Gina Perkins, Co-Author
Like most that suffer from anxiety, Gina has been living with her disorder for most of her life. Her earliest memory of experiencing childhood anxiety herself was at just 3 years old when she’d bite her hands as a coping mechanism. It was not until she was in her early 20’s that she was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder. While seeking counseling and support, Gina tried to share her experiences openly but soon realized this wasn’t an illness most people talked about publicly.
While pregnant with her first daughter in 2009, Gina’s anxiety became more pronounced, as it does for many women, and she began the start of what would be a mission to destigmatize anxiety.
When her firstborn daughter was four, Gina recognized anxiety in her also, and dove into researching how to equip her daughter with tools to not only accept her condition but to thrive because of it.
Her work as a preschool teacher solidified her mission to ensure children suffering from anxiety would recognize it as their superpower, and to arm their parents with tools to help them move beyond the stigma.
Gina is a certified Anxiety & Stress Management Specialist through American School Counselor Association. She has shared her story at mental health conferences and founded an anxiety advocacy parent support group at her daughter’s school.
Currently, Gina serves as a primary school paraeducator where she supports students in learning academic, communication, behavior, organization, social-emotional, mobility, transition, and daily living skills. As she has embraced her superpower, she continues to seek out those with familiar superpowers.
Katie Not Afraidy was born from both the desire to empower children to successfully discuss and manage their own anxiety, and from Gina’s ultimate mission of ensuring all children feel safe and supported in their struggles with their “Story Bugs.”
Gina is married with two daughters, one of whom bears a close resemblance to Katie, and lives in small charming town, just outside Portland, Oregon.
Delilah Perkins, Co-Author
DJ is short for Delilah Joy, and is the very girl whom Katie Not Afraidy was written after.
She loves animals, sports, nature, and art. DJ currently lives with three dogs, one cat, one little sister, and two awesome parents (her words, we swear!). These very things create an equation for chaos, often referred to as The Perkins Circus.
Delilah says that she not only lives with smiling (and sometimes slobbery!) faces, but that she also lives with anxiety disorder. DJ is quick to share that she isn’t upset nor ashamed of her excessive worrying. Instead, she views it as a learning experience. She is proactive in finding tools and strategies to cope with her anxiety, and is transparent in sharing those skills with others.
DJ wanted to write Katie Not Afraidy as a way of helping others. Through this book, she hopes that adults will better understand the anxious children in their lives, and that anxious children would know they are not alone.
Kristina Yu, Illustrator
Kristina Yu is a Los Angeles based illustrator, designer and owner of Cheery Human Studios who loves to create colorful and whimsical art. Her love for color started as early as she can remember. As a child, she loved picture books, Rainbow Bride, Disney songs, crayons, and sticker collecting. Not much has changed since then except she now creates her own stickers and is thrilled to be working with Gina on her very first picture book, "Katie Not Afraidy"!
Before immersing herself in the world of Cheery Human and illustration, Kristina worked in the tech industry as a UI/UX designer for 9 years. When time permits, she enjoys designing mobile and desktop experiences for companies that have strong heartfelt mission statements that reflect her values and are doing great work for the community.
"Katie Not Afraidy" is a dream project for Kristina who can personally relate to Katie’s strength and vulnerability when those wretched Story Bugs come around!She hopes that her contribution to this book will not only help children but adults like herself who have lived with some form of anxiety all their lives.
Kimberly Graves, Editor
Kimberly Graves is an Oregon-based member of the grammar police force. Her dream job would be working as a children’s librarian or editing children’s books. Kids and books are a clear recipe for happiness. When Gina approached her about editing “Katie Not Afraidy”, she jumped at the chance to put her grammar skills to work. When she is not wielding her red pen, she is busy reading, cooking, gardening, homeschooling her two amazing girls, and being the wife of a pretty cool firefighter. She strives to be as motivating as Ruth Bader Ginsburg and as kind as Fred Rogers. When it comes to superpowers, she has many, her most useful one to date has been her keen ability to find typos all around her. No menu, book or sign is safe from scrutiny when she is around.
“Katie Not Afraidy” holds a special place in Kimberly’s heart as she and her oldest daughter are on a journey to live their best lives, despite having anxiety. She knows that “Katie’s” story will resonate with all who read it. She hopes readers will be encouraged to share their own story and offer love and acceptance to others on their own journey.
“Knowing that we can be loved exactly as we are gives us all the best opportunity for growing into the healthiest of people.” – Fred Rogers
Zach Perkins, Designer