When Worry Takes Hold

Children - Picture Book
Kindle Edition
Reviewed on 08/07/2017
Buy on Amazon

    Book Review

Reviewed by Mamta Madhavan for Readers' Favorite

When Worry Takes Hold by Liz Haske handles an interesting concept; that of worrying and how it can affect you and what needs to be done to break free from worrying. Maya was sleeping one night when the lights went out. Worry snuck into her mind. It grew so big in her mind that there was space only for darkness and fear inside her. Even when she went to school, Maya was nervous as Worry clouded everything. It followed her everywhere and she realized that Worry was going to stay in her life. Her parents started worrying about her Worry. Would Maya be able to get rid of her Worry? What happens later as the story progresses is uplifting and encouraging to all young readers who worry.

The story is educational, informative, and inspiring and it helps children of all ages to overcome their worrying thoughts and feelings in a positive manner. The illustrations breathe life into the author’s concept, giving it more clarity and energy. Maya’s character is real, relatable, and tangible to readers and the book will definitely help all parents, educators, counselors, and therapists who are trying to help children overcome worry. Books like this are a must-read as they handle a relevant topic beautifully and with suggestions on how to get over it in a good and positive way. Following Maya and how she gets rid of Worry and breaks free from its strangling grip gives hope to children and their parents who have been handling worrying issues in their lives.

Jack Magnus

When Worry Takes Hold is a children’s picture book written by Liz Haske and illustrated by InSong Nam. Maya hadn’t always been frightened all of the time, but then Worry came to visit her one night when she was alone in bed, and the lights were out. Worry was like a living thing, and it grew and grew until she couldn’t think of anything else. All she could do was worry. She was frightened of going to school on her own and would ask her parents to walk her there. After a while, it got so bad that Maya was frightened of going to a friend’s birthday party or playing in the park. Worry had made her fearful and insecure. There was no room for her to have fun because there were just too many things to worry about. Then one day, Maya learned about Courage, which was way bigger that Worry and better, and, best of all, Courage could be easily called up by using calming breaths. Each day, Maya grew stronger and braver, and her world became a happy place again.

Liz Haske’s children’s picture book, When Worry Takes Hold, addresses worry, anxiety and fear and the crippling effect they can have on a child’s enjoyment of life. InSong Nam’s brilliant illustrations perfectly accompany the text which shows how Maya’s life gets smaller and sadder as that black cloud over her head gets more and more prominent. When Worry Takes Hold is a marvelous way to address a child’s fears and show that worry is fine when it’s there to protect you, but courage will let you explore your world and realize that you’ll be just fine. I especially like the pictures showing children doing breathing exercises and the step-by-step instructions at the back of the book entitled Find Your Courage: How to Breathe Like Maya. The directions are clear and easy-to-follow and provide an excellent opportunity to follow story time with an impromptu breathing session. When Worry Takes Hold is most highly recommended.

Ashley Tetzlaff

Ever wanted to teach your kids calming breathing techniques in a way that is interesting and easy for them to follow and understand? Then pick up Liz Haske’s book, When Worry Takes Hold. Maya is a young girl who is very worried all the time and that brings darkness into her life and into the lives of those around her. But after she learns a breathing technique, she is able to focus on bringing Courage in and pushing Worry out. The beautiful illustrations by InSong Nam really grab one's attention and are exceptional. When Worry Takes Hold seems to be geared to the 4-7 age range, but can be helpful even to adults (a lot less boring than an instructional booklet!).

The cover of When Worry Takes Hold really got my attention, and I thought that and the other illustrations inside by InSong Nam were SO good! Her art makes a good book exceptional. The characters (especially Maya and the Worry cloud) really seem to come to life. I thought Liz Haske’s story was a very good way to illustrate the reason breathing techniques are used and how to go about it. However, I did have some concern that children might come away from the book with the idea that it is bad for them to have negative emotions or concerns, and their parents won’t like it. Although, there is a sentence that says that sometimes worry is good (like to protect you), so that is helpful. I think breathing techniques are helpful. I think positive thinking and focus are great, as long as children don’t feel ashamed about being worried sometimes.

Barbara Fanson

What a wonderful story about how to overcome worries and develop courage! When Worry Takes Hold is a story that most children and parents can relate to. Author Liz Haske tells a story of how a young girl worries too much at home, school, parties, and at night. But, the author also provides ideas on how to conquer fear and develop courage. “The more Courage Maya had, the less powerful Worry felt.” It’s nice to see characters rise above their problems and break free. With each deep breath, Maya imagines Courage coming in and Worry going out. When Worry Takes Hold demonstrates how children—and parents—can find their courage.

When Worry Takes Hold is a great combination of a powerful storyline and wonderful illustrations. I strongly encourage parents to read this book with their children, which could open up conversations about their fears. Even teachers could benefit from the excellent methods of dealing with worry that can be shared with their students. Illustrator InSong Nam provides beautiful, realistic artwork, especially the facial expressions on Maya and her parents. You can see the fear and worry in their faces, and later the sense of accomplishment. I like her technique of making the main character stand out, while the background people are dark and slightly out of focus. I like the way illustrator InSong Nam makes the artwork look like photographs—or memories—on page 28. I highly recommend this book for parents and teachers and encourage them to practice the techniques written and illustrated in When Worry Takes Hold.