Visiting Feelings

Visiting Feelings514j9vickLL__SX258_BO1,204,203,200_Visiting Feelings

Lauren Rubenstein, Ph.D., Author

Shelly Hehenberger, Illustrator

Magination Press,  Fiction, Sept. 28, 2013

Suitable for Ages: 4-8

Themes: Being aware of feelings, Mindfulness,Yoga

Opening: “Do you have a feeling that’s visiting today?/Can you open your door and invite it to play?/Can you ask what it wants, and then check it out?/Welcome it and listen to what it’s about?”

Synopsis from Book Jacket: Visiting Feelings harnesses a young child’s innate capacity to fully experience the present moment. Rather than label or define specific emotions and feelings, Visiting Feelings invites children to sense, explore and befriend all of their feelings with acceptance and equanimity. Children can explore their emotions with their senses and gain an understanding of how feelings can lodge in the body, as conveyed by the common expressions like “a pit in the stomach” or “a lump in the throat.”

Why I like this book: Lauren Rubenstein has written a very poetic and sensitive book that helps children explore their feelings.  I wish I had this book when my daughter was young. She encourages kids to make friends with their feelings, get to know them, and find where they settle in their body. Rubenstein cleverly uses beautiful metaphors like: “Is it bright like the sun?/Dark like the rain?/Or is it a look you can’t even explain?” and “Is it warm or cold?/Sour or sweet?/Does it shiver with fear when the two of you meet?” and “How did this feeling enter your house?/ Did it barge right in!/Was it shy like a mouse?” Shelly Hehenberger’s illustrations are whimsical and dreamy lulling the reader along and adding to the  rhythm of the story. The illustrations are created digitally using hand-painted textures and overlays.

Resources: A clinical psychologist, Rubenstein includes a double- page spread  at the end of  the book with suggestions on how to teach children to practice mindfulness and nurture their emotional intelligence.  It is all about learning to stop and be aware of the moment. This is a wonderful book for parents and educators. She also believes in teaching children yoga.  Proceeds from Visiting Feelings will be donated to the Go Give Yoga Foundation, where she teaches yoga and mindfulness to children and adolescents in Haiti.

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.

Yell and Shout, Cry and Pout

yellshout1Yell and Shout, Cry and Pout: A Kid’s Guide to Feelings

Peggy Kruger Tietz, Ph.D., Author

Rebecca Layton, Illustrator

CreateSpace, Mar. 25, 2013

Suitable for Ages: 5 and up

Themes: Learning about emotions and feelings

Opening:What makes you laugh, or blush, or run and hide? What makes your eyes open wide? Can you guess? Do you know? Whatever you feel inside will show…Feelings tell you what’s happening to you. Learn all their names because each is there to take care of YOU.”

Book Synopsis: Yell and Shout, Cry and Pout is an essential guidebook for adults in steering children through the different facets of emotions. Each of the eight emotions is clearly defined through vignettes and illustrations, keeping both adult and child captivated, thus creating an opportune time for discussion. By recognizing that all humans experience these emotions throughout their lives, the book provides a true sense of comfort.  The different ranges of emotions are not to be shunned but rather embraced and explained to provide a positive development environment for all children.

Why I like this book: Peggy Kruger Tietz, Ph.D., has written a very clever and important guide to help children identify eight different emotions: anger, fear, shame, sadness, happiness, love, disgust and surprise. I hope I have your attention because I know when I mentioned emotions you immediately thought of negative ones. This isn’t the case because the author also deals with positive emotions. I also like her consistent and simple format. Each emotion has a color. She identifies an emotion like shame with the color gray. Shame “tells us we’ve done something wrong and helps us say we’re sorry.” On the following page you are asked how you might respond or what happens to you when you feel ashamed: turn bright red, hang your head, look away or try to leave. Then there are examples of what you might do when you feel ashamed: lying, not seeking help when a friend is bullied or calling someone a mean name. Then it ends with a question to the child, “What might make You ashamed?

This guide offers parents, teachers and counselors a peek into the inner emotional lives of children. I believe that both children and adults lack the language to express what they are feeling. It is a relief for children to have a way to describe their experiences. And a blessing for  parents to have some insight in how to deal with puzzling behavior.  Excellent team work between author and illustrator. Rebecca Layton’s illustrations are simple black and white drawings with a splash of color that matches the emotion being discussed.  The drawings also are lively and expressive.  I highly recommend this book.

Visit Peggy Kruger Tietz at her website.  She is a psychologist and has counseled parents and children for over 30 years.

 

Nobody’s Perfect – Chapter Book

Nobody's Perfect104038626Nobody’s Perfect:  A Story for Children About Perfectionism

Ellen Flanagan Burns, author

Erica Pelton Villnave, illustrator

Magination Press, Fiction, 2009

Suitable for:  Ages 8 and up

Themes:  Perfectionism, Making Mistakes, Doing Your Best

Synopsis“Sally Sanders is a perfectionist — if she can’t be the best, she feels like a failure.”  This is a Chapter Book and each chapter features Sally in variety of situations that seem more like a series of examples — a piano recital, school play, school project, volleyball and soccer — where her perfectionism prevents her from having fun.   But, there is a very strong message for children who feel that they aren’t good enough.  Gradually, Sally learns with the help of her teachers, friends and mother, that no one is perfect and making mistakes is part of growing up.

