May 18-24th 2020 is Mental Health Awareness Week so we thought we’d take the opportunity to share our favourite books which focus on understanding and managing emotions.
Allie All Along by Sarah Lynne Reul – A fantastic book for helping children learn to manage their anger. The visual representation of the layers of emotion works really well and the story offers up lots of useful tools to help children learn how to calm themselves down. Read the review
The Colour Monster by Anna Llenas – A clever book which equates emotions to colours and explains how you shouldn’t bottle them up. Read the review
The Good Egg is the kind of person everyone likes to have around. He rescues cats from danger, he offers to carry your groceries, change a tire for you, water your plants when you’re on holiday and even help you paint your house. He’s the kind of friend who you know will always be there in your time of need.
The problem is, being so good all the time can really take it’s toll. The other eleven eggs in his carton aren’t very well behaved so it always falls to the Good Egg to keep the peace and be, well, good.
The poor little guy ends up exhausted and small cracks begin to appear in his shell. He realises that putting all of this pressure on himself to be good is literally causing him to crack up.
Lola the rabbit loves her art lessons at school. The splashing and sploshing of paint completely consumes her, until the bell rings for playtime and her happiness comes crashing down.
Lola is autistic and has a demand avoidant profile. This means she does not like loud noises or being told to stop an activity without any warning. As the children crash and bang around Lola becomes increasingly distressed.
Outside in the playground her discomfort continues. She doesn’t know how to join in with the other children and is scared of being rejected if she does something wrong.
Piper Crow is a little bird with a very special brother called Otto. Otto is on the autism spectrum which means that he sees the world a little differently, and sometimes other people don’t understand him.
This beautifully illustrated story follows a day in the life of the two siblings as they face new challenges together.
We learn that Otto loves the colour yellow. In fact, he loves yellow so much that he needs everything to be yellow – from his clothes and his toys right through to his drinks and his food. When things aren’t yellow, Otto is very unhappy. Otto likes to spin in circles, go extra high on the swings and hold his hands over his ears when things get too loud. Piper also tells us that Otto is non-verbal, so he uses a tablet to communicate.
Have you ever had a bad day and wished that you were someone else?
This magical book takes a look at what it might be like to fly away from your troubles like a bird, bark out your anger like a dog in the park or just curl up and sleep like a cat. These are all very attractive options when you’re feeling a little down, but do you know what’s best? Being YOU, because YOU are INCREDIBLE.
The lyrical and exuberant rhyme whisks us off on a tour of all the wonderful things you can do – like sing songs, build things, dance, draw and touch your nose with your toe! It celebrates individuality and is fantastic for building self esteem in small children.
Every parent hopes that their child will grow up to be kind, and for that reason I think this book should be on bookshelves everywhere. It teaches children the value of kindness and the difference it can make to the world.
The tiniest little things can turn someone’s whole day around and they cost you absolutely nothing – a smile, a hug, a hand to hold. The book asks children to think about what they can do to help those around them. This could be something as simple as carrying a bag, being a little bit patient or sharing your toys.
It also encourages kids to think about how others might be feeling. If there is a new person in their class then they might be nervous or scared, so how can they make it easier for them?
Meet Lucy Pear, a little girl with truly amazing hair. Her long flowing locks have a special ability – they change colour according to her mood!
Most of the time her hair is a bright shiny blonde to reflect her sunny nature but occasionally the shade is a little more exotic. When she gets mad her hair turns red, when she’s jealous it’s green and excitement turns it purple!
However, one day Lucy wakes up with a head of blue hair and a heavy feeling in her heart which she just can’t shake. The feeling is new to her and she doesn’t have the words to tell the people around her how she feels. She’s not even sure why she’s sad. She just…is.
Her friends think her hair looks cool and they just don’t understand why she isn’t her happy self. But then she spots a little boy in the cafeteria sporting blue hair and a smile. How could this be?
When little Allie breaks her crayon she flies into a rage. Depicted as an angry red monster, her frustration is very much apparent as she tears up paper, throws her other crayons on the floor, stomps on the box and rolls around on the floor screaming.
Her older brother steps forward and thoughtfully offers up a pillow for her to punch so that she can release her anger without hurting herself or breaking anything further. This helps so much that the monster sheds her red furry skin and we see an amber-coloured monster emerge.
This version of Allie is still very angry and she’s still not able to articulate what’s wrong so her brother encourages her to hold her favourite toy and squeeze it as hard as she can. Another layer is shed and the fur is now green. Allie is now at that stage where she’s still pretty mad but she’s not really sure why so she’s irritable. This is solved with some breathing exercises which turn the monster blue.
This beautifully illustrated story is a lovely addition to our growing collection of books about emotions.
We follow a small boy as he experiences a range of emotions during a short walk with his dog. He starts off calm and then quickly becomes happy when he spots a dandelion stalk which would make a lovely present for his mum.
With a hop, skip and a jump he plucks it from the ground but then experiences sadness as the wind pulls it from his hand and it floats away. Anger ensues, followed by envy when he spots a little girl holding a stalk which he covets. His interaction with the girl teaches him about the importance of sharing before hope, pride and love carry him home with his gift.
Small children seem to live at 100 miles an hour. These days Ivy talks non-stop and is always on the move. She bounces from game to game, dances, spins and generally makes me feel exhausted just looking at her! This is one of the many reasons that I love to sit and read books with her. For those precious moments, the world stops and it’s just me, her and the story.
If you’re looking for more of those calm moments then this book is a lovely place to start. Mindful Millie is an elephant who is very in touch with the world around her. When she goes for a walk she notices the colour and texture of the leaves on the trees. When she eats she thinks about each of the flavours she can taste. Millie wants to help her friends (and you) to do the same.