Mum’s poignant book to help children cope with their feelings

Misterton mum Helen Cousin with her book for children, 'The Knot'.
Misterton mum Helen Cousin with her book for children, 'The Knot'.

A mum from Misterton whose teenage daughter took her own life has written a poignant book to help children cope with their feelings.

Helen Cousin hopes the book, called ‘The Knot’, will also raise funds for her charity, Help Me I’m Fine.

Colourful illustrations in the book have been done by Sam Brown.

Colourful illustrations in the book have been done by Sam Brown.

She founded the charity in 2017 after the death of her 16-year-old daughter, Maisie, who left a cryptic note, or ambigram, that said ‘help me’ if read one way and ‘I’m fine’ if turned upside down.

The nine-page book tells the stories of fictional characters Trevor, Beth, Katy and Class 6, who are reassured by adult figures in their lives that their feelings of unease are completely normal.

The adults share their coping mechanisms, which include breathing techniques, blowing bubbles and dancing.

Helen said: “The title of the book refers to the knotting feeling you sometimes get in your tummy.

“Children as young as five know what is meant by it, and the idea of the book is to help them manage their emotions and positively channel their energy.

“It also demonstrates how everyone can get knots, no matter how old they are and, crucially, that there are ways of dealing with them.”

There is also a blank page at the end of the book where children can write about what gives them a knot in their tummies.

Helen was inspired to write ‘The Knot’ after waking up in the middle of the night with the first few verses in her mind.

She said: “Since running Help Me, I’m Fine, many of my ideas have come to me while dreaming, and I like to think this is Maisie’s way of supporting the charity.”

The book has taken shape thanks to the help of illustrator Sam Brown and publisher JJ Moffs.

Helen added: “I have received overwhelmingly positive feedback from everyone who already has a copy of ‘The Knot’, including several schools. This is fantastic because it is encouraging children to talk about their feelings.”

‘The Knot’ is on sale now, priced £4.99, via the Help Me, I’m Fine Facebook page or from JJ Moffs.

The proceeds will be donated to the charity which, over the last two years, has raised tens of thousands of pounds to pay for ‘Thrive’ training in schools that helps staff better understand children’s behaviour.

The money is also being used to create a sensory garden at Maisie’s former school, Misterton Primary, where Helen works. The garden will be opened this summer.