A celebration is in order this month, as we are not only celebrating Valentine's Day, with a beautiful heart-felt book of feelings, it is my SECOND BLOG BIRTHDAY!!! To mark this momentous occasion, I am doing my first giveaway. I will be giving away a brand-new copy of this month's book, In My Heart: A Book of Feelings, to a randomly selected follower on this blog. So hurry, if you're not yet a member, follow my blog immediately for a chance to win! A winner will be chosen on February 28 and you will be notified by email. (U.S. only, sorry.) The winner will also be announced on the blog, so check back! It has been a joy to provide mental health book recommendations and activity ideas to you every month for the past 2 years. Thanks for being here and for being dedicated to the mental health needs of our precious little ones. Now, moving on to our special Valentine's post . . .
A Book Review of In My Heart: A Book of Feelings
In My Heart: A Book of Feelings is full of heart, literally and figuratively! It is constructed with a fun, colorful die cut heart that extends throughout the pages. The reader is sent on a journey through the heart of the main character. This book is a great introduction to emotions for young children. It is appropriate for children ages 2 - 7 and presents the topic of feelings in a visual, kid-friendly manner.
Ms. Witek, the author, describes a heart "like a house with feelings living inside," which is a beautiful way to bring the abstract concept of feelings to a tangible level for kids. This also serves to normalize feelings and introduce them as simply a part of being human. The book presents a full range of emotions, alternating between the intense and the mellow that keeps the story from becoming overwhelming. The feelings are presented in an empowering way displaying to the child that they have control over them, rather than vice-versa.
The aspect of this book that I feel is most helpful is the fact that the author focuses on how these emotions feel in the body physically and how a person might express specific feelings. Developing a feeling vocabulary and connecting it to how it feels in the body is key to self-understanding. Once we're able to name the emotion we are feeling, and express it in words, the less powerful that feeling becomes and the more confidence we have in managing it. For example, if a young child is having an outburst, if you name the feeling for them and why they may be having it, they de-escalate much faster as they feel understood. With practice, the child will be able to do this on their own. Without emotional education and practice, the skill of regulating our emotions is not developed and this can haunt us through adulthood.
The illustrator, Christine Roussey, provides a clear pictorial representation of specific feelings through fun, whimsical drawings. The book captures the attention of the youngest of children, with active and colorful illustrations throughout. By looking at the page, you can actually feel the emotions the main character is experiencing.
This is a sweet, gentle book which is empowering to children and can build their confidence in recognizing and learning to regulate their own emotions. The take away is that our feelings, whether intense and ugly, or calm and beautiful, are a part of us and all are okay. The book ends with having the reader consider his/her own emotions, which is a great jump off for a discussion on the child's own feelings and how they feel in their body.
To find this book and other books by this author and illustrator, click here. Below I provide an activity idea to take a journey through the heart of your child/client/student. To help me celebrate my 2nd blog birthday, I have a special guest today helping me with the project!
Activity Idea for In My Heart: A Book of Feelings
-Cardstock or construction paper(in 4 different colors)
- glue (I used a stronger silicone glue)
-twine or ribbon
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