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  • Writer's pictureNZ Booklovers

Big Feelings by Rebekah Ballagh

Big Feelings explores 14 different emotions experienced by 14 different characters. Author Rebekah Ballagh, a qualified counsellor, combines empathetic storytelling with adorable illustrations with helpful strategies