Meet Shona Innes, Author of the BIG HUG Series

I recently caught up with Shona Innes, a clinical and forensic psychologist and now author of the BIG HUG Series of books through The Five Mile Press.

Shona chats to us about her new BIG HUG series of books and how they came about from letters she has been writing to children as part of their therapy for over 20-years. Just beautiful.

We also found the time to chat about the recent national survey of mental health of Australia's youngest and the findings that 1 in 7 children have experienced a mental health disorder and littlies as young as 4 are suffering from anxiety.

Shona has a wealth of information and was just lovely to chat to. Please take a listen here:

Here's a little more about Shona...

Little Rockers Radio: It’s great to have your book, A Family is Like A Cake, featured on Story Time this week! Let us know a little about you.

Shona Innes: By day, I’m a Clinical and Forensic Psychologist.  I run two psychology practices, I see clients, run groups, hold workshops, supervise psychologists in training, offer peer support to psychologists working with young people, provide consultation to government agencies (especially with respect to really troubled young people in youth justice or in protective services), I have a little, weekly talk back session with the Mornings’ host on our local ABC radio and I’ve just started blogging.

At home, I have a husband and three children – the oldest two, now “chadults” (child adults) are off at uni and my youngest is 12.  I have a rather naughty puppy called Roger, a great big veggie garden, a desire to be able to run long distances, a love of new music, a very bad singing voice, a camera I use to try to be more mindful, and a dislike for cold weather.


LRR: How long have you been writing for?

SI: I won a poetry competition in grade six.  I wrote essays for school. I wrote three theses over the course of my studies. I’ve written many reports for doctors, schools and Courts and I have been writing letters to children as part of their therapy for well over twenty years.

LRR: Why children’s books?

SI: The book writing thing happened very accidentally.  The Five Mile Press came across some of the letters that I had written to little clients at the end of each session.  They asked if I would mind if they published them and this lovely part of my work evolved.

LRR: What age group are your books for?

SI: Pre-school and early primary.

LRR: How would you describe your writing style?

SI: I work really hard to try to make complex things more simple (simpler?), scary things more understandable and day-to-day wonderful things more appreciated.  Is there an adjective for all of that?

LRR: What are the best bits about creating stories and writing for kids?

SI: It’s such a lovely adjunct to some of the heavier stuff I do with my work.  My stories are things that I can show and read to others when the rest of my work is, importantly, kept behind closed doors and not discussed with many other people. 

LRR: Where do the story ideas come from?

SI: The story ideas come from the young people I see.  Well, not really “from” them, but “in response to” them and the things they have going on in their lives that are causing distress for them and their families

LRR: Where do you write best? Home, out and about, etc?

SI: The ideas or concepts either come up in the moment I’m with a little person in a session or just afterwards, when I’m thinking about (we call it “formulating”) their problem, their history, the events that trigger upset and the things that protect them.


Other books in the BIG HUG Series include:

  • Life is Like the Wind
  • Friendship is Like a Seesaw
  • The Internet is Like a Puddle
  • The Playground is Like the Jungle
  • Love is Like a Tree

You can find out more about Shona here…

  • Websites: and
  • Facebook:  Shona Innes – Psychologist
  • Twitter: @Shona_Innes