Professional reference of literary work Hello fear!

Author: Kvetoslava Kotrbová

Author: Iryna Zelyk
Illustrator: Viktoria Radushynska
Release year: 2021

Slovak version


Therapeutic goals: support of coping with fear
Recommended age group: 3+
Form of the work: individual, group

Brief content of the work:

A picture book about feelings opens up the topic of fear with the help of other beautiful stories. Uma the fox, Lightning the wolf, Félix the snail and the lizard siblings Lolo and Lili experience their first day at the School of life. The animals are curious and very happy, but at the same time, each of them experiences fear of a different kind inside. The lizards are afraid of the dark, the snail has its own monster, the wolf is worried about being without its mother, and the fox cares too much about the opinion of others and is afraid that they will not like it. Fortunately, there is a wise teacher who will help her students to meet their fears, recognize them, understand them and show them that by mastering them, we will find the strength we have inside. Pupils will have a unique experience. Would you believe that any of us can do that? The book is not intended only for young readers, but can also become an inspiration for parents, who can adapt it to the needs of their child.

It can be very useful for children between the ages of 5 and 8, during the period when they are building their personality, joining a team, establishing relationships and encountering situations in which self-confidence is the basis for coping. Thanks to the illustrations, it is also suitable for younger three-year-old children. Since the story is about feelings, there aren’t many restrictions on the reader.

The publication consists of six chapters – the initial meeting of the animals in the School of life, four stories of specific animals and a comprehensive final chapter entitled By themselves. At the end of the book are added the author’s reflections on the topic of fear and the four types of fear she deals with in the story (fear of abandonment, fear of not being liked by others, fear of the dark and fear of monsters) as well as recommendations for parents – what attitude to be interested in them and how to support your children in coping with them. How can fear be understood and accepted and thus managed. That it requires a lot of attention and effort to get it under control and, when it comes to the child, a lot of communication. The author also shares her own experience when she “allowed” her child to experience the feeling he had when confronting a new situation that he was afraid of and when she kindly accompanied him with supportive sentences that it is okay because it is a new experience and he can regulate it as it needs. The child then allowed himself to experience a new experience in joy and happiness, which he might otherwise have avoided without such a supportive, kind guidance of his mother, but thanks to how he managed it, he still fondly remembers this experience.

Description of the possibilities of professional pedagogical/therapeutic work:

This, as well as the other previously published books about feelings by this author, are also included to the category of self-help books in addition to the genre of fairy tales (Kotrbová, 2022a).

Other mentioned publications (The Tale of Two Lizards and the Sun, 2018, Who is Faster, 2019, I love You, 2019 and Me and Mr. Anger, 2020) in addition to specially marked words about feelings that must be emphasized when reading aloud to a child (power, mysteriousness , respect, admiration, exceptionality, curiosity, insecurity, courage, joy, fear,…), they also contain recommendations on how to translate the story into a joint theater play, helpful questions and instructions for completing sentences and playing games with children . Along with the publications, the author also published a card game for the family, Emotional garden. A game about feelings that unites the family (2020) as well as a recorder for recording the memories of the parents of the child You are a miracle for me (2021), which are accompanied by audio lullabies available from the author’s website https://www.ávanky.

To the first story – Felix and the monster 

The first of the stories about the snail Félix’s fear of the monster, for example, offers children and parents the opportunity to “write out the fear” when the child or adult cannot talk about it. She-bear Žofia, who is a teacher at the School of life in our story, encourages the student to find his own way to express something, if, for example, he cannot speak. The snail in the fairy tale chooses exactly this way, while he especially appreciates that he was given the opportunity to decide for himself how to let others know about his fear. We discussed the meaning and method of writing therapeutic letters in bibliotherapy in a special contribution (Kotrbová, 2022b), which we bring to your attention in this context to support professional self-study.

In this story, even the snail receives an answer in the form of a letter from Mrs. teacher, in which, in addition to the assurance that fear is natural and when it is accepted, for example by being admitted out loud, it weakens. The snail should also close its eyes and imagine how the fear disappears, while it is actually another very nicely and sensitively incorporated therapeutic technique of shrinking into the story, for which if interested in further professional information on how to work with it, we recommend the reader to read the article, in which we also explain the possibility of using the therapeutic technique of enlargement (according to Vašková 2022 in Kotrbová 2023). Although in a slightly different way than it was used in this work by the author on the very next page of the story. So that a child or an adult can feel their strength, courage and peace when facing their fear right from the beginning of strengthening, Vašková (ibid) recommends starting immediately with the imaginative technique of enlarging, and then the problem seems to shrink by itself, until it disappears completely. In addition to the relief of the main character when he tries the recommendations at the end of the story, there is also an important message for everyone else – the animals in the School of life as well as the readers themselves, that it is necessary to share successful attempts to control one’s own fear, which is an important message and inspiration for others , so that they know that it is possible and that it can be done.

