Casey, the fourteen year old narrator, knows just what it’s like to be miserable. It started slowly: backing away from birthday parties, avoiding the Fourth of July fireworks, leaving before the end of movies. By second grade, stomach aches and tantrums before school seemed as common as strawberry jelly on toast. Then, just before her fourth grade chorus concert-as her mom was braiding her hair-Casey puked. No concert. No post-concert ice cream with her friends. Only a night filled with tears. Everything changed that next morning. Casey and her mom had had enough The days of being timid were over. They got mad and decided then and there to solve the puzzle called worry. Casey expresses a serious commitment to the task, but couples it with feisty, irreverent humor, as she releases a gaggle of characters and their stories. The narrative offers cautious kids (and their sometimes worried, often frustrated parents) a realistic guide for stepping into the new and scary experiments that arrive at each developmental stage, right up through the teen years. Will her frightful encounter with the snarling dog keep her forever from walking to the bus stop, or the ominous storm clouds end her fun at the water park? Will an asparagus-dog with cheese get her into the clubhouse-building project? Can you really talk to your worry like it’s a squirrel? Will Lindsey’s coaching to “loosen up and scream” actually help her handle the scary-but-awesome one-minute and fifty-two second Yankee Cannonball roller coaster? In PLAYING WITH ANXIETY: CASEY’S GUIDE FOR TEENS AND KIDS, the companion book to Reid Wilson and Lynn Lyons’ parenting book, ANXIOUS KIDS, ANXIOUS PARENTS: 7 WAYS TO STOP THE WORRY CYCLE AND RAISE COURAGEOUS & INDEPENDENT CHILDREN (HCI Books, 2013), Casey includes stories of everyday encounters-imagining warm chocolate chip cookies coming out of the oven, brother Elliot’s MARSH MAN comic book-as well as surprising feats-the accidental discovery of Post-it Notes, Benjamin’s uncle Steve’s jump from the helicopter, blind Eric Weihenmayer’s climb of the Seven Summits-to show the reader how to face the trials of the middle years.