By Rachel Menitoff

BALTIMORE, Md. (WJZ) — Anxiety and nerves are things we’ve likely all felt at one point or another. Now a Baltimore-based author and illustrator duo are tackling these feelings in a new children’s book.

In their newly published book, entitled “The Magic of Making Friends,” author Sarah Petrosky and illustrator Christie Roads address what it’s like to experience those feelings through the lens of a young witch.

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While trying to make new friends at school, the protagonist Hazel at first tries to impress her classmates through the use of her spells and magic.

“Of course, she realizes she doesn’t need magic to make friends,” Petrosky told WJZ. “She’s making friends all day long just by being herself.”

If that story sounds familiar, it’s likely because being the new kid is something many of us have gone through at some point in our lives.

The pair met several years ago while working at the Baltimore Sun, Petrosky as a copywriter and Rhoads as a graphic designer.

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They decided to united their talents behind a meaningful message, one inspired in part by their own experiences growing up.

“I remember walking into situations where all the other kids seemed to fit in, seemed to know what they were doing, and that I was honestly the only one that felt out of place,” Rhoads said.

Their hope is that the book’s young readers realize that everyone experiences moments of anxiety and even self-doubt.

But, as Petrosky and Rhoads found, self-confidence develops over time — often with help from loving friends and classmates.

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“Doing this book together was kind of our way of letting kids know that is okay to feel nervous and to work your way through, that you have the ability to gain strength from people around you,” Rhoads said.

Rachel Menitoff