To the second story – Lightning and Solitude 

In another story about the wolf Lightning, we encounter the fear of loneliness. A wolf cub/child who likes to be in his pack/family comes to school, to a new place where he has never been before and he likes something there and at the same time misses something there. The question of the teddy bear teacher “What do you need to be happy so that you feel comfortable and stop being afraid?” is a complementary element of the whole in the sense of gestalt psychotherapy, but in a certain sense also of psychosynthesis (Kratochvíl, 2007, Rainwater, 1993), to strengthen awareness , that what is missing can be invited, even if perhaps only in feelings and imaginations. The answer allows recognition, re-establishment of wholeness and recognition of important feelings. This fear of loneliness actually stems from love, because the child lacks what he likes and that needs to be acknowledged. Allowing the idea that in the heart/in the soul, loved ones can still be with us even in new places, that those whom the wolf loves are in his heart, are always with him, is liberating. And they can be there forever.

In pedagogical, but also therapeutic practice, for example, when transitioning from a home family environment to a kindergarten or elementary school, we support parents, so that the child can take  with him and keep close to him (for example, in a jacket, or wherever the child wants to wear) a favorite toy, a favorite pillow or pillow covers or duvets to make it easier to fall asleep during the afternoon rest, so that in the new environment he has something familiar with him that creates a sense of security, a photo of his mother or another relative, etc.

The same essentially applies to adults as well. During a long-term change of environment, they should be able to take with them objects that they like or that remind them of important people they like and nice moments from their original environment to better cope with new circumstances.

For some children it is extremely important, perhaps for those who felt very good and safe at home and therefore do not want to change the environment. And some like challenges in the external environment, because the original one already seems familiar to them, they look for adventure and thanks to this, they manage transitions or adaptation more quickly. It is necessary to be sensitive to individual differences between children and to respect them.

To the third story – Uma and her worries about whether others will like her 

This story tells about the important desire to feel part of families, nature and have friends with whom we can live in harmony and joy. That’s why we want to please them. However, sometimes the desire to belong somewhere is so strong that we stop being ourselves and start doing things we don’t even want to do. She-bear teacher Žofia will explain to the fox Uma how she recognizes when she is truly herself and when she is not, offering her specific situations in which she has already succeeded. Authenticity is usually associated with beautiful feelings of deeper spontaneous peace that it is meant to be and it is without any doubt or fear.

To the fourth story – Lizards and their fear of the dark 

Although lizards are afraid of the dark, already at the beginning of the story, the child is offered a corrective experience in the form of a short mini-story, according to which darkness can be a source of joy for some animals, and as an example, the snail Félix, who goes out with his family at night to enjoy-sitting on plants (choosing such a gentler type of animal is also very suitable for keeping the communication situation with the child in the safety zone). She-bear Žofia directs children’s attention to the perception of the inner qualities of the essence of the world (sensation), even though its visible form may change at night due to the change of light, when she says in the story “When it gets dark, everything around remains the same, only the day turns into night , to give life a break, nothing else changes.” And he explains that day and night are inseparable, but that fear of the unknown is natural and it’s okay to seek the support of an adult.

In the story, the author advises children to close their eyes and focus on breathing in such situations when they are afraid of the dark. They breathed in three times and then exhaled calmly so that they could feel calm again. Also further, to search in their heart for the light that shines through all darkness and then, when they find it and open their eyes, to convince themselves that there is nothing to fear in the darkness. Through the mouth of the teddy bear, as teacher Žofia, she advises the children in life that when they become aware of their fear, recognize it and accept it, and when they continue to train in this way (with concentration on the breath and visualization of the light that expands the darkness), they will definitely not be afraid of the dark anymore as before. Professionally experienced readers do not need to be enlightened that this is a recommendation to use proven relaxation and visualization psychological techniques designed to alleviate and manage the fear of the dark.

In the final chapter, entitled By yourself, the children/students of the School of life meet again with their parents who came to pick them up from school. They appreciate what children have achieved today by being able to look their own fear straight in the eyes and at the same time recognize the strength and beauty they have inside to overcome fear. They are also reminded that fear is a useful aid for decision-making in situations that may be dangerous “We don’t have to be afraid to light a fire in the hearth, but we don’t jump into it. We don’t jump into deep water if we can’t swim. But otherwise water can be wonderful and learning to swim is great.” (ibid) It is important that the child can talk about his fear with his parents or another person important to him. It is necessary to guide parents so that they know how to properly support their child or themselves in coping with fear and allow themselves to feel happy and themselves.

Description of experience from own work with a literary work:

I also read these stories to my son, as we used to when he was younger, before falling asleep. Even today, when he is older, the book is part of the “pile” of books that we have created at home in the meantime, and he agrees that they can be read to him again.

