I received a free digital ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Rating: 4 Stars
This book is absolutely beautiful - and not just the illustrations. The whole book, the theme, the words, the pictures, it is all exactly what you want a book about emotions to be for the children who need it. And by need, I don't just mean the ones who need it at that moment, but for all children, who will at some point or another have to deal with emotions that are bigger than they are. As much as we want to, we can't shield them from everything and big emotions are part of growing up. We need to prepare children to handle them in a positive, productive way and this book does wonders for that.
Both the words and illustrations are simple and calm, yet powerful - even magical. Even in its simplicity, the author does a wonderful job of showing children how to regulate their emotions, and how to deal with them, feel them, and not get stuck feeling one kind of way. The author moves through a wide range of emotions, giving children positive ways to overcome the negative thoughts and feelings. I feel like this was well-done, and did not imply that feeling those emotions were bad. I think too often kids feel like they can't or shouldn't be angry or sad. I teach in a self-contained behavior skills classroom; time and again myself and our paraprofessionals explains to our students that emotions are normal and healthy, but we don't want to get stuck on them, and we want to show those emotions and how we feel in a way that is still appropriate and won't hurt anyone, including the person feeling the emotion.
In the beginning we see adults showing the children in the book how to overcome these powerful and sometimes scary emotions. That scaffolding piece is so important, because we have to show children how to regulate these emotions on their own, so they do not become dependent on adults to talk them through it every time. The message that each child has their own Strong, that they can draw on that inner strength to overcome the big, negative feelings, in invaluable. This doesn't mean that we should always expect every child to 'figure it out for themselves', but we must give them the tools and strategies they need to handle overwhelming emotions.
I will definitely be purchasing this book when it comes out, to be able to read with my five year old daughter. I will also be using it in my classroom. Highly recommended!