CELEBRATING BODY DIVERSITY AND ACCEPTANCE
THE NEW BOOK HELPING TO FIGHT NEGATIVE BODY IMAGE ISSUES IN YOUNG GIRLS
A significant portion of Australian children as young as four are experiencing negative body image issues with research showing that over a third of four-year-old girls are dissatisfied with their bodies* . Research also shows** that body image perceptions form in very early childhood and unhealthy body image or body dissatisfaction can lead to young girls developing low self-esteem, or be at increased risk for disordered eating in the future.
Educational tools such as books can be key in creating a strong foundation for a positive body image in
children. Charlie's Tales: The Sprites and the Heart Flower is a new children's book from Pretty Foundation , a leading Australian not-for-profit focused on the prevention of negative body image issues in two to six year old girls.
Charlie's Tales: The Sprites and the Heart Flower is a story that encourages the next generation to appreciate their body, embrace their strengths, and all the wonderful things that make them unique. The book tells a heartwarming story of a young girl named Charlie, who goes on a magical adventure to see the Heart Flower bloom with her friends, 'the sprites'. Along the way, Charlie and the sprites employ the special talents and abilities of their bodies to complete the journey; teaching children to celebrate different body types with varying abilities.
Pretty Foundation Founder and CEO, Merissa Forsyth , explains that the Charlie's Tales books aim to educate young girls that their bodies are unique and should not be compared to others.
"Young girls are at a key developmental stage in their preschool years and the foundations for how they
perceive their bodies are already being laid by their parents, their friends and what they see in the media. This new book encourages young girls to embrace the individual talents and abilities of their bodies. We aim to inspire young girls to step into their potential and enter the next phase of their childhood with a more positive relationship with body image," says Forsyth.
"It is important to promote and celebrate body diversity in the preschool years as children as young as three
can start to develop strong stereotypes about weight and body size. Weight stigma is also related to
appearance teasing and victimisation in children. Celebrating body diversity and a ppreciating that all bodies
are different is likely to promote greater body acceptance of one's own body and that of their peers."
To develop the book, Merissa and Pretty Foundation worked with Dr.Stephanie Damiano, a consulting body
image expert . Dr. Damiano explained the importance of educational tools like Charlie's Tales.
"Books like Charlie's Tales: The Sprites and the Heart Flower help to emphasise body diversity and body
appreciation. It is important that parents of young girls employ multiple strategies to aid healthy body image
development by encouraging positive thoughts and feelings about the body, and promoting self-esteem
through positive, educational literature."
Studies show that as girls get older, they tend to compare their appearance to that of others which can lead
to body dissatisfaction in early adolescence. Therefore, it's important we lay a positive foundation early on by encouraging girls to value and feel confident in who they are so they don't feel the need to be like others later on in life."
Charlie's Tales: The Sprites and the Heart Flower also contains a foreword by Lauren Jackson AO OLY, former Australian professional basketball player and Head of Women at Basketball Australia, who is herself a mother concerned with the body image development in young children. She highlights her own journey being held back from playing the sport she loved, overcoming her body image issues and her hopes for her children.
"I was teased at school in my younger years for being tall and gawky and it wasn't until I grew older I saw these differences as a strength and this confidence helped hone my drive to compete in the WNBL, the WNBA and the Olympics. I hope to lay good body image foundations with my own children with tools such as Charlie's Tales to better aid their development. I hope to see them, and their peers, embrace their bodies, celebrate their differences and have the confidence to get involved in a sport and play with self belief and passion," said Jackson.
"This book is a catalyst for change in our society and a powerful tool for parents, educators and coaches to
bring up body confident young women."
The fourth book in the series, Charlie's Tales: The Sprites and the Heart Flower is available for purchase for $10.00 on Pretty Foundation's website ( prettyfoundation.org) and at selected Chemist Warehouse stores from 21 August through to 30 September 2020.
Charlie's Tales: The Sprites and the Heart Flower is illustrated by Laura Stitzel and produced in collaboration with
Viskatoons. The book was developed in collaboration with Athletics Australia, Basketball Australia and
Gymnastics Australia and through the generosity of Major Partner, Liptember Foundation.
Pretty Foundation runs a series of body image initiatives for young girls. If you would like to support the
organisation, visit prettyfoundation.org/donate/