I’m Not Afraid by Sarah Beliza Tucker: A Lesson in Overcoming Fear
Harry the lizard couldn’t be happier with his new buddies. And he’s especially excited after they invite him to his very first sleepover. But just when he’s having the best time ever, his pals start telling scary tales, and his fun quickly turns to horror.
Determined to stay at the party, Harry decides not to tell anyone how frightened he is. But with his imagination running wild, the nervous reptile is panicked he’ll have to leave and go home.
Can Harry use his martial arts skills to dig deep and conquer his fear of made-up monsters?
Have you ever learned the acronym for fear? It’s False Expectation Appearing Real. Sound helpful? It is! Whether you’re an adult or a kid, I’m Not Afraid by Sarah Beliza Tucker presents solid strategies for countering fear using relatable, friendly characters. This book uses a simple premise – ghost stories on a campout – to introduce proven methods for helping kids identify and dismantle their fears so they can get back to the fun stuff! Guided by a spiky haired narrator, kids get to watch a group of animal characters experience some spooky tales and figure out how to deal with the feelings they experience.
The story begins with a campout in Ricky’s backyard, and “it’s going to be awesome!” The boys have planned and packed; the snacks and sleeping bags are ready to go. Everything is fantastic until Ricky concocts a story that’s a little over the line. Harry, the narrator, starts to get really scared, but the other boys begin to calm him down by reminding him what their karate instructor told them about fear: it can help us avoid danger, but fear can be bad if it keeps us from reaching our goals. Harry realizes that the things he fears are only in his imagination, and he’s able to calm down!
The story is the perfect way to introduce kids to some great coping mechanisms for their fears, and also helps evaluate when friends are being helpful or hurtful. Some of Harry’s friends are encouraging throughout the evening, and others laugh at his troubles. In the end, it’s the encouraging ones that prove to be the best support. Choose this book to start great conversations with your elementary school kids, and use the language of the animal characters to give voice to techniques that they (and you!) can try to face the fears that no longer serve you.
Books in "The Adventures of Harry & Friends Series"
Children’s Book Series, “The Adventures of Harry and Friends™ goal is to help young minds grow stronger and empower them through stories that will: Inspire their imagination. develop their moral compass, set positive examples both visually and verbally and prepare them for life’s challenges.”
Where Can I Find "I'm Not Afraid By Sarah Beliza Tucker?"
About the Author, Sarah Beliza Tucker
“Sarah Beliza Tucker has been working in Children’s Media for almost 30 years.
Starting as a Fox Kids Club actress and producer, she learned to hold the attention of children through media since her teens. She moved on to theater, animation and video game production.
She is dedicated to producing media that does more than entertain, but also instills life lessons all children need to succeed.
Her company, Ocean Aire Productions, has been helping the martial arts industry teach character development worldwide since 2006! She is a co-owner of a martial arts school with her husband, where she has been teaching and developing Character Education Programs for children for over 20 years.
Sarah created Harry the Red Headed Lizard as a creative writing assignment in the ninth grade, and he has been with her ever since, evolving into what he is today. All the characters and mentors in her stories are based on the children, teachers and parents she has worked with over the past 20 years. Sarah brings a sense of realism within the fantasy world, she gives young children a safe place to learn life skills and problem solving by connecting them with characters that they can relate to.”
Rapid Fire with Sarah Beliza Tucker
Q. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Sarah: I’ve always dreamed of being a writer for as long as I can remember. When I was a child I loved to write silly stories and little plays for my friends and family; I would even recruit my siblings and sometimes neighborhood kids to perform them. Years later, I dove into poetry but always turned back to scripts and short stories. It wasn’t until I was in Jr. High 7th – 9th grade when teachers and counselors began asking, “What do you want to do when you grow up?” My answer was, “I want to create!
I want to create worlds that someone can get lost in for hours, I want to write stories that will make people laugh so hard they cry. I also want to write tales that will terrify you and keep you questioning days after you read it. (I was going through my Steven King phase here…lol) I want to write stories, poetry and plays that will change the world!” I was, I believe, 13 years old.
