After graduating from Ohio University and Xavier University, Karen Goff Dyser had a 32-plus-year career as an educator in Zanesville City Schools. She planned to write a children’s book after she retired, but never got around to it. Then she was blindsided by Stage 3 ovarian cancer and began to experience a lot of fear. When asked by her doctor about the first fear she could remember, she recalled a recurring nightmare from childhood in which a monster tried to take away her beloved rocking chair. The doctor, aware of Dyser’s teaching background, challenged her to write a children’s book about fear. She found the writing process itself was therapeutic.
In the story (Bailey Bunny and the Fear Monster, by Karen Goff Dyser (Halo Publishing, 2011), Bailey Bunny has the nightmare of the monster taking away his beloved rocking chair. Mama Bunny talks through the fear with Bailey, helping diffuse fear’s power over him. She reminds him he can handle whatever scares him by giving Bailey the Courage Stone. It helps him remember his true strength and power resides within. The book includes questions at the end to involve parents, teachers, grandparents , school counselors and children in conversations about fears and how to overcome them.
Dyser, in a Mama Bunny costume, takes her Bailey Bunny puppet and his rocking chair to classrooms to read the story and lead a discussion about fears. She teaches the Bailey Bunny Courage Song, written by her sister. Children make either a courage stone or draw a picture of their version of the Fear Monster.
Now a resident of Twinsburg, OH, Dyser believes writing the book to help children overcome their fears helped her overcome her fear of cancer.
The book is available at www.halopublishing.com or from the Xavier University Bookstore.