I’m delighted to share my latest interview with children’s author and illustrator, Katie Goodacre. Her debut book, Miley’s Mind is out now. In this interview we talk about the importance of supporting mental health for children, using your writers’ voice to raise awareness, and understanding particle physics using Lego!
About the Author
Katie Goodacre lives in the West Midlands with her dog, Miley. She is passionate about mental health and child development. Katie has worked with a variety of children, in a variety of settings, and loves cake and anything sparkly!
Tell us a little about yourself. (How did you get started writing? What do you do when you’re not writing?
Hello! So I started writing at the start of lockdown one. I was passionate about supporting children through such unprecedented times and became acutely aware that the emotional well-being of children was receding. I took inspiration from my dog, Miley, who helped me overcome my own anxiety. She became the main character of my book, and it became known as ‘Miley’s Mind’.
I am just about to graduate from Birmingham City University with a BA (Hons) degree in Education Studies. I also work as the Regional Manager for a sports and activities camp in the school holidays.
Is this your first book? How many books have you written prior (if any?)
Yes, first ever book! I cannot believe I am now a published author and illustrator! It seems so surreal and feels bizarre (in a good way) when people send me photos of my book in their house.
What genre is it, and what is it about?
So, the book is called Miley’s Mind and aims to improve children’s mental-health by encouraging them to talk about their feelings. It follows a dog called Miley and explains how her mind is poorly, but talking to her friend, Nova, helped.
What or who inspired you to write this book?
I have suffered with my own mental health in the past due to a variety of reasons. I have also worked closely with children and noticed how mental health awareness at a young age can help with situations as an adult. I became passionate about helping children become more aware of mental health and decided to try and write a book.
The main character of the book is called Miley. She is based on my actual dog called Miley! Miley has helped me overcome adversity so I thought she would be a perfect character.
What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?
Just go for it! As in, don’t be afraid to get started, make rough notes, have rough ideas. Refinement can come later! In the early stages, just get everything down on the page, no matter how clumsy or messy you think it is.
What do you enjoy most about writing and why?
Writing Miley’s Mind gave me a voice. It allowed me to open up conversation about mental health without it feeling too personal. Writing has allowed me to distract myself and has encouraged me to pursue my dreams.
List three interesting facts about yourself
I once took part in a French circus
I’ve recently really got into physics – I bought a book that explains particle physics using Lego pieces.
I’m obsessed with anything sparkly.
What is your least favourite part of the publishing/writing process?
For me, my least favourite part is probably waiting to hear what people think. I find it so nerve wracking!
What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?
Tweet about it
Talk to their children’s schools/teachers about the book and perhaps introducing it in the classroom
Write an Amazon review
What is your next project?
Oooh, I have nothing set in stone yet. I have a few ideas…we will see! I’d love to continue addressing sensitive topics so that children can relate to difficult situations they may be facing.
Miley was a smiley dog, or so everyone thought. But, Miley had a secret – her mind was poorly. She didn’t want anyone to know. Then one day she did the bravest thing! Miley’s Mind introduces the concept of mental health in a child-friendly way. It highlights how abuse, bullying and grief impacts emotional well-being, and encourages children to talk about their feelings.
Connect with Katie Here:
Praise for Miley’s Mind
“… a powerful tool for anyone interested in supporting children’s mental health and well-being. ” – Dr Rachel Wicaksono, Head of the School of Education, Language and Psychology, York St. John University
“Having seen first-hand the effects of a global pandemic, the unease of social isolation and the receding of childhood in these neoteric times, the themes and lessons covered in this book come at a critical time. We need to start talking about mental health and earlier.” – Dr Michael McArdle – Paediatric Accident and Emergency Doctor, Leeds Teaching Hospitals
“A wonderful book that deals with the subject of children’s mental health in a sensitive, but powerful way.” – Tony Staneff, Director of Learning, Trinity Multi Academy Trust
“Katie Goodacre generates high levels of enthusiasm, participation and commitment to child progression and I’ve no doubt that Miley’s Mind will be really helpful to children’s mental health development.” – Richard Holmes, Chief Executive Officer, The Kings Active Foundation
“Miley’s Mind introduces what is often seen as a difficult and uncomfortable topic to young readers, and is carefully explored with calmness and sensitivity.” – Matthew Marshall, Student Teacher, York St John University
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