Picture Books for BIG Feelings
Do you ever get the feeling that your emotions are simply too big for yourself? That they are so big they might simply burst right out of you? BIG happy feelings, BIG sad feelings, BIG frustrated feelings, BIG worried feelings? That is a very normal part of the human experience! I have large-and-in-charge feelings on a weekly basis.
As a book lover, you know that stories serve as excellent tools for education. Exposing kids to picture books that discuss big emotions is a great way to learn how to recognize and process those feelings in themselves. There are so many out there that demonstrate just that, but here are a few of my recent favorites:
The first picture book written and illustrated by award-winning creator Vashti Harrison traces a child’s journey to self-love and shows the power of words to both hurt and heal. With spare text and exquisite illustrations, this emotional exploration of being big in a world that prizes small is a tender portrayal of how you can stand out and feel invisible at the same time.
Mark loves putting on shows, dressing up, and dancing! But what makes him happy at home gets him teased at school. To remind Mark that his unique light makes the world a brighter place, his parents surprise him with a beautiful, flowing cape. Wearing it, he feels invincible and free to shine all over Honolulu! It even gives him the courage to befriend some kids who are just as colorful as he is. When the cape goes missing, Mark loses his new confidence. How will he ever shine again?
My dad travelled a lot for work when I was growing up (he still travels a lot for work). Just like the adorable little bear in this story, the lead-up to his trips was always a bit hard for the whole family. But no matter how far apart we are, or how often we get to speak on the phone, we know we love each other so, so much.Spend a day with an irresistible father and child, riding the ups and downs of the emotions that come before a parent goes away, and discover the deep comfort of learning that Papa’s love is strong, no matter where he is.
With art that strikes an enchanting balance between classic and contemporary, Soman combines glowing jewel tones and modern-day details with woodsy cross-hatching and loveable bears that bring to mind Maurice Sendak’s beloved Little Bear books. This joyous celebration of the bond between father and child is a welcome reassurance that separation anxiety can be navigated and reminds young readers that they are loved and cared for, and that soon enough, Papa’s Home again.
Today is June 19th, Juneteenth’s what they say and for my family, it’s a very special day.
But sometimes the hood feels scary when we’re walking around. I wish I could stay home where it’s safe and sound. Where the dogs aren’t BARKING, and the cars aren’t HONKING, and the streetlights aren’t FLICKERING.
But when Big Bro tells me it will all be okay, I know the noises can’t hurt me and ruin my day.
Finn is in a horrible mood and doesn’t want to talk about it. After some persuading, though, they agree to go for a hike with Grandpa. Throughout their forest walk, they see many different things: big, strong trees with networks of roots growing underneath, still water with schools of fish swimming below, and an expectant bird with eggs nestled under her. It’s when the pair pass fellow hikers that Finn realizes that people, just like the elements of nature, are more than they appear. Grandpa explains that sometimes beneath a person who seems like they won’t understand what you’re feeling, is someone feeling the exact same way.
… And because it feels like an opportune moment, I would like to extend my sincerest remorse to all the slimy slugs I sprinkled salt on as a young child. You did nothing to deserve that except for ruining our deck with your shiny trails.
“Look at that slimy body.
That silly shell.
Those tentacle eyes!
I just can’t look at you anymore, snail.”
Ari is feeling angry. When she takes that anger out on an innocent snail, the snail demands an apology! Which Ari gives, half-heartedly. And that’s that. Until Ms. Snail and her friends appear in every corner of Ari’s life, determined to elicit the most genuine apology from an increasingly regretful girl.