Year 13 Lowena is writing and illustrating the series of short stories, entitled ‘In Search of Lost Lands’, in order to support children to better understand their emotions and actively engage with any worry or concern that they might have.
The book couldn’t come sooner – the NSPCC has recently warned that rising stress levels have taken a toll on the mental and emotional health of young people since the first coronavirus lockdown was imposed last year. Calls to the charity’s ChildLine service reached nearly 43,000 between March and October, with mental health worries making up more than a third of all its counselling sessions, new figures have shown.
Lowena said: “Initially I was going to write a short book for very young children but the idea just kept on evolving. If we want children to be mentally strong, it’s incredibly important that we help them to understand and engage with their worries and fears. Literature is such a powerful way of doing this – it’s a safe space for children to learn how to adapt to and manage their distress.”
Lowena undertook extensive academic research on the role of fear in children’s literature and film in order to create the book as well as drawing on her experiences reading with the school’s youngest pupils. Truro High’s Sixth Form students regularly read with Pre-Prep pupils in order to build their confidence and share the joy of literature together.
She continued: “Talking to the girls really consolidated what my academic research was saying – they were very open about the fact that they actively sought-out high stakes narratives and enjoyed engaging with fear.”
Lowena is undertaking the project as part of the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) and is hoping once it is completed to get the work professionally published.
She is currently studying A Level English Literature, Art & Design and History at Truro High School.
Alongside her studies, Lowena has been choreographing and leading rehearsals for large group routines for the school’s annual dance show since she was 15-years-old.
Keen to get as many students as possible engaged with writing, last year she even founded a student newspaper designed to look at the big issues affecting the world around us.