The Orange Balloon



The book started with an orange balloon. One day, Rosalie’s daughter couldn’t fall asleep. Earlier that year, they had moved house and her daughter missed her old friends and school terribly. She was troubled by naughty voices in her head that wouldn’t go away. Then, they made up the following story.


This blog is published in the Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week 2017. For more information, please visit Place2Be.







Rosie is lying in bed.

Daddy has read her a bedtime story

and given her a cuddle.

‘Sweet dreams, little girl.’


Rosie is lying in bed.

Mummy has given her a drink to help her fall asleep

and kissed her goodnight.

‘Sweet dreams, little girl.’


Rosie is lying in bed.

But she can’t sleep.

The voices in her head won’t quiet down.


Rosie turns on the light.

She picks up a book and reads a little.

But the voices won’t stop talking.

‘Stop, voices!’ Rosie shouts.


Then she picks up Mister Monkey.

She gives Mister Monkey a cuddle

and puts him beside her under the duvet.

‘Sweet dreams, Mister Monkey!’


Rosie lies back down again.

Next to Mister Monkey.

But the voices still won’t be quiet.

Stupid voices!


Mummy comes into Rosie’s room.

‘Are you still awake?’

’Yes mummy,’ Rosie says

‘The voices in my head won’t stop talking.’


Mummy lies down next to Rosie.

‘Shall we send the voices away?

Just shut your eyes

and try to breathe very calmly.’


Rosie lies down. On her back.

She breathes in and out.

Her belly is going up and down with each breath.
‘We are going to send the voices away with a balloon’,

mummy says. ‘You can pick a colour.’

‘Orange,’ says Rosie.

‘The balloon is going to be orange.’

‘Good!’ says mummy.


‘Take a good look at that orange balloon.

What does it look like?’


Rosie looks carefully at the balloon in her head.

‘It’s big.

Because there are lots of voices

and they all have to fit in.’


‘Good,’ says mummy.

‘And what shape does the balloon have?’

‘It’s the shape of my head.

Because that will make the voices think that they’re inside my head!’


‘That’s clever of you,’ mummy says

‘Is the balloon finished now?’


‘It also has a rope attached to it,’ Rosie says

‘That way it looks like the balloon has a neck.

Just like me.’


‘Okay,’ says mummy.

‘Now we are going to put all the voices inside the balloon.

Are you ready?


Rosie gathers all of the little voices in her head.

She blows and blows.



One by one she blows the voices into the orange balloon.

It becomes bigger and bigger.



Rosie can feel herself calming down.


‘Are all the voices inside the balloon?’ mummy asks.

’Then tie the balloon shut very tightly with the rope.

That way they won’t be able to get back out.’


Rosie ties the rope in a pretty bow.

Then she slowly lets go of the balloon.

Quietly, the balloon floats away,

across Rosie’s bed, past her bedside lamp,

and out through the open window.


Rosie watches the balloon fly away.

It becomes quiet inside her head.

It becomes quiet in her room.


balloonRosie is asleep.

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