CHARLOTTE – Carla A. Carlisle, child advocate and trauma expert, will launch her latest book, “My Big Notebook,” on May 7.
Carlisle co-wrote the children’s book with her 12-year-old son, JC, as a tool to help elementary school-age children express their feelings in a healthy and positive way.
“I created the book as a fun and healing way for children, particularly those who’ve experienced trauma, to talk about their feelings,” said Carlisle, an adoptive parent and IT professional. “Too often they remain silent because no one gave them the tools or a safe space to express their feelings, which can often lead to self-destructive behavior.”
In her first book, “Journey to the Son,” Carlisle recounts her emotional and challenging eight-year battle to gain custody of JC. Through her parenthood journey, Carlisle realized that providing a safe, loving and stable home wasn’t enough to help children overcome toxic stress and trauma.
As a result, Carlisle sought help from child therapists and psychiatrists. She became an active team member with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s Crisis Intervention Team training program. Carlisle frequently serves as a panelist and guest speaker at local community forums to share her and JC’s experiences to champion the welfare, stability and safety of children.
Since becoming an adoptive parent, Carlisle has partnered with organizations including Mental Health America of Central Carolinas,National Alliance on Mental Illness and Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute to bring awareness about trauma and its impact on children.
“My Big Notebook,” affectionately called the “buddy in a book,” includes real stories, healthy coping mechanisms, positive affirmations, coloring and journaling pages and mental health resources. The book was intentionally designed as a composition notebook to keep children’s feelings as discreetly as they choose. The book can also be used with a trusted adult in a classroom or family setting.
“I’m excited about the healing and transformation this book will bring to the lives of so many children who are scared to talk about their feelings or don’t know how,” Carlisle said. “So far, we’ve had close to 400 copies purchased and donated to organizations like KinderMourn, Safe Alliance, Atrium Health Levine Children’s Hospital, Charlotte Angels and Alexander Children’s Foundation. My goal is to have 500 books committed to donation by May 7.”
The book launch will take place on May 7 from 1 to 4 p.m. at Studio 229 on Brevard in Charlotte, in honor of National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day. The event includes a VIP reception, entertainment and guest speakers followed by a book signing. Parents, caregivers, teachers, social workers, medical professionals, therapists and child advocates are encouraged to attend. Tickets range from $25 to $40 and are available on Eventbrite.
Visit carlaacarlisle.com for details about Carlisle.