Something in the air…
A new children's storybook has emerged from an intensive weekend’s creative collaboration between writer and neuroscientist Anjali Bhat, illustrator-dentist Jasmine Cachia Mintoff, and trainee psychologist Hida Izel Caliskan, who produced the project and advised on the principles of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).
Caliskan told us: 'There’s Something in the Air is a psychologically-informed storybook that explores an element of the Covid-19 crisis that is particularly difficult to address: fear. It presents ways of coping with the widespread agitation and having to stay at home indefinitely, by encouraging mindfulness, gratefulness, and understanding of behaviour that comes from a place of uncertainty. It also acknowledges the possibility of grief, offering an outlook of self-compassion and acceptance of the range of difficult emotions that can come with loss.'
Why bees, we asked? 'Bees are social animals – aptly representing the importance of community in times of crisis,' Caliskan said. 'And they are, in fact, subject to a global pandemic of their own. The name "Bombini" comes from the taxonomic name of the tribe of Apid bees that bumblebees belong to.'
In the story, Bombini is a curious bumblebee who likes to explore. When Honeycomb Hive, where she lives, goes into lockdown in response to a sickness that is spreading, Bombini feels frustrated at being stuck inside and confused by the behaviour of the adults and humans around her. Not sure how to respond, she seeks the wisdom of her grandmother, Queen Ida. Through a heart-warming conversation between the two, Bombini learns that the thing that’s “in the air” that’s making everyone act strangely is fear. She sees that there is still a world to explore in little, everyday things; that the one thing she can always control, even in the face of outside uncertainty, is the what she pays attention to. These realisations give her the strength to face some of the biggest challenges life can present.
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