Q. What does your family think of your writing?
Sarah: From my Husband, Stan Lee, “I think these books will be incredibly successful with younger readers, because they are just as visual as they are verbal. Sarah’s background in film production shines through in her style of storytelling. The characters feel real and the reader really feels empathy for Harry as he faces and overcomes challenges.
As a side effect I think this series will really educate the public about the character development benefits of martial arts training for children at a time when children need self-discipline more than ever.”
Q. What was the most surprising thing you learned about creating books?
Sarah: I’ve learned that creating books is a whole new game from writing and developing scripts for theater or cartoons. But the one thing in common was the storyboard, the constant rewrites, and reworking illustrations to enhance the story on the page. You will find my style is more like watching a play or a cartoon unfolding or involving the reader, which are now part of the story as their own character in the adventure.
Q. What do you think makes a good story?
Sarah: What I think makes a good story is how it drawls you in. How a reader can become attached to characters as if they know them for real life, and start to care if they lose or win, or overcome a challenge they are faced at that moment. I want the reader to become empathic to the characters on the page. I want them to talk to and talk about the characters as if they are an important part of their lives.
A good story makes you think and react. A good story makes you feel emotions. A good story makes the reader see themselves as one of the characters or learns a lesson for them and is not just entertained.
Q. What advice do you have for writers?
Sarah: Don’t be afraid to put it all out there. The worst thing that can happen is nothing. So go for it. And find an amazing editor.
Q. Describe what your ideal writing space looks like?
Sarah: Apparently, I thrive in chaos, LOL, I write mostly from my dining room table which is not used to eat at but covered in stacks of children’s books and how-to books, and an insane amount of my own book drafts. I also find myself writing at my husband’s martial arts school surrounded by children who have no problem asking whatcha doing every 2 to 10 mins. LOL, and that’s okay because I am able to talk to my market in real-time and get feedback, which is awesome!
Q. What do you love most about the writing process?
Sarah: I love seeing the worlds I have created come to life and become important to others.
Q. Tell us about your plans for the future? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Sarah: My future plan is to Simi retire, get on my sailboat, and travel the world, searching for adventure and stories to add to my ongoing series. I can write from anywhere, and I love to travel. As for the next five years, I would like to see The Adventures of Harry&Friends series a success, along with its spin-off series, ‘The Adventures of Captain Karate Man,’ which will be a graphic novel for children 7 to 11 years old. I also have a Few more Children Book series in the works. One is on traveling the world on a sailboat.
Q. How did you become involved in the subject or theme of your book?
Sarah: My company, Ocean Aire Productions, has been helping the martial arts industry teach character development worldwide since 2006! I am a co-owner of a martial arts school with her husband, where I have been teaching and developing Character Education Programs for children for over 20 years. I created Harry the Red-Headed Lizard as a creative writing assignment in the ninth grade, and he has been with her ever since, evolving into what he is today.
Q. What inspires you as a writer?
Sarah: Everything…Inspiration comes to me in the strangest forms: From just sitting still looking out over the ocean… watching shrimp boats in the distance to people surf fishing or walking past. From taking a walk through an exotic rainforest to spot birds and animals not seen in the States and waterfalls on the other side of the world. From a child’s laugh to their interactions with each other…I like just to sit back and watch them play and how they decided to solve problems that may arise.
Q. What do you like to do when you are not writing?
Sarah: I enjoy sailing, traveling, reading, watching movies, and documentaries, and eating amazing foods. 12. What type of books do you write? At this time I write children’s books. 13. What does your creative process look like? First the Inspiration, A problem I see that needs to be solved. Second I write down how to solve that problem; then, an outline starts to form.
After the outline, I write a very messy draft in which I rewrite over and over again… and again. From there, the character’s dialogue starts to form, and the interaction of the characters in the books start to come to life, after writing the first draft of the story. I storyboard it as you would see in making a movie. Laying out each page and writing in the details for my amazing Illustrator, so he knows what I see happing on each page to tie in the words and the images together as if the reader is watching a cartoon.
