Meet Wally, The Small Character Creating a Large Conversation-Helping Kids to Manage Mental Health

Updated: Nov 27, 2020

Why Worry Wally? is a small picture book with a big message. The Social Catalog spoke to Author Rick Foster who has written an extraordinary children’s book that normalises worries and anxieties for youngsters.

Using playful rhymes brought to life with evocative illustrations by Jackie Case, Rick has created a fun and engaging way of opening up conversations with kids, families and teachers, to talk about their worries and anxieties. What better way to tackle a delicate conversation like anxiety with your young one, sister, brother, niece or grandchild than tucked into bed with a picture book? Why Worry Wally? will nurture and nourish how our young ones respond to mental health whilst creating quality time with caregivers.

Rick shared with the Social Catalog his own experiences with mental health issues and his inspiration for creating a picture book for young children suffering from anxiety.

‘I saw my two girls struggle with major anxiety, and I wanted to write a book which normalised having worries, made it easier to talk about them, and gave some tips on how to cope with them.’

- Rick Foster, Author, Why Worry Wally?

Wally was inspired by Rick’s personal experience with a mental health breakdown resulting from anxiety and the experience of seeing his own daughters struggle with managing their mental health. 'I’m a strong advocate for mental health, in particular anxiety in children and men, and am passionate about de-stigmatising issues around mental health.' Rick explains.

As we’ve seen this year, 2020 has seen fire, floods and face masks, just a few of the issues which have impacted children’s mental health but don’t worry, Wally is here to help. Why Worry Wally? is not just a picture book, it’s a support for children, a guide for caregivers and an opportunity to check in with our young and start the process of destigmatising mental health, normalising talking about problems and reaching out for support.

Here at The Social Catalog, we support Rick and Wally’s message for a brighter, healthier future for the younger generation.

Why Worry Wally? is available in some public libraries and primary schools, with the long-term plan of creating a school-based program to continue the conversation around mental health. Whilst on the journey of creating Why Worry Wally? Rick decided that the message of this picture book was too important to not advocate for and approached Kids Helpline to collaborate and raise funds for mental health awareness among young children.

With your support Rick can raise awareness for mental health, and, he is also donating 5% of all profits from Why Worry Wally? to Kids Helpline so they can continue providing support and guidance to the young children of today.

Currently, Why Worry Wally? is available at independent bookstores throughout Melbourne or online which can be accessed via

You can also follow and support Wally’s journey on Instagram @whyworrywally and Facebook

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