Free children’s story book to support conversations around parental substance use

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Free children’s story book to support conversations around parental substance use

A new children’s story picture book ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Arti‘ (pdf), has been published to help children affected by parental alcohol or drug use. The book was co-produced by children, young people, their families, teachers, and researchers at Newcastle University alongside an illustrator and author.

This book was written for children (approx. age 5-8 years) who have a parent or caregiver who uses substances, as a way of opening up conversations between children, parents/caregivers or trusted adults. The key messages in this book let children know:

  • It’s ok to have mixed feelings about a parent who uses alcohol or drugs
  • They are not alone with their feelings
  • There are people who will listen to them and help

Download the book here (pdf).

Although this book was written for children who are impacted by parental substance use, it is for all children who would like to follow the story of Arti, the wishing star. Within this book, there is no mention or depiction of alcohol or drugs, instead we use out-of-this-world storytelling with made-up characters. Alcohol and drugs are represented through a fictional character, a creature known as a Yozzle, who causes mischief throughout the story. There are conversation prompts at the end of the book if you would also like to continue the conversation about the story and characters within it with children.

There’s an opportunity for this book to be used as a whole class resource, in small targeted groups, one to one, or handed on to parents/caregivers of children you know are impacted by parental substance use. 

There book is free to download as a pdf for anyone to access:

“I received the book last week and read it to two of the children I work with.  It was amazing.  I can’t wait to continue using it. Thank you so much,  this is an excellent resource.” Practitioner

“I am proud of the book because other children won’t have to go through what my children have.” Parent

“This book is something I would have loved to have been able to give to little me, having something that related to my home situation when I was a child. To be able to show children that they are not alone and there are people around them who are there to give them love and support. To hopefully reach them earlier than I was reached out to.” Young person

In return for this book being free, the research team are asking for feedback to help inform future projects and editions of the book that seek to improve access to emotional support for young children impacted by parental alcohol and drug use. Please follow this link to access the survey, if you have downloaded the online version of the book or used it with children:

If you would like further information or to request a free physical copy of the book, please contact Cassey Muir, Research Associate, Newcastle University.