As a registered medical assistant, Mullica Hill’s Dana Shickora knows the importance of addressing mental health. Now, she’s put her expertise to work on the pages of her new book, “High-Five Through Anxiety.”
The children’s book focuses on a girl named Sloane who experiences nervousness in preparation for her first day of school. But after encountering peers and bullies, she realizes that her internal fears have gotten the best of her. Sloane’s mother takes her to see a doctor, who diagnoses anxiety and offers her ways to control it.
Shickora came up with the idea for the book because of her own experience with anxiety.
“My son and I suffer from generalized anxiety disorder,” Shickora said. “Ever since I was little, it always went undetected. I feel people are embarrassed to talk about this issue.”
A township resident since 2014 – along with her husband, two children and dog – the first time author never knew how to make her lifelong dream of becoming a writer a reality. But once the pandemic hit, she found the time to write “High-Five Through Anxiety,” in the hope that she can help children and families like her own.
“Children have these feelings and don’t understand why they are feeling a certain way,” she noted. “I hope I can bring clarity to such an important topic.”
Shickora’s story has already affected many families.
“This was a fantastic book and a great read for kids who struggle with anxiety and bullying,” one Amazon reviewer noted. “My 10-year-old daughter absolutely loved this book.”
Shickora found her book’s illustrator, artist Maryna Salagub, by using the app Fiver, a freelance site that consists of varied artists and illustrators. That simplified the part of her book that could have been a hurdle for Shickora, given that she’s been a full-time medical assistant and phlebotomist for more than 15 years.
“High-Five Through Anxiety” was released on June 21 and is now available for purchase at 35,000 online stores, including Amazon, Target and Barnes and Noble. The book is also available on the website of its publisher, Archway Publishing.