The Shadow of Tallystick Valley: Helping Children Experiencing Family Substance Use


Together, Book of Beasties Ltd, Change Grow Live (CGL), and researchers from the University of Surrey have introduced a one of a kind resource: "The Shadow of Tallystick Valley: Supporting Children Experiencing Family Substance Use", which launched within CGL's work with children. More than just a digital tool for social care, it stands as a guiding light for young children journeying through the wellbeing challenges of family substance misuse.

Millie, Theo, and The Shadow

At the heart of this resource lies a digital comic-style storybook featuring Millie and Theo. Who set out on a journey through Tallystick Valley, a land consumed by 'The Shadow'. As the story unfolds, it subtly unveils the multifaceted impacts of different substances on its users through carefully crafted characters and scenarios representing their effects, and introduced

Understanding the Impact

Substance misuse can drastically alter the dynamics within a family, casting long shadows over young lives. From physical and emotional neglect to exposure to inappropriate behaviours, children can experience a myriad of challenges.

"The Shadow of Tallystick Valley" dives deep into these scenarios, enabling children to recognise signs of substance use, understand behavioural shifts, and most importantly, to realise that their personal wellbeing trumps everything. The message is clear: children's experiences with family substance misuse aren't their fault.

Research & Results

The University of Surrey, our research partner, is conducting a comprehensive study to gauge the resource's efficacy. The research aims to elucidate its impact on children's wellbeing, their knowledge of self-care, and to increase awareness about available support networks.

India Smith, the researcher evaluating Tallystick Valley, commented: "The Shadows of Tallystick Valley is a wonderfully creative and interactive offering with huge potential to support children and young people - it's such an exciting and important project to evaluate in practice."

Testimonials Speak Louder than Words

Children who've interacted with the resource remarked:

"When I feel upset it will make me feel better and calmer. Have to take deep breaths imagine blowing my balloon, learnt today I have to take care of myself."
"I liked thinking about the things that are important to me."

Moreover, the inaugural launch event in London was a resounding success. CGL workers who used the resource noted:

"The activity sheets are a great resource and I think these can be adapted very easily around the work we already deliver."
"The images and characters used in the story are really good, bright and really engaging. It's child-friendly. Told myself we were learning together. Child was really relaxed and confident in use."

Words from the people behind Tallystick Valley

Phil Tottman, Co-Founder of Book of Beasties and the creator of "The Shadow of Tallystick Valley", reflects, "Our collaborative endeavor seeks to be more than just a resource. It aspires to be a companion, a guide, and a solace for children navigating the complexities of family substance use and wellbeing in general."

The Road Ahead

Our vision doesn't stop here. In the coming year, "The Shadow of Tallystick Valley" will be made freely accessible to organisations worldwide. And although translations aren't set in stone, we acknowledge the global necessity of such a resource.

We invite stakeholders and supporters to join us in this noble mission, for the shadows of today will pave the way for a brighter, more informed tomorrow.

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Wednesday, September 13, 2023
The Shadow of Tallystick Valley: Helping Children Experiencing Family Substance Use


Together, Book of Beasties Ltd, Change Grow Live (CGL), and researchers from the University of Surrey have introduced a one of a kind resource: "The Shadow of Tallystick Valley: Supporting Children Experiencing Family Substance Use", which launched within CGL's work with children. More than just a digital tool for social care, it stands as a guiding light for young children journeying through the wellbeing challenges of family substance misuse.

Millie, Theo, and The Shadow

At the heart of this resource lies a digital comic-style storybook featuring Millie and Theo. Who set out on a journey through Tallystick Valley, a land consumed by 'The Shadow'. As the story unfolds, it subtly unveils the multifaceted impacts of different substances on its users through carefully crafted characters and scenarios representing their effects, and introduced

Understanding the Impact

Substance misuse can drastically alter the dynamics within a family, casting long shadows over young lives. From physical and emotional neglect to exposure to inappropriate behaviours, children can experience a myriad of challenges.

"The Shadow of Tallystick Valley" dives deep into these scenarios, enabling children to recognise signs of substance use, understand behavioural shifts, and most importantly, to realise that their personal wellbeing trumps everything. The message is clear: children's experiences with family substance misuse aren't their fault.

Research & Results

The University of Surrey, our research partner, is conducting a comprehensive study to gauge the resource's efficacy. The research aims to elucidate its impact on children's wellbeing, their knowledge of self-care, and to increase awareness about available support networks.

India Smith, the researcher evaluating Tallystick Valley, commented: "The Shadows of Tallystick Valley is a wonderfully creative and interactive offering with huge potential to support children and young people - it's such an exciting and important project to evaluate in practice."

Testimonials Speak Louder than Words

Children who've interacted with the resource remarked:

"When I feel upset it will make me feel better and calmer. Have to take deep breaths imagine blowing my balloon, learnt today I have to take care of myself."
"I liked thinking about the things that are important to me."

Moreover, the inaugural launch event in London was a resounding success. CGL workers who used the resource noted:

"The activity sheets are a great resource and I think these can be adapted very easily around the work we already deliver."
"The images and characters used in the story are really good, bright and really engaging. It's child-friendly. Told myself we were learning together. Child was really relaxed and confident in use."

Words from the people behind Tallystick Valley

Phil Tottman, Co-Founder of Book of Beasties and the creator of "The Shadow of Tallystick Valley", reflects, "Our collaborative endeavor seeks to be more than just a resource. It aspires to be a companion, a guide, and a solace for children navigating the complexities of family substance use and wellbeing in general."

The Road Ahead

Our vision doesn't stop here. In the coming year, "The Shadow of Tallystick Valley" will be made freely accessible to organisations worldwide. And although translations aren't set in stone, we acknowledge the global necessity of such a resource.

We invite stakeholders and supporters to join us in this noble mission, for the shadows of today will pave the way for a brighter, more informed tomorrow.