Hodder Children’s is to publish My Monster and Me, a debut picture book from Nadiya Hussain and illustrator Ella Bailey in September 2019.
The book – which tells of a little boy and his worries, personified as a monster - is to be the first in a series, with a second title already signed.
Hussain said she has suffered from anxiety herself since childhood. “I have lived with my ‘monster’ for as long as I can remember, although it is only as an adult that I have learned to identify the anxiety attacks for what they are and to find coping mechanisms. I remember feeling worried as a child, about everyday things, but not knowing what it was I was feeling or how to talk about it.”
She added: "It’s heartening to see mental health being talked about more openly; we need to find ways to help young children talk about their worries. I sincerely hope that My Monster and Me will help children and the adults who live and work with them to talk about anxiety together. “
Bailey agreed that the book was “such an important project to be involved in”, saying: “I feel strongly that children of all ages should be encouraged to talk about their feelings, particularly when it comes to anxiety."
Emma Layfield, group picture book publisher at Hachette Children’s Group, acquired world rights from Anne Kibel at AK Artist Management for Hussain, and directly from Bailey. She said: “The nation has taken Nadiya to its heart with her enthusiasm, warmth and sincerity – and sales of her Bake Me a Story titles show that consumers enjoy Nadiya’s fiction. I cannot think of a better voice to tell the story of a little boy who is followed around by his worry monster.” Meanwhile Bailey “is a rising star in children’s illustration”, whose style is “the perfect mix of playful and engaging”, she added.
Hussain previously produced two books of recipes and stories, Nadiya’s Bake Me a Story and Nadiya’s Bake Me a Festive Story, for Hodder Children’s Books, as well as a World Book Day Bake Me a Story title. A further in the series, Bake Me a Celebration Story, will be out in September.
Meanwhile she is also publishing cookbook Nadiya’s Family Favourites with Michael Joseph in June, tying in with her current BBC2 series, and last month announced a deal for three contemporary women’s fiction novels with Harlequin.