Paula Jewell's debut children's story book My Body, My Friend aims to encourage its readers to develop healthy relationships with their bodies.

MACEDON Ranges resident Paula Jewell has published a children’s book guiding young readers to get to know their bodies physically and emotionally.

Ms Jewell, a former netballer with the Adelaide Thunderbirds, wrote the story My Body, My Friend after a series of injuries and surgeries in her late teens and early twenties put paid to a burgeoning netball career but planted the seed for her latest piece of work.

She said the book paved the way for both physical and mental wellbeing, resilience, and a healthy sense of self later in life.

“The book, My Body, My Friend introduces the idea of feelings as information in a fun and experiential way and gently guides children to build healthy relationships with their bodies as well as supporting emotional development,” she said.

Ms Jewell said it was through deep personal development work she realised her own disconnect between her body and her emotions and the impact it had on her in every aspect of her life.

“Through professional counselling training, I learnt how common this disconnect is and how early in life it can form,” she said.

“Having experienced it for myself, I became determined to provide a resource that introduced the topic in a way that was accessible and easy for children to understand and that normalised emotions within families and other key systems in which children grow and develop.”

The book has been carefully considered, using inviting language, rhyming, and emotive techniques that engaged both children and adults when reading together.

Ms Jewell, from Goldie near Lancefield, said the book was intended as a conversation starter between children and parents, caregivers, teachers or therapists and was developed with the support of mental health professionals, early childhood educators and parents.

“It has already been used as a resource by psychologists and counsellors, receiving positive reviews about the book’s ability to engage children in a topic many find difficult to discuss,” she said.

My Body, My Friend currently has a bonus activity book edition that offers interactive pages for children to put words to their own unique experiences and introduces the concepts of healthy relationships and consent in an age-appropriate way.

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