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Review: How I Feel

How I Feel: Luke's Day at the Zoo - Mariella Sanders

Before I had kids, my main interaction with them was a steady diet of sentimental Victorian literature and the films based upon it. Kids did as they were told - for the most part - and when they threw the occasional tantrum, it was very much a cause and effect situation. 

X happened, Y was the result. 

Fix the problem and, hey presto, everyone is all smiles once again. 

The thing is, real life is a lot more complicated. Sometimes a crying fit has an obvious cause. Often it just... doesn't. One minute everything is fine, the next they're throwing the tantrum from hell because they're bored/tired/thirsty/hungry/too full/a combination of all of the above.

All you can do is try to encourage them to work out what the emotion is, so you have some hope of being able to deal with it. 

Because of that I've been particularly interested in the topic of emotional resilience lately, both as a parent and in a more professional sense when looking at best practice across schools. There are few skills more valuable than the ability to cope with stress and make sense of what you are feeling.

So I was really pleased to accept the kind offer from Mariella Sanders, the nom de plume for a collective of emotional education enthusiasts, to review one of their book series on the subject. These focus on enabling children to understand and communicate their feelings.

As they say on their website, "Mental health is an important topic to us and we focus on teaching our own young family members emotional intelligence as well as how to communicate those big feels all wrapped up in little bodies. We hope to help parents raise emotionally aware, healthy children who know how to communicate their feelings in positive ways." 

Mariella Sanders Book

We were sent a softback copy of How I Feel: Luke's Day at the Zoo. Written in nicely flowing rhyme, it follows Luke as he experiences various emotions during his day out at the zoo. He felt angry when he couldn't see any penguins, sad when he dropped his ice cream, afraid of the snakes, and jealous of a little girl's toy in the playground. 

I liked that the book covered a wide range of feelings, and shows how completely normal it is to bounce through so many of them in a fairly short time period. 

When Luke experiences the emotions he is encouraged to take five deep breaths and give himself time to think before reacting. We've always done this with Marianna - to varying levels of success - so it was good for us to see the technique reaffirmed and for her to see it working for another child. 

How I Feel Book Review

Marianna said her favourite part of the story was when Luke dropped his ice cream, because it made a great big SPLAT. Judging by this picture, it was Molly's favourite part too. :D Marianna engaged well with the story, and was also willing to talk a little bit about times where she had experienced the same kinds of feelings. 

I especially loved the artwork in the book. It's super cute and the oversized eyes are great for conveying Luke's emotions. 

To get your own copy, check out Amazon where it is currently just £4.



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