The Nervous Knight

The Nervous Knight
Anthony Lloyd Jones
Jessica Kingsley Publishers

Here’s a story that looks at the disabling effects of anxiety on youngsters and in particular one knight in training who lives in a peaceful kingdom.

Said knight wears his full armour all the time, never taking it off even in bed, because one always needs to be prepared for the worst eventualities. However armour notwithstanding, this particular trainee who is totally lacking in self confidence remains an onlooker while classmates joust or even go out to eat ice creams. All those ‘what if … ‘ worries just keep on getting in the way of participation.

Such things as breathing become difficult and nervousness tends to make you need to use the loo.

Then one day an older girl in class notices the knight’s lack of action and asks, “What aren’t you joining in?”A series of “what ifs” is the response so the girl decides to take things in hand, gently encouraging the nervous knight onto horseback.

Inevitably with new learning an easy ride is not what follows, but neither do any of those much dreaded giggles from fellow students. Instead, some admit to feeling scared on occasion, while others offer encouragement and coping strategies and gradually our nervous knight begins to shed some armour, show their true self, gain some self confidence and open up to friendship and the pleasures life offers.

Quirkily illustrated in a child-like manner, this is a story many youngsters will identify with and offers a good starting point for discussion, particularly with the growing numbers of children with anxiety issues that have surfaced during the pandemic. The book concludes with a guide for parents/carers by a consultant trainer in children’s and young people’s mental health issues, Ian Macdonald.