Wilma Jean the Worry Machine by Julia Cook is a new favorite Children's book of mine. This book spreads awareness of anxiety disorders in Children and young students. This topic is rarely discussed in the classroom, if ever. This book discusses anxiety in a way that is appropriate for all ages but also beneficial. This is a way to help students in a classroom without singling them about their anxiety, or worry. Many students will be able to relate to the main character, Wilma Jean, and her many worries about school. This relation to the text may be comforting to many students because they will realize that they are not alone in this feeling.
This book would be an excellent read in the first week of school or once school has picked up and students have grown to dislike certain parts of the day. I would read this book aloud to the class, stopping to discuss the obstacles Wilma Jean is facing. At the end of the class I would have a discussion about the problem (Wilma Jean getting the worry flu because she was worrying so much) and solution (finding a way to concur her fears at school and wearing the worry hat). While discussing, I would create a class chart to document the student's responses. Then, I would ask students to draw a hat in the writing journal and draw a horizontal line in the middle (similar to how it was drawn in the book) to separate their personal worries that they can control and can't control. This would be private and would not be shared with the class.
Lexile Measure: AD630L