Join us in celebrating The Worry Balloon book birthday! We sat down with Musa Mónica Mancillas to learn all about the inspiration behind this book.
But first, a little bit about the book:
In this thoughtful and reassuring picture book, Mónica Mancillas’s text and Betty C. Tang’s illustrations show how one child experiences anxiety and worry, providing different tools to practice mindfulness and strengthen one’s mental health
Where did you get the idea to write this particular story?
I came up with the idea for The Worry Balloon at the end of lockdown. My daughter (an only child) had spent a year at home doing distance learning and had developed separation anxiety. The idea of going back to school after over a year of being isolated at home with me was suddenly frightening, and something that many other children were also contending with. Having grown up with a parent struggling with anxiety and depression, but without the tools to effectively manage them during a time when mental health issues carried the additional burden of stigma, I felt that it was extremely important to provide children with the language and tools to address and normalize their own worries at an early age.
What was your favorite part of the publication process with this story?
While the entire publication process has been a positive experience so far, I have to say that working with Betty C. Tang has been an absolute joy. She was able to bring Isla’s story to life in a way that I never imagined. Her illustrations are so rich in color and warmth, while also completely capturing the emotional journey that Isla goes through. I couldn’t be more pleased with the way the book came out.
What message are you hoping readers will take from this story?
My hope is that young readers who read The Worry Balloon will learn that worry is not only a very normal part of the human experience, but something that can be managed with the right tools. I also hope that they will be able to use the tools provided at the back of the book to manage their anxieties, not only during childhood, but for the rest of their lives.
What comes next for you as an author?
I have a lot of projects on the burner at the moment! My third picture book, entitled How to Speak in Spanglish (illustrated by Olivia de Castro), comes out through Penguin Workshop on August 22nd of this year. My middle grade debut, Sing it Like Celia, will be released by Penguin Workshop next Spring. I have a non-fiction book entitled Leyendas/Legends: Sixty Extraordinary Leaders, Icons, Innovators, Scientists, Athletes, Artists, Change-Makers, and Trailblazers from Latin America coming out through Chronicle in 2025. And I’m currently working on two unannounced middle grade novels, which will be released in 2024 and 2025.
What three recommendations would you give to writers just starting out?
Las Musas Speak
Welcome to our blog!