Why I like this book:  Children want  to feel successful.  No child wants to feel like a loser.  But, sometimes wanting to be the best can lead to perfectionism and require help from parents, teachers and counselors.  Children can become anxious, stressed and not want to attend school.  With the beginning of the school year, it would be a good time to share this book with your kids and let them know that you don’t expect them to be perfect with everything they do.  The author, Ellen Flanagan Burns is a psychologist and writes a lovely introduction to the book with suggestions.  She mentions her own problem with perfectionism as a child.  The illustrations by Erica Pelton Villnave are colorful and expressive and appear on every page.

I Can’t Stop! – Tourette Syndrome

I Can’t Stop! – A Story about Tourette Syndrome

Holly Niner, Author

Meryl Treatner, Illustrator

Albert Whitman & Company, Fiction,  2005

Suitable for: Ages 5-8

Themes: Tourette Syndrome, Tics, Bullying, Understanding, Friendship

Opening/Synopsis“Stop winking at me,” Nathan said.  “But you were winking at me,” his sister retorted. “Nathan, you’ve been doing that all week,” Dad said in his you’d-better-stop-yong-man voice.  Nathan squeezed his eyes shut, but when they opened, his lids fluttered like butterfly wings.”   Within a few weeks the blinking had stopped.  But then Nathan began sniffing and annoying other students.  This pattern continues.  Once his sniffing stops, his head starts snapping and it hurt.  Even Josh, his best friend, calls his behavior “creepy.”  The other students laugh and make snide remarks to Nathan.  Even his mother is annoyed.  Nathan responds, “You don’t get it, Mom!  My body won’t listen to me.”  His parents take him to a specialist who diagnosis Nathan with Tourette Syndrome (TS) and explains his many symptoms.  Nathan has many challenges ahead of him as he learns techniques to manage his tics, and deal with the kids at school.  Nathan isn’t going to let it get in the way of his living.

Why I like this book:  Holly Niner gives such an honest and accurate portrayal of a child who struggles to gain control over a body that won’t listen, and a family who doesn’t understand.  It is the perfect book to read to a child who is newly diagnosed with TS and feels frustrated and alone.  Niner provides factual information and simple suggestions to show how Nathan can work with his TS symptoms.  There are very few books available for kids with TS.  Kids will be able to relate to Nathan and many of the same facial and verbal tics.  Treatner’s watercolor illustrations are colorful and expressive in showing Nathan’s tics.  Nathan is very resilient and comes to grips with Tourette’s.   You find yourself cheering for Nathan.

Activities:  In the front of the book, there is a note to parents and teachers from a neurologist about Tourette Syndrome.  This is a good book for classroom discussion.   Tics are very common in  children.  The tics can be mild habit like nose-twitching, hair-twirling, blinking or more severe with neck and body jerking and barking.  Education is the best tool.  Invite a student with TS in your school to talk about TS and answer questions.  For more information about treatment, research, support, and bullying, visit the National Tourette Syndrome Association.   The organization has a special page devoted to children and teens, where they can download resources and free books.

Note:  A special thank you to Diane Tulloch, who introduced me to this book a year ago.  You can read her review at Writer and Dreamer at Work. 

To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.  Or click on the Perfect Picture Book Fridays  badge in the right sidebar.

Mr. Worry – A Story About OCD; OCD Awareness Week Oct. 10-16, 2011

Mr. Worry - A Story about OCD,  is written by Holly L. Niner, illustrated by Greg Swearingen and published by Albert Whitman & Company for children from Kindergarten to fourth grade.   Niner has written a sensitive and meaningful story about a boy with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).   She has a wonderful grasp of OCD,  as she has a child with the disorder and realizes the importance of seeking early intervention.   Swearingen’s illustrations are rich, soft and perfectly capture the emotion of the story.  I highly  recommend this book for kids with OCD, parents, school counselors and teachers.

Before Kevin goes to sleep every night, he checks his closet to make sure nothing is there, looks under his bed repeatedly to make sure it is safe, pushes his chair against his desk, straightens the books on his desk and lines up the cars on his shelf.  And, he asks his mother the same questions repeatedly.   Kevin worries about everything at home and school.  Once the worry starts he has a hard time stopping because “his mind gets sweaty.”   Kevin’s parents are supportive and take him to talk with a therapist, who helps Kevin understand that he has OCD like many other children and adults.   Kevin is relieved to know that he’s not alone or crazy.  He decides to call his OCD, Mr. Worry.  He pictures Mr. Worry as a little man who keeps track of all of Kevin’s worries.  Kevin’s goal is to begin to hang up the phone on Mr. Worry when he calls.   Through behavioral therapy and medications Kevin begins to manage his OCD.   This book is such an accurate portrayal of OCD, children and families will find comfort in its message.  I also believe that this book could be helpful for any child dealing with excessive fear and anxiety.