Zelyk, Iryna. 2018. Príbeh o dvoch jašteričkách a slnku. Neobyčajná kniha o detských pocitoch. [A story about two lizards and the sun. An unusual book about children’s feelings.] Bratislava: Female Force. 56 p. ISBN 978-80-973083-2-2
Zelyk, Iryna. 2019. Ľúbim Ťa. Knižka o jedinečnej rodičovskej láske. [I love you. A book about the unique parental love.]  Bratislava: Female Force. 56 p.ISBN 978-80-973083-5-3
Zelyk, Iryna. 2019. Kto je rýchlejší? Príbeh o láske k sebe samému. [Who is faster. A story about self-love.] Bratislava: Female Force. 56 p. ISBN978-80-973083-1-5
Zelyk, Iryna. 2020. Ja a pánko hnev. Pozoruhodná kniha o tom, ako ovládnuť svoj hnev. [Me and Mr. anger. A remarkable book on how to control your anger.] Bratislava:Female Force. 56 p. ISBN 978-80-99971-01-2
Zelyk, Iryna. 2021. Ahoj strach! Kniha o tom, ako pochopiť a zvládnuť svoj strach. [Hello fear! A book about how to understand and manage your fear.] Bratislava: Female Force. 56 p. ISBN 978-80-99971-04-3
Zelyk, Iryna. 2020. Emocionálna záhrada. Hra o pocitoch, ktorá spája rodinu. [Emotional garden. A game about feelings that brings the family together.] Bratislava: FemaleForce, 2020. 8-588007-277554
Zelyk, Iryna. 2021. Ty si môj zázrak! [You are a miracle to me.] Bratislava: Female Force. 56 p. ISBN 978-80-99971-06-7
Kotrbová, Kvetoslava. 2022a. Svojpomocné knihy v biblioterapii. [Self-help books in bibliotherapy.] pp. 95-110. In Studia Scientifica Facultatis Paedagogicae, vol. XXI., no. 5/2022, Ružomberok: Catholic University, 2022. 180 p. Available online:
Kotrbová, Kvetoslava. 2022b. Terapeutické listy v biblioterapii. [Therapeutic letters in bibliotherapy.] pp. 68-82. In Problems of Education and Teaching in the Era of Digital Society. Collection of Scientific Articles. European Scientific e-Journal, 1-16. Ostrava: Tuculart Edition. Available online:
Kotrbová, Kvetoslava. 2023. Demonštrácia niektorých terapeutických techník charakteru umeleckých jazykových prostriedkov prostredníctvom diela Moláková a kol. Záhada vianočného svetla [Demonstration of some therapeutic techniques of the nature of artistic language means through the work of Moláková et al. The mystery of Christmas lights.] (in press)
Kratochvíl, Stanislav. 2007. Základy psychoterapie. [Basics of psychotherapy.] Prague: Portal. 384 p. ISBN 8073671220
Rainwater, Janette. 1993. Vezměte život do vlastních rukou. [Take your life into your own hands.] (Translated into Czech language by Alena Hnídková, 1993). 223 p. ISBN 80-7169-026-0


It has not undergone language editing!


The recommendation was created by:
PhDr. Kvetoslava Kotrbová, PhD., MPH, Workplace: Faculty of Education, Comenius University in Bratislava, Slovakia, Last update: February 9, 2023
The recommendation from Slovak into English translated by: Mária Trechová, Workplace: PRO SKIZP – Association for support of Slovak Chamber of Physicists, Laboratory Diagnosticians, Language Speech Therapists and Therapeutic Educators, c. a. Bratislava, Slovakia


Recommended citation procedure:
Kotrbová Kvetoslava. 2023. Professional reference and sharing of experience for the literary work of the author Iryna Zelyk Hello fear! A book about how to understand and manage your fear. In Kotrbová, K. et al: Bratislava: PRO SKIZP – Association to support the development of the Slovak Chamber of Clinical Physics, Laboratory Diagnosticians, Language Speech Therapists and Therapeutic Pedagogues, 2023.  ISBN 978-80-974667-0-1 Available on:


The contribution was created thanks to support from the European Union Erasmus+ program, Key action 2 – Cooperation between organizations and institutions, KA210 – Small partnerships for cooperation in the field of education and training. Project name “Prototype of online teaching aid for bibliotherapy”, project number 2022-1-SK01-KA210-VET-000082483. It represents the opinion of the author and the European Commission is not responsible for any use of the information contained therein.

Additional information


Hello fear! A book about how to understand and manage your fear
Author: Iryna Zelyk
Illustrator: Viktoria Radushynska
Release year: 2021
Edition order: 1st edition
Publisher: FemaleForce, Bratislava
Total number of pages: 56
ISBN 978-80-99971-04-3
Literary genre: fairy tale/self-help book
Slovak version