Cookie loves Girl more than anything – even chasing balls and smelling smells!
Based on personal experience
“In year 12 I struggled with depression, anxiety and anorexia, and wasn’t able to go to school for most of the year. When my parents gave me Saffy for my 18th birthday, everything started getting better; he could make me smile when nothing else could and was beside me for every step. Recovering from depression was easily the most challenging, humbling experience of my life.”
– Author Isabelle Duff
A story for everyone
“Depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses are experienced by one in 7 people in Australia. So, statistically, almost everyone will have someone in their life who struggles with their mental health. I hope that Cookie can help create a culture of empathy around mental illness, and educate children about what their loved ones might be going through.”
– Author Isabelle Duff
An important resource that keeps things light
Cookie is the first book by an extremely promising young author, written when she was just 18 years old. Based on her own personal experiences with depression, anxiety and anorexia, and the relationship with her dog, Saffy, this book is a playful, positive and sensitive resource for starting conversations about depression with young readers. This is an important contribution to the movement to de-stigmatise discussions around mental illness.
Isabelle Duff is a farmer, author, and soon-to-be student at the University of New South Wales, where she will study Advanced Science and Commerce. She is currently on a gap year, working full time on her family farm near Manildra, NSW, where they farm sheep and cattle, and crop. Isabelle is a self-proclaimed ‘absolute tree hugger’, passionate about science and environmental agribusiness. She hopes to one day manage the family business.
Cookie is Isabelle’s first book, written when she was just 19 years old. She has volunteered at her local primary school for the past year and a half, and is passionate about opening conversations about mental illness with children at a young age, helping to reduce stigmatism and ignorance.
Isabelle’s favourite things in the world are rock music, picnics, Aussie wildflowers and of course, Saffy – her dog (and best friend) who inspired Cookie. She feels more at home in the bush with her beautiful dog than anywhere else.
Susannah Crispe is a Canberra-based children’s book illustrator, inspired by a background in zoology and art history, and a love of beautifully crafted books. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Art History from the University of Sydney (2008) and studied Zoology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of New England.
Susannah is a largely self-taught artist, and works primarily in watercolour and digital collage. She has been illustrating professionally for four years for a range of clients, producing a large selection of greeting cards, logo designs and wildlife artworks. Susannah is also a stay-at-home-mum, where reading books with the kids forms a huge part of her everyday routine. Cookie is her second book; her first is titled Where the Heart Is (also with EK Books).
School Days Magazine
“From the moment we opened Cookie, I couldn’t help smile, it really is a cheerful yet thoughtful and simple story for little ones whether your child has anxiety or not. It would make a delightful present that’s sure to become a favourite at bedtime.” Click here to read
Living Arts Canberra
“I don’t want people to think this is a negative and sad book in any way. It’s the most beautiful and gentle story. It’s a story of happiness that can be found in the most simple things. It’s beautifully told … a magical book.” Click here to listen
Literacy, Families and Learning
“This is such a lovely book. It’s a sensitive exploration of childhood depression and anxiety and the importance of empathy. It provides a gentle starting point for big conversations with children who are troubled” Click here to read
“The voice in this story is fresh and unique. It speaks clearly to the reader and delivers a strong message about how love and friendship can help you cope with sadness.” Click here to read
The Bottom Shelf
“by telling the story through Cookie’s voice, setting it in a typical family setting with a light touch of humour and through the interactions of all, demonstrating how Girl’s moods impact on the whole family, Duff shows that (mental health) is something that can affect any family and anybody within it.” Click here to read
Kids’ Book Review
“I loved this beautifully designed and written book. It is an excellent example of a writer finding their unique voice which is an asset, especially to writers beginning their journey.” Click here to read
In The Good Books
“This is a lovely story that touches on the importance of pet ownership and the love that a pet provides.” Click here to read
“Divine, beautifully illustrated, this book will warm your heart with its humorous narrative from a puppy’s point of view.” Click here to read
Blue Wolf Reviews
“a pleasure to read. The humour of hearing the story told by the dog is gentle and caring.” Click here to read
“COOKIE tackles an immensely important and ‘big’ subject, depression and mental wellbeing in young people, yet it does so through the beguiling voice of a charming puppy dog. Heart melting illustrations seal the deal in this touching picture book..”
Read NZ Te Pou Muramura
This story is told through the voice of the dog, Cookie, how he interprets Girls’ sadness and his understanding of the world around him. Cookie has some interesting, humourous names for some things.
The suggestion of anxiety is quite subtle and children reading independently might not pick up on it but for children experiencing anxiety the story could be a gentle conversation starter.
Sympathetically written this is a gentle insight into anxiety and the benefits of animals as companions.
Click here to read
Kids Books NZ
EK Books are doing wonderful things with their publishing, creating ‘Books with Heart on Issues that Matter’, and I have loved every one of their books that take some very big issues and present them in a beautifully crafted, child-focused, and sensitive way.
As with other EK books, the message in Cookie is delivered without being obvious or didactic. Looking at things from a dog’s point of view offers a different take on mental health, and is all the more authentic by being inspired by author Isabelle Duff’s own experiences, and her dog (a border collie like Cookie), who helped her through them.
Cookie is a great resource for talking about feelings, emotions and understanding others.
It is a timely reminder that young children struggle with down times with things like anxiety more and more a part of their young lives. Cookie is a rich opportunity to talk about the times when things don’t seem to be going right for young people, and giving them some strategies to respond to these feelings as and when they come up.
4CA – Murray Jones
“This month is Mental Health Month, so this morning in the Breakfast Show I caught up with young author Isabelle Duff about her book titled Cookie. Barely out of her teens, Isabelle has secured a global publishing contract with this story. Based on her own experience with anxiety, the gift of a puppy named Saffy inspired her recovery, and this new book.”
RN Breakfast with Fran Kelly
“opens up conversations of mental health to children”
Click here to read
Dim’s Write Stuff
“Timely, affectionate, and quietly affecting, Cookie will appeal to a wide audience, Border collie lovers notwithstanding and is highly recommended. “
ABC Central West
“ Ms Duff said she wanted the book to raise awareness of mental health, particularly among her peers. “ Click here to read
The Riot Act
“charming picture book Cookie (EK Books, Australia, 2021) which is focused on childhood depression and its effect on the whole family.”
Triple M Riverina
“A story book to try and encourage that conversation (about mental health) from a really young age.”
ABC Brisbane Evenings
“A really important part of the message I wanted to get across is it’s not just important to educate younger kids about mental health and empathy because you might go through it yourself, but the chances are that as you go through life you’ll come a across a family member or friend you need to support and be there for”