Today I’m discussing children’s books about feelings. The specific one I’m sharing here covers a whole range of emotions, from positive, through to less socially acceptable feelings, such as jealousy and anger.
I’ve not written about a children’s book for several months as I’ve been busy with other projects, but this is still very much an area of interest for me, and never more so than right now. Children are little sponges, and no matter how hard we try to shield them from what’s happening in the world at the moment, it’s only natural that they’ll experience and exhibit some big overwhelming feelings – I know I am!
Preschool Books About Feelings
It’s hard to know what type of book will be most suitable for supporting discussions about complex and intangible concepts with young children.
I’ve read many, many books with Pixie, some exploring difficult themes, especially since starting this series. Some of the more subtle stories I’ve shared with her when she was still at preschool, I read fully anticipating her to interpret and make sense of the gentle subtext – but they’ve gone right over her head.
Despite this, I’ve been reluctant to be much more explicit unless it’s a subject which directly affects her.
It’s tough to strike the perfect balance between teaching, and protecting our children’s innocence.
I like to think some of the ideas are absorbed, and we can return to them when they’re more relevant to our situation.
The book I’m talking about today is an encyclopaedia of feelings. This is a more relaxed approach to difficult themes, and some children may respond better to its more detached/impersonal style.
The Great Big Book of Feelings
The book I’m sharing today is called The Great Big Book of Feelings and I picked it up specifically with Pixie in mind. We first read this when she’d just turned five, and it seemed like the right time to start encouraging a deeper understanding of a whole range of emotions. My hope was that we could use the book as a reference point for discussions about feelings.
The first couple of pages show illustrations of faces featuring different expressions, with children encouraged to determine and label what each character may be experiencing in the picture. This is a fantastic opportunity for them to identify and name feelings, forging a deeper understanding of the language of emotions, but also with regards to what those feelings look like.
This is an excellent way to introduce and/or promote empathy.
Each page of the book then deals with a different emotion, ranging from happy and excited, to lonely and embarrassed, to angry and jealous. Each emotion is explored sensitively and without judgement, encouraging children to learn about and understand different feelings, and reflect upon their own.
Supporting Our Children Through Difficult Feelings
With our usual routines being very different and our social contact being limited right now, it’s inevitable that our little ones will be more unsettled than usual. Anxiety, overwhelm, fear, stress, and anger are all understandable emotions in response to the pandemic, and it’s not uncommon to see a degree of regression in our children’s behaviour.
If you worry about how to provide stability and calm during a period that is anything but, books such as The Great Big Book of Feelings can be a valuable tool to help. You could also try some activities to support emotional development, and journaling to promote resilience.