Noelle Wills is part of the Innovator Fellowship program at North High School. We sat down to talk to her about a children’s book that she is writing and illustrating for children with anxiety and depression. She is currently working out of Jake’s Cafe to make her book a reality. Read the interview down below.

Q: Why are you writing this book?

A: Writing a children’s book is something I have always been interested in, because I love reading and I love graphic design, and it seemed like a perfect combination of those interests. When I decided it was something I definitely wanted to pursue through the Innovator Fellowship, I asked myself what book I would have liked to read as a kid that was not available at the time. I knew immediately I wanted to write something that dealt with childhood anxiety and depression, because it was something that I had dealt with as a child- I knew firsthand how scary and lonely it can feel at a young age when it seems like everyone else feels “normal” and no one understands what you are going through, so I think it is important that there is some kind of media representation to help kids understand that they aren’t alone and to help other people understand that it is a very real issue.

Q: What age/personality profile is it targeted to?

A: The book is targeted towards children aged 5-10 who may be suffering from mental illness or who have friends or family members who are. I can also see it being used by teachers and counselors or therapists as an educational tool to help kids understand what they or their friends are going through.

Q: What is this book promising its readers?

A: The aim is to teach kids about mental illness, which is a pretty heavy, sensitive topic, in a way that is understandable without being frightening. I would also like it to show any young people struggling with mental illness that they are not alone, there are other people who have the same feelings and understand what they are going through.

Q: How will the book be written/illustrated?

A: I am writing and illustrating the book myself using Adobe Illustrator.

Q: Where are you getting your information/background to write the book?

A: Most of my information comes from personal experience, but I have talked to other people who have struggled with anxiety or depression and done additional research, because the signs and symptoms can vary.

Q: When do you hope to have the book?

A: I’m hoping to finish the book by the end of April so I can have it published by May.

Q: When might the book be available for purchase?

A: I would like the book to be available for purchase as soon as I have it published, around late May. All proceeds from the sales will be donated to a local mental health charity.

Q: Where can people purchase your book?

A: I am not totally sure yet, but I am hoping I will be able to take online orders and maybe do some displays in local stores or areas like the Children’s Museum and Bookworm Gardens.