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Interview: Rose Stanley talks about Brain Tricks


Rose Stanley talks to NZ Booklovers.


I have always had an interest in encouraging children and families to thrive,

whatever that looks like for them. Over the years I have been involved with

children in a number of ways, primarily within the school environment, as a Student Support Worker, where I was able to walk alongside children as they

experienced such things as friendship problems, dealing with separation/divorce

of parents, losing family members. I am a trained companion for the Seasons for Growth programme, which assists children in a peer setting to learn how change, loss and grief affect us.

My writing has come out of the practical work with children. I have written 4 picture books to date which focus on Emotional Literacy and Problem Solving. In addition I have written a number of articles for the parenting magazine, Tots to Teens.


Tell us a little about Brain Tricks.

With my main writing focus being on Emotional Literacy and Problem Solving, I wanted to make sure the book(s) I write are also fun and positive. I think that kids can receive some mixed messages about emotions, so I challenged myself to be informative and empowering whilst helping kids as they travel along their own journey towards great Mental Health.


What inspired you to write this book?

I have volunteered in schools for many years, working as a pastoral support person and also providing suppport via Seasons for Growth, which is a peer group programme educating children and young people on grief, loss and change. I have seen how language and information around emotional themes can be so empowering for our young ones.


What research was involved?

I have been researching Emotional Literacy for years, reading various books and in particular have found Gordon Neufeld’s material on ‘The Science of Emotion’ very revolutionary. For ‘Brain Tricks’ in particular, I read a lot of material about neuroplasticity which I then tried to break down into a very basic form, which was very challenging! I then sought input and feedback from a number of professionals working with children in varying roles – counselling, teaching, social work, and child psychology. This was time consuming but very helpful in forming a much clearer idea of what I wanted to say.


What was your routine or process when writing this book?

Write, have a break, write again, edit, put it down/away, then write again. Did this many times over!! Lots of loud sighing also involved, and lots of cups of tea!


What did you enjoy the most about writing this book?

Pushing myself way harder than ever before to unpack a pretty big subject; then simplify it, whilst keeping the feel positive and humourous. That was tough!


What did you do to celebrate finishing this book?

As Brain Tricks was self-published, I didn’t really stop to celebrate, as we (Lisa Allen, illustrator and I) went straight on to bending our minds around what was involved in doing this ourselves. The big celebration was our launch, which was a wonderful opportunity to thank our friends and supporters who had got us through the whole experience.


What is the favourite book you have read so far this year and why?

I am a lover of non fiction as well as fiction, so my favourite would be ‘Sane New World’ by Ruby Wax. So funny and so relatable. A reminder that we all sail close to the wind of insanity at times!


What’s next on the agenda for you?

I am working on a book for slightly younger readers, which will encourage kids that sometimes our feelings and emotions bug us, but we can appreciate them once we understand they are working hard for us, helping us to understand ourselves and others. I am having some fun with it, working with Lisa again and also collaborating with a very talented kids’ music artist, Kath Bee - and we have some surprises up our sleeves!


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