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Girl, 10, writes book on how to cope when parents split

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A British girl who wrote tips to help children to cope when their parents divorce has won a publishing contract.

Libby Rees, who was nine when she wrote the book, was flown to Scotland with her mother to sign the deal after the company made an offer within 24 hours of receiving the manuscript.

Help, Hope and Happiness includes tips and hints as well as illustrations on the ways she used to cope with the separation of her parents 3 years ago. Libby, now 10, said: "It's very exciting. I couldn't believe it when they said 'yes.' I hope it helps other children."

Her mother, Kathryn Loughnan, 41, who works with special needs children, but does not keep in touch with Libby's father, said the trip to Inverness to sign the book deal had been "surreal".

She said: "It all happened so quickly. We'd been out for a walk and were talking when Libby said every time she threw a stick for the dog, she was throwing away something that irritated her.

"We talked about it later and encouraged her to write down a list of other bits of advice. She got on the computer and really seized the moment, which is the best way to act.

"She then printed off some copies and e-mailed them to publishers. I didn't know how they would react and was a bit worried about rejection.

"But the following day we got a call from Aultbea Publishing in Inverness and they were interested in publishing her book. We were amazed and very grateful."

Loughnan, from Ringwood in Hampshire, said: "If you go into a book shop there's always a big section on self help for adults but little or nothing aimed at children."

She said the book would have an initial print run of 1,000 but was unclear how much her daughter would earn. "Anything she does make, Libby has said some of it should go to Save the Children and an animal charity."

Charles Faulkner, who runs Aultbea Publishing, which has commissioned another two books from Libby, said she was the youngest author they had signed.

He said: "For one so young to be able to put these things into words is absolutely exceptional. She has obviously got some unbelievable talent."

Libby's top tips to beat blues

Take a break: Try to find some time to be alone. Enjoy a favourite film or book. This will give you some valuable time off from worrying.

Phrase: Think of a funny phrase which always makes you laugh!

Positive thinking: Whenever anything happens try to look for the positive aspects. Try looking in the mirror, first thing in the morning and say out loud to yourself "I am better and better every day!" five times.

An achievement: Find something that you fear and try to overcome it, say for instance handling a spider.

Review your week: Take some time out to review the week just gone and decide what worked well as well as what was a problem for you.

Let it all out: Find a place where you can be all alone and let it all out. Scream, shout, stamp your feet, whatever you feel like doing. This physical activity will help you to release all the anger inside. Find a heap of sticks and stones and throw them.

The Times

(C) 2005 China Daily. via ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved

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