favourite Things, at two- to seven-year-olds because, according to her, these children are too young to understand why the adults around them are stressed and anxious. They might not understand these emotions, but they are acutely aware of them, probably also absorbing these negative emotions.

This story is meant to uplift little ones and remind them of the things they enjoy. Ms Mol’s Favourite Things provides an escape for children, while using a simple prompt to trigger joy. With her book, Doubell hopes to boost children’s mental health during this globally difficult time.

Author Marlisa Doubell with her debut children’s book, ‘Ms Mol’s Favourite Things’. Image: Supplied

CHILDREN’S MENTAL HEALTH IN CRISIS DURING PANDEMIC

Research shows that since the beginning of the pandemic, there has been an increase in COVID-related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in children, with children six years and younger being the most affected.

“Young children take on the emotional texture of their environment and are unable to adequately express the fear-based anxiety they may be feeling. It’s important for parents to be aware of this, and to know that a great way to help little ones with anxiety is to motivate positive thought”

Child development specialist and owner of Kidz Discovery, Kathy Rautenbach

Ms Mol’s Favourite Things is meant to combat this anxiety in children by grounding them and reminding them of the things that bring them joy.

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‘MS MOL’S FAVOURITE THINGS’ – SYNOPSIS

This book follows the journey of Ms Mol, a friendly and relatable young character who shares all her favourite things with the readers, like grasshoppers and butterflies, rainbows, baking yummy treats, painting, and more. She then encourages the young reader to engage with her by asking if they like these things too.

Repetition is used throughout the book to add a sense of playfulness. At the end of the book, Ms Mol includes a page for the kids to write a list of their own favourite things.

‘Ms Mol’s Favourite Things’ by Marlisa Doubell. Image: Supplied

Doubell likens this list of favourite things to a kiddy version of a “gratitude list”. On Absolute Mama, she states:

“One of the easiest ways to engage with a young child is to ask them what their favourite thing is. You can see their little face instantly light up when they tell you”.

Since the book’s launch in December of 2021, it has received positive responses from both children and parents. Doubell is currently working on some more books in the Ms Mol series.

MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Author Marlisa Doubell. Image: Supplied

Doubell is an actress, drama teacher, writer, director, and producer. She holds a BA degree in psychology and English literature; as well as UK teachers’ qualifications QTS & NQT, specialising in Drama and English. She trained as an actor at the Academy of Live & Recorded Arts in London.

Following drama school graduation in 2000, Doubell began her career in the London film and theatre industry. After the start of the pandemic in 2020, Doubell repatriated back to London with her family. She continues to enjoy working as a teacher and in various creative capacities within the film and theatre industry.

She wrote the children’s book Ms Mol’s Favourite Things during the lockdowns for her nieces whom she missed dearly after more than a year of separation.

Ms Mol’s Favourite Things is available on Kindle or in paperback form on Amazon, Loot and select stores.

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