Do you remember your favorite childhood picture book? The one that was so special that, even before you could read, you knew all the words to by heart? Do you remember the comforting feeling you had every time you opened it up? If you thought that feeling was lost to you now that you’re an adult, I have good news. There is a new picture book just for grownups that you’ll want to read again and again, and that book is Be Wild Be Free by Amber Fossey.

Be Wild Be Free is filled with delightful full-color illustrations and inspirational passages that will really resonate with you, especially during these deeply emotionally challenging times. Simple and humorous, Be Wild Be Free reminds us all of how unique and wild we are inside and out, through the use of poetry and fable and charming watercolor illustrations of animals as majestic as a bear and humble as a blob fish. And if you think it’s just for kiddos, fear not: Fossey isn’t afraid of using some pretty grown-up language to get her lovely and encouraging points across.


Excerpted from BE WILD BE FREE by Amber Fossey, reprinted with permission by HarperOne, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Copyright 2020.

Fossey, who is a doctor-turned-artist, specialized in forensic psychiatry, working with severely mentally ill offenders in prisons, secure hospitals and the community. As her author bio states, Fossey “is driven by a deep-rooted compassion for those whom society rejects, mistreats, and ignores, and for those suffering mental anguish. She believes all souls, human and animal, deserve to be loved and treated as equals. This manifests in her art where she often champions the unloved, the feared and the endangered.” As an illustrator, Fossey began painting animals as a way to understand and cope with her own anxiety. Because she has not only observed mental illness in others but has experienced it herself, Fossey’s advice and reminders are warm and genuine—not another shallow infographic about how to cope with anxiety and depression. Fossey is a true champion for the human spirit, reminding us that we need to shake off societal pressure and be the most wild, most free versions of ourselves.

As I read Be Wild Be Free, I admired how down to earth and funny Fossey’s prose and poetry were. I often saw what I would say to a struggling friend who has forgotten how unique, strong and special they are. And sometimes? I just saw myself.


Excerpted from BE WILD BE FREE by Amber Fossey, reprinted with permission by HarperOne, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Copyright 2020.

If you know someone who needs to be reminded of how wonderful they are in a way that isn’t patronizing, but is gentle, loving, and supportive, using language that we can all relate to, I highly encourage you to give them a copy of this magical little book. I know it has found a place in my heart, and on my list of favorite things to recommend, give and share.

Click here to purchase Be Wild Be Free on Amazon.

Click here to purchase Be Wild Be Free through IndieBound.

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