Melinda Rolls of Merrimack publishes children’s book to give kids helpful tools
MERRIMACK, NH – While many adults consider childhood a carefree time, it can actually be filled with worry and anxiety, whether over issues like friends, school, doctor visits, or family issues. Girl Scout Melinda Rolls wanted to help children cope with those worries by writing a children’s book backed up by helpful techniques from a clinical psychologist. Her enterprising effort has earned Rolls the highest honor available to girls in grades 9-12, the Girl Scout Gold Award.
Rolls, 18, of Merrimack, wrote, illustrated, and published “Worry Stars: Helping Children Mindfully Cope with Worries,” which features a little alien named Leo who feels what he calls “stars buzzing inside him” when he worries. His friend Gerald helps him with mindfulness exercises, and the story ends with the thought that when you look up at the night sky you are seeing each worry star that’s been overcome by someone.
“As a kid, I struggled with anxiety,” Rolls said. “Most adults tend to think kids are fine. For my case, when I was 5 or 6, I was really anxious about everything, sad all the time. Even if it’s just minimal worries, going to school, asking for help on a math problem, it can be a lot. Kids should be given the resources to deal with that. I wanted to tell kids everyone goes through it, and here’s something that can help.”
Dr. Susan Yardley is a clinical psychologist who helped Rolls as a child, and specializes in the treatment of children with anxiety disorders.
“I was very excited about Melinda’s project because so many children struggle with anxiety and often feel alone with their worries,” she said. “Melinda’s book, ‘Worry Stars,’ helps children to see anxiety through a unique lens while the characters demonstrate how to cope with difficult feelings. I am certain that children will enjoy the story line along with the adorable illustrations. Melinda had a vision about what she wanted to create and worked with great independence to achieve her goal. She sought consultation to verify the accuracy of the information she presented and to seek editing feedback prior to her final draft.”
Yardley also saw growth in Rolls as she worked on the book.
“She demonstrated her own resiliency as she completed her senior year of high school during a pandemic, worked part-time teaching gymnastics, applied and was accepted to several colleges, and wrote and illustrated a fabulous children’s book in her spare time!” she said.
Rolls not only came up with the plot, she taught herself digital illustration skills, which she would like to continue doing in the future.
A lifelong Girl Scout, Rolls has also earned Girl Scouting’s Bronze and Silver Awards, available to girls in younger years. She has traveled, developed outdoor skills, mentored younger girls, and became a cookie entrepreneur with her troop. Proceeds from her troop’s cookie businesses helped to finance her book.
“I’ve done so much!” she said. “I think the most exciting thing was we went to Canada, a big trip our troop did. It was the first time I’ve been out of the country. Another highlight was helping with younger Girl Scouts. You get to an age where it’s not about yourself anymore, it’s about helping the younger girls.”
Rolls is now a freshman at Hofstra University in New York, studying journalism, and aiming at becoming a TV news anchor.
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Gold Award Girl Scouts don’t just change the world for the better, they change it for good. The Gold Award is earned by girls in grades 9–12 who demonstrate extraordinary leadership in developing sustainable solutions to local, national, and global challenges. Since 1916, Girl Scouts have answered the call to drive lasting, impactful change. They earn college scholarships, demonstrate high educational and career outcomes, and are active in their communities.
Melinda Rolls has answered the call to drive lasting, impactful change, and her Gold Award is a testament to her remarkable dedication to improving her community and the world.
About the Girl Scout Gold Award
- Gold Award Girl Scouts on average spend one to two years on their project.
- A Gold Award project must be sustainable after the girl’s involvement ends.
- The average age of Gold Award Girl Scouts is 17.
- Since 1916, more than 1 million girls have earned the Gold Award or its equivalent.
- Gold Award Girl Scouts are entitled to enlist at a higher pay grade when they join the military.
- University research indicates that noting you are a Gold Award Girl Scout on a college application is influential in the admissions decision-making process.
- Twenty-two young women from New Hampshire and Vermont earned their Gold Award so far in the 2020-2021 membership year as part of Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains.
- The Girl Scout Gold Award is the mark of the truly remarkable!
We Are Girl Scouts
Girl Scouts bring their dreams to life and work together to build a better world. Through programs from coast to coast, Girl Scouts of all backgrounds and abilities can be unapologetically themselves as they discover their strengths and rise to meet new challenges—whether they want to climb to the top of a tree or the top of their class, lace up their boots for a hike or advocate for climate justice, or make their first best friends. Backed by trusted adult volunteers, mentors, and millions of alums, Girl Scouts lead the way as they find their voices and make changes that affect the issues most important to them. To join us, volunteer, reconnect, or donate, visit girlscouts.org.
Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains serves girls throughout New Hampshire and Vermont through volunteer-run troops, events, and virtual programs. Visit www.girlscoutsgwm.org to learn more.