book - Sarah Mellor children's book mental health

A Nantwich mum of two’s debut children’s story book became an Amazon best-seller on the same day it was launched online.

During lockdown, Sarah Mellor, 31, was inspired by her own personal struggle with anxiety and depression, which saw her turn to writing and illustrating.

Sarah, who writes under the pen name SJ Hudson, began her career within the performing arts industry, a far cry from the world of children’s books.

Now as a mum of two young children, reading has become part of their everyday life.

“We read to our children at bedtime most nights and have done since they were days old,” said the 31-year-old.

“One of our favourite authors is Julia Donaldson.

“Her rhyming stories have captivated us since we were introduced to her story, The Gruffalo, about six years ago.”

Sarah was diagnosed with anxiety and depression after becoming a mum for the first time. But she knew she was suffering this even before the birth.

“I found myself pushing people away and avoiding certain scenarios at any cost,” she recalls.

“The stress I found myself under triggered another issue as I began to suffer with psoriasis.

“At one point I was covered head to toe and I found myself in an extremely low place.

“It was a vicious circle I was in and I had to do something about it.”

Sarah began her writing journey back in 2015, using it as an escape from her daily struggles.

It allowed her to channel her creative side that had been neglected for many years after completing her A-levels as a teenager.

She started with poems to thank people for gifts received by the children for birthdays, Christmas and special occasions.

This progressed to writing wedding speeches in rhyme among others.

Now, she is creating and self-publishing a series of children’s books to support mental health from a young age.

She believes if children are given a chance to receive the correct education from a young age, their mental health later in life could be dramatically improved.

“Now more than ever with the COVID-19 pandemic, our children’s mental health, as well as our own mental health, is of vital importance,” said Sarah.

“I am so passionate about providing a platform with my stories, which are designed to encourage children to discuss their inner thoughts and feelings with someone they trust.”

Sarah’s second children’s book will also feature her debut illustrations.

Her passion for drawing was reignited during home-schooling through the coronavirus pandemic.

Her debut book, “The Lion who Longed for Spots”, follows an adorable young lion cub, named Lottie, but she has doubts about her appearance.

She confides in her mum about the way she is feeling.

Together they venture into the Savannah on a journey to improve the way Lottie feels about herself.

The story has received outstanding reviews from children’s psychologists and health professionals, EYFS and primary educators, as well as parents and children.

“My focus is now for Lottie’s story to be heard by children locally and nationally,” she added.

“I am currently working with schools to provide virtual author visits as well as putting together activity packs for children to explore the story and it’s themes further.”

Follow Sarah on her social media sites, Facebook @SJHudsonAuthor, Instagram @sjhudson_author and Twitter @SJHudsonAuthor.

The story is available from Amazon – “The Lion who Longed for Spots” written by SJ Hudson and illustrated by Holly Bushnell.

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