“Children ignite imagination to alleviate anxiety and positively transform experiences”


Ellie and the Sunflowers, is for children to ignite imagination, build confidence, and facilitate positive experiences when situations or environments may prompt anxiety or fear.  Imagination is enlivened through the story of Ellie and the metaphor of the sunflowers to help her experience a new setting.


 “Michelle has captured compassion in a very simple yet intelligently powerful way to assist young people to move from anxiety, isolation and loneliness to self empowerment. 

I believe that Ellie and the Sunflowers is a valuable resource for all schools and also for professionals who work with young people.”

– Catherine Dodemont, Clinical Counsellor, Supervisor

Underpinning the story is the science—neurology, biology, and psychology of emotions. It is science that informs the actions to counter unpleasant feelings of anxiety and fear, activating a calm state and confidence to initiate and to self-manage situations or environments that children may find challenging.



“In this fun, engaging book, Michelle Black presents some scientifically proven techniques to children to assist them to manage anxiety and stress. These powerful tools are easily understood and applied. A very necessary, useful book”.

– Dr S. Purser.

The little worrier; Dawn Service, lead cornet at an Anzac Day event – 10 years old.

“The silence was intense as we were cued to begin. We raised our instruments ready to commence and without warning, my body began to tremble from the pit of my stomach to the tips of my fingers.  I felt weak and my vision became blurry.

Although unsettled, I thought to myself, it will stop as soon as I start playing. I felt myself settle as we started playing together then as I was cued to lead the crescendo, I felt my chest and airways tighten.   I played on and could hear the crescendo mournfully pierce the silence and felt my lip begin to quiver uncontrollably adding somewhat of a vibrato to the crescendo.

My heart was pounding and I felt that every part of my body wanted me to run as fast as I could.    “I was in the middle of one of the most important pieces I had ever played publicly and although I felt like running, this was not an option…… Time felt endless as I continued to play, then, I noticed I could hear the other players again and my lip began to steady.  I continued playing feeling weak, sickly and more upset than I can ever describe.

As we drew to a close the feeling of sadness within me deepened and a barrage of questions flooded my mind – what was that, why did that happen, how could I let something like that take over my playing…… what’s wrong with me…. should I have practiced more…. why does my body feel like I have just been chased by a lion.   I sat pondering, how can I ever play in public again?”


“As a grandmother to an extremely shy Granddaughter who struggles daily with anxiety, I love the subtle and gentle lessons in this beautifully written book.

It inspires very necessary coping tools that not only will be of great benefit now but will continue to be throughout a lifetime”.
– Rose Horsfield

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