Sometimes it’s difficult for children to express their emotions and at the moment we are living in a world that none of us – including the grown ups – have experienced before. Our lives have been turned upside down in ways we have never expected and children have had to adjust and become resilient to change. There has been a surge in books published that try to explain to children what is going on in the world and how we can deal with the emotions that they might be experiencing. Now more than ever I have realised how important books by can be for children to help understand and deal with thoughts that are in their heads and feelings that they may be struggling to control. Tom Percival has created a wonderful range of picture books in the, ‘Big Bright Feelings,’ series which are really useful and would be perfect for sharing with children at home and in school.
Norman had always been perfectly normal, until one day he unexpectedly grows a pair of wings. At first he is excited about all the fun he can have with his magnificent new wings until he realises something, maybe not everyone will be as accepting of this change. Worried and confused he tries to cover up his wings so that no-one can discover his secret. But hiding his true nature means he can’t do any of the things he loves doing, playing with his friends, going swimming making him completely miserable. Angry and frustrated, Norman realises the only way to be happy is to embrace his true self and he’s overjoyed when people accept his difference so easily. I love how Tom captures the emotions Norman is feeling in the contrast between the stark and bright palette, it helps younger readers understand he is sad. The explosion of colour when Norman decides to be brave is so joyful and inspiring, it feels like a celebration of the wonder of being different. A wonderful and heartfelt story about the power of accepting yourself regardless of what others may think of you.
Ruby has always been happy, until one day she discovered something wasn’t quite right. She discovered she had a worry. At first it was such a small worry it didn’t even bother her but with each day the worry got bigger and bigger, till it was so huge it filled up most of the school bus and she couldn’t stop thinking about her worry. Every where she went the worry was there consuming her everyday thoughts, until one day she spots a boy who looked sad just like her and he had his very own worry. When she asked him about his worry, Ruby could see it shrink and she realised something very important. If you talk about your worries with other people, it might not make them go away but it will definitely make you feel better. This beautiful and thoughtful book acts as a reassurance and comfort for children who may be concerned about sharing their worries. By bringing worry to life in the pictures, Tom is able to highlight how quickly worries can get out of hand if we tried to supress them. A perfect book for encouraging children to share their worries.
Ravi is the youngest AND the smallest in his family and usually he doesn’t mind until one day everything goes wrong. During hide and seek he can’t find anyone, he’s too small to be allowed on the big slide and when they run to the ice cream van he comes last and all the ice cream is sold out. Ravi gets angrier and angrier until he can control it no longer and turns into a tiger, letting out a huge roar and suddenly he can do anything he wants. But the novelty of getting his own way all of the time and roaring at everyone quickly wears off when he sees that nobody wants to play with him anymore because of his terrible temper. This book brilliantly explores how easy it is for us to let our emotions control us, it highlights how we can learn to express our feelings in a way that doesn’t upset or hurt anyone else. By turning Ravi into a Tiger it cleverly demonstrates his anger in a way that children will understand and helps them understand the impact of their behaviour on others. An entertaining and engaging way to explore feelings for younger readers.
Meesha is wonderfully creative and has a talent for making things but the one thing she can’t make is friends, she is crippled with shyness and is unable to make the first step. She decides if she can’t make real life friends she will create her own friends with her paints, pencils and tools. At first these new friends feel enough but slowly she understands that they can’t play with her in the same way and it makes her feel even sadder. But a chance encounter with a boy at a party who seems intrigued by her creations gives her the opportunity to try and be a little bit brave and before she knows it she is able to use her talents in a whole new way to make friends. This story allows children to understand that not everyone finds it easy to fit in and be the same as everyone else and if we try to connect with them we may help them find a way to acceptance and happiness. Beautifully told, this is a warm and friendly way of exploring friendship with children.
Thank you to Bloomsbury for sending me gifted copies of these wonderful books. They are now available to buy online (click on the title to buy) or from any good bookshop. If you can please support your local independent bookshop, you can find your nearest one here.