Mr.Worry was selected by International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) as the Outstanding Book for Young People with Disabilities in 2005.   Holly Niner also is the author of I Can’t Stop: A Story about Tourette Syndrome

OCD Awareness Week is Oct. 10-16, 2011, and sponsored by the International OCD Foundation .   According to the foundation at least 1 in 200 children and teens in the U.S. have OCD.   Understanding the stress and impact OCD has on their lives is imperative in helping them seek the right treatment.   OCD is an all-consuming, debilitating disorder that affects up to 4 million people in the United States.  The disorder also affects millions more: family, friends and caregivers of those with OCD suffer along
side their loved ones.  Please visit the organization website as it has a wealth of information for children, teens, adults, families and school counselors.  Another interesting website for kids with OCD or anxiety is WorryWiseKids.

Copyright (c) 2011,  Patricia Howe Tilton, All Rights Reserved

 

Unstoppable Me! and No Excuses! Mental Health Awareness Month

Unstoppable Me!  10 Ways to Soar Through Life, is written by Dr. Wayne Dyer, with Kristina Tracy, and is published by Hay House, Inc.   The illustrations by Stacy Heller Budnick, are colorful and enchanting.  Although Dr. Dyer would like the concepts in his books introduced to children as early as two years of age, I believe kids ages  4 to 8 years, benefit most– and parents.  This book is based on Dr. Dyer’s adult book What Do You Really Want for Your Children?

Dr. Dyer has effectively used rhyme in a fun way to communicate the 10 concepts in his book.   It is a heartwarming  book that encourages kids to become the most that they can be.    He begins with “You’re great-no matter what,  persistence pays off, welcome to the unknown, you have a choice, farewell to worry, peace begins with you, enjoy the here-and-now, healthy me, creativity is the key, and what can you give.”    Dyer’s messages build such positive self-esteem for children, in ways that a child will easily and eagerly understand.  For example he says, “change is a good thing and if you embrace it instead of fear it, life will always be an adventure.”    His challenge to children is to think about what “you can give and not what you can get.”   At the end of the book is a very important section where children and parents can answer questions about how they might handle a situation.  A great way for a parent to learn about what is on their child’s mind. 

No Excuses!: How What You Can Say Can Get in Your Way  is another book written by Dr. Wayne Dyer with Kristina Tracy and illustrated by Stacy Heller Budnick.  It is for children 4 to 8 years of age. 

This is a  story about a boy who loves turtles and wants to become a marine biologist,  but isn’t supported and encouraged by those around him.  He begins to doubt himself  and gives up on his dream saying  “I’m not smart enough…it’s too hard…it will take too long and cost too much .”   While visiting an aquarium, the boy meets a marine biologist who changes his life,  and gives him the first encouragement he needs to begin to work through his excuses and gain self-confidence.  This book delivers a  powerful message.  It’s well-suited for parents and teachers to use with children, to help them name the excuses they make that prevent them from reaching their full potential.  As with all Dr. Dyer’s books, there is a list and a quiz at the end where kids can discuss whether a sentence is an excuse.

I believe we are undergoing a major paradigm shift in how we teach our children.  Children are so open and receptive to new thoughts and ideas.  Dr. Dyer’s book would be great tools for teachers to use with pre-schoolers through elementary.   After giving this more thought, it would be good for parents to start introducing his books at age two, and continue to read them repeatedly through elementary school.   What better way to affirm your child’s greatness, encourage possibility and reach their full potential.

Incredible You!

Dr. Wayne Dyer’s picture book “Incredible You,” is an uplifting, feel good about yourself picture book that helps children explore the 10 ways to let your greatness shine through. The book illustrations by Melanie Siegel, are bold and colorful.

Everything is possible in the hearts and minds of a child. That is what makes this the perfect book to boost a child’s self-esteem. Dr. Dyer, “believes that you cannot start early enough to teach the essential lessons for living a successful and peaceful life.”

Parents can introduce their children to 10 concepts that include: share the good, find what you love, find a quiet place inside, make today great, take care of yourself, everyone is special, especially you and many more. Each idea is presented very simply and is numbered. At the end, Dr. Dyer, has a list of questions related to each idea, where parents and teachers can help the child relate in his//her own special way.

This is a beautiful book filled with love, insight and purpose. It’s a simple message that kids will get.

It is Dr. Dyer’s wish that “these precious souls close the book and feel that nothing is impossible for them.” “It would be even more thrilling for me if this becomes the book they choose each night.”

The first week of May is National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week, declared by the National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health. This week emphasized the importance of family and youth involvement in the children’s mental health movement.  National Mental Health Month will run through May.