Children at different ages are afraid for different reasons. According to developmental psychologist Jean Piaget, kids aged two to seven are afraid of things not based on reality. Kids endow animals, as well as inanimate objects with feelings, which is why at this age, kids are usually afraid of monsters and ghosts. This is one reason why debut author Maha Huneidi wrote, When Monsters Get Lonely. Huneidi shares her experience:
“My younger son had nightmares on and off when he was six. I didn’t make him go back to his bed, and my husband protested because he thought that our son would get used to sleeping in our bed, and for good reason, too. We had some friends whose kids didn’t outgrow that habit till they were nine or 10. I knew that that wouldn’t be the case with my son because kids get into this habit at a much younger age. I think that this problem arises from separation anxiety, and not from nightmares or fear of monsters.”
Parents do tend to dismiss such fears as unreal or unjustified, but for the child this fear is very real. “There’s no way a child at this age will believe you if you said there’s no such thing as monsters,” states Huneidi. “I was afraid of monsters and of the dark — where monsters lurked — as a child. My parents did come into my room and looked for them to prove to me they didn’t exist. Of course, they didn’t exist when the lights were on! As far as I was concerned monsters were afraid of light and of adults, which is why they scattered when adults came into the room and turned on the lights!”
Huneidi began writing When Monsters Get Lonely and later found out her granddaughter was afraid of monsters. “It was not about my granddaughter at all, but when I heard that she was afraid of monsters, it quickly became all about her. I wanted to empower her to take charge of her fear,” remarks Huneidi. “I sent my son a copy of When Monsters Get Lonely in a word file, with illustrations, just before I submitted it for publishing in April. Hanaa’s parents immediately began reading it to her … Now, she sometimes tells her mother, ‘the monster touched my neck, but I made friends with him.’”
Huneidi wants to help children, like her granddaughter Hanaa, find the courage to deal with monsters and other fears on their own. “My granddaughter still enjoys monster movies and monster stories! But she has found the courage to overcome her fears,” states Huneidi.
The most important issue Huneidi wants kids to understand is that they create their lives with their thoughts. In her book, When Monsters Get Lonely she teaches children how to overcome their fears and take control of their reality. Huneidi details this approach:
“If they think monsters are scary, they’ll just end up being scared; but what if monsters were lonely, maybe they just need a friend and maybe they can help us come up with ideas. Hannah, the main character in my book, wants to be a movie director; maybe other kids want to be writers. Could the monster help them come up with ideas for stories? Maybe.”
Huneidi is a great example herself on creating your own reality and shaping your dreams. After receiving her first critique, she decided not to give up. “It was worse than a rejection letter,” shares Huneidi. “In spite of that, I had the biggest smile on my face when I read it. I was so excited about all the information I got from it. My husband really thought that I got a very good critique from the way I was smiling, and when I told him how terrible it was, he asked what I was smiling about. I told him now I knew exactly what to do.”
Just like Hannah in When Monsters Get Lonely, Huneidi changed her fate and pushed forward. She found how to make her dreams what she wanted them to be.
A bit about When Monsters Get Lonely
A little girl named Hannah is afraid of the dark and of monsters. One night during a blackout her monsters pays her a visit. Hannah is terrified, but Grams comes to rescue and gives her the tools to get over her fear by explaining that our thoughts are like magic, they create our lives.
Maha Huneidi is a wife, mother and now grandmother, who finally found out what she wants to be when she grows up. This book is the first step of her journey. She lives in Portland, Oregon.
You can find out more about Maha Huneidi’s and her World of Ink Author/Book Tour schedule at www.storiesforchildrenpublishing.com/MahaHuneidi.aspx There will be giveaways, reviews, interviews, guest posts and more. Make sure to stop by and interact with Huneidi and the hosts at the different stops by leaving comments and/or questions. In addition, come listen to Blog Talk Radio’s World of Ink Network show: Stories for Children at www.blogtalkradio.com/worldofinknetwork The hosts chatted with Maha Huneidi about her book, writing, the publishing industry and experiences.