Close to people | Stories from Bethel

The dream of your own children's book comes true

Friendship and solidarity can always develop, no matter where you come from. This is the message Jessica Katharina Wolk wants to convey with her children's book "Ayo and Coco - two worlds, one friendship". The alien Ayo crashes to earth in his spaceship and meets the zebra Coco there. The two become friends. The story was recently published by a publishing house. The hobby author from Lünen is proud of her debut work, for which she also created the imaginative illustrations.

"The idea just popped into my head," reveals Jessica Katharina Wolk. As the adventure became more concrete, she made notes. "I had an idea of the characters early on." She used felt-tip pens and coloured pencils to try out which colours and patterns would work best. "I initially drew six different versions of Ayo," says the creative Lünner. She had already enjoyed painting as a girl. She has been interested in constellations since childhood, which is why her story is also about an extraterrestrial.

Jessica Katharina Wolk shows her book.
A look inside the book

Writing and drawing are enjoyable activities for Jessica Katharina Wolk because she enjoys them, but also because she can organise her time freely and has no pressure. "There are days, especially when the nights have been bad again, when nothing works at all," she says. Born in Dortmund, she has been receiving care from Bethel for eight years - the first few years intensive, now outpatient. Traumatic experiences from her childhood still haunt the 34-year-old to this day. She has anxiety attacks and suffers from nightmares. "The attacks come from one moment to the next," says Jessica Katharina Wolk. She loses control of her body, but doesn't realise it herself.

Her dog Cora gives her support in difficult phases. "When I'm restless at night, she snuggles up close to me," says Jessica Katharina Wolk. She regularly goes to psychotherapy. Her carer is also a great support. "Things have improved since she started visiting me," she explains. The Bethel employee immediately recognised parallels between her client and the book hero Coco: Jessica Katharina Wolk is very helpful and looks out for others rather than herself. "I didn't realise that when I was writing, but yes, it fits," she confirms.

"I would probably never have had the idea of writing a book if it wasn't for my niece," says Jessica Katharina Wolk. She wanted to give something very special as a birth present and created a booklet of bedtime stories. In the process, she discovered her passion for storytelling. She now has three nieces who support their aunt as "test readers".

Because the girls were so enthusiastic, the author decided to apply to publishers with her work - with success. "Ayo and Coco - two worlds, one friendship" was published last year by Verlagshaus Schlosser. This was a dream come true for Jessica Katharina Wolk. It is certainly not the last adventure of the zebra and his extraterrestrial friend, as the hobby author already has ideas for a sequel in her head.


Text: Christina Heitkämper | Photos: Thomas Richter

This story simply told

Jessica Katharina Wolk wrote a story and drew pictures to go with it. A publishing house published the story as a children's book. It is about the friendship between an alien and a zebra. Jessica Katharina Wolk lives in Lünen. She suffers from anxiety attacks, which is why she receives counselling from a Bethel employee.

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44532 Lünen

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The programme is aimed at people with chronic mental illnesses who come from the district of Unna or would like to return to their hometown in the district of Unna. The assistance services include the promotion of independence in practical areas of life as well as counselling and support. A distinction is made between the "outpatient assisted living" and "intensive assisted living" services.

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