‘Whispa and the Waves’ is a ‘powerful and practical’ picture book about anxiety.
Written by “passionate mental health advocate” Ffion Jones
Publishing July 2024
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tiny Tree is proud to announce the acquisition of ‘Whispa and the Waves’ — a powerful and practical new picture book exploring anxiety, mental health, and mindfulness from author Ffion Jones. Worldwide rights to the book were acquired by Tiny Tree publisher James Shaw directly from the author, following a round of open submissions. The story is penned by Jones, a passionate mental health advocate, with illustrations from Elena Mascolo.
Known for helping children navigate serious topics through her work, Ffion Jones’ latest picture book may be the author’s most pertinent and personal work to date. ‘Whispa and the Waves’ is inspired by her daughter’s struggles with anxiety. “I used the concept of waves that build up and ebb away again to help her visualise her anxious feelings,” says Ffion. “The book helps children to know that these anxious feelings are normal and that they can develop their own techniques to ride the waves.”
Announced during Children’s Mental Health Week 2024, ‘Whispa and the Waves’ centres around a young mermaid with anxiety. As her worried thoughts begin to build, so does the storm around her. The book highlights how anxious thoughts can manifest from the smallest things, whilst showing children and parents how to gently calm a storm of worries.
“[Whispa and the Waves] helps children to know that these anxious feelings are normal and that they can develop their own techniques to ride the waves.”
“I often work with children who are struggling with anxiety for a variety of reasons,” adds Ffion. “My hope is that ‘Whispa’ will help children like my daughter, and the children I work with professionally, to feel validated and to work through emotions that can sometimes feel overwhelming. Books like ‘Whispa’ can be used to gently open doors to conversations whilst also providing comfort and reassurance.”
About ‘Whispa and the Waves’
‘Whispa and the Waves’ is about an anxious mermaid called Whispa, who worries about everything. One night, Whispa’s worries get bigger and bigger until they cause a storm to build. With each new worry, she is sucked deeper into the stormy seas.
Whispa thinks the storm is bigger than her, and she almost gives in to it, when a pink conch shell she is holding brings back a happy memory. This memory from Whispa’s childhood reminds her of a kinder inner voice which tells her that she knows what to do to calm the storm. Through mindful relaxation techniques, Whispa manages to calm the waves and make her way back to shore. Other storms will come, but she knows she will be able to ride the waves.
“Books like ‘Whispa’ can be used to gently open doors to conversations whilst also providing comfort and reassurance.”
‘Whispa and the Waves’ is as practical as it is powerful, offering tried and tested methods for calming anxiety whilst telling an engaging and timely story that children will love. “I was floored when I first read ‘Whispa’,” says Tiny Tree publisher James Shaw. “The story is so important right now and showcases the ways that anxiety can affect people.”.
‘Whispa and the Waves’ is illustrated by Elena Mascolo, whose magnificent, tactile, hand-painted illustrations give the book a truly magical feel and a wondrous sense of scale, lending even more weight to each beat of the story. “Elena’s illustrations are incredible,” adds James Shaw. “Her work makes this book even more powerful”.
“I’m so excited to be working with Tiny Tree,” adds Ffion. “They have been so supportive from the beginning and understood completely the concept of the book and the feelings experienced by Whispa. I am also delighted to be working with the amazing illustrator Elena Mascolo. Her illustrations are stunning and she brings the story to life on every page.”
‘Whispa and the Waves’ by Ffion Jones and Elena Mascolo will be published in July 2024 by Tiny Tree.
About Ffion Jones
Dr Ffion Jones is a children’s author, illustrator and passionate mental health advocate based in Swansea, Wales. Ffion began her writing career in 2005 and has since written over twenty books for children. Ffion is the co-director of Nurse Ted Ltd, a company which produces picture books to explain serious illnesses to children and, in 2020, she set up Fly Me Stories to send personalised stories to seriously unwell children in the UK.
About Elena Mascolo
Elena Mascolo is an illustrator from Taranto, Italy. Elena uses a beautiful hand-painted art style, which can be seen in Portia the Pear (Tiny Tree, 2017), The Fixer Man (Tiny Tree, 2019) and Whispa and the Waves (Tiny Tree, 2024)
About Tiny Tree
Tiny Tree is an imprint of Andrews UK Limited. From its creation, the imprint has gone from strength to strength producing high-quality picture books, junior fiction, middle-grade fiction, and YA titles. Tiny Tree looks to champion new voices and talent whilst producing unique stories for children of all ages.