After that, my Editor helps me tighten everything up. Then we print samples, and I have about 50 kids, and parents read the books to make sure I am on the right path. From there, we fix any issue. Before we go to print. 🙂
Q. What do you love most about being an Author?
Sarah: Seeing what I created help someone, or inspire them. 15. Can you tell us about one of the most rewarding moments you have had as an author? Seeing the excitement and joy of my work/characters bring a smile, a giggle, and even acknowledgment of a problem solved by the reader.
Q. Are you working on anything at the present that you would like to share with your readers about?
Sarah: Yes. As of now, These titles are available on Amazon: The Day I Met My Best Friend, Harry’s First Martial Arts Lesson, Harry Gets Into The Swing of Things (A Lesson in Perseverance) and The Broken Toy (A Lesson in Self – Discipline).
Titles To Come later In 2020-2021: Finders Keeper…? (A Lesson in Integrity), I Quit! (A lesson Indomitable Spirit), Grown Ups Have Feelings Too! (A Lesson in Empathy) What Happen To Mom’s Vase? (A Lesson in Honesty) (Working title).
Q. What do you hope your readers take away from this book?
Sarah: I want to bring a sense of realism within the fantasy world, and give young children a safe place to learn life skills and problem-solving by connecting them with characters that they can relate to.
Q. What real-life inspirations did you draw from for the worldbuilding within your book?
Sarah: All the characters and mentors in my stories are based on the children, teachers, and parents I have worked with over the past 20 plus years.
Q. Is there a message in your novel that you hope readers will grasp?
Sarah: Book One: The Day I met my Best Friend: A Children’s Book on Overcoming Anxiety and Fear of Not Being Accepted, Building Confidence, and How to Show Kindness and Respect to Others.
Book Two: Harry’s First Martial Arts Lesson: A Children’s Book on Self-Discipline, Respect, Concentration/Focus, and Setting Goals.
Book Three: Harry Gets Into The Swing of Things: A Children’s Book on Perseverance and Overcoming Life’s Obstacles and Goal Setting.
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Rapid Fire with Adam Ihle
Q. What process takes place in creating your artwork?
Adam: The first thing I do is read and re-read the story. I begin to map out the illustrations in my head as I read. If the image is complex, I will do some sketches, but usually, I just dive in. The Adventures of Harry and Friends series is unique as the books are primarily illustrated using Adobe Illustrator, which is vector-based artwork, but it also has hand-drawn elements as well.
Q. Are there any illustrators that have inspired the way you approach your illustrative work?
Adam: I am a big fan of old animation, Disney, Looney Tunes, Woody Woodpecker. The character designs and overall feel the cartoons have always inspired my design approach. I am a huge comic reader, and Neal Adams, Norm Breyfogel, and Jim Lee are a few artists I enjoy seeing artwork from.
Q. Which page was the most fun to illustrate? So Far?
Adam: Well, I really enjoyed the imagination scenes in the third book, Harry Gets Into The Swing Of Things. They are all hand-drawn in a comic book style and have a bit more vividness to them. It is a visual way to differentiate Harry’s real world and his imaginary one.
Q. How did you start your career as an illustrator?
Adam: Illustrating is actually my back up career, I am a sculptor by trade. For the past 20 years, I have worked in the entertainment field in one form or another. Creating props, special effects makeup, sets, and theme park elements. There are many of my pieces at all of the parks at Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, and Sea World. I have also done work on HGTV and various commercials. As for illustration, it is something I have always done, drawing that is, so making money from it seemed to be the logical choice of work.
Q. Since creating artwork is your job, what kind of hobbies do you enjoy to relieve stress and help inspire your artwork?
Adam: I know it sounds weird, but I create all the time, artwork wise. It is something I just have to do, even if it’s just doodling on a napkin. I enjoy watching movies, and I get a lot of ideas on how to layout a page from camera angles used in films. I think in pictures so I will always be imagining a way a page or scene from a book should
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All in all, my family and I have really enjoyed this book and we know you will too! Please feel free to leave me any comments or questions about this review. I look forward to hearing from you!
* This book was kindly sent to me by Author, Sarah Beliza Tucker, in exchange for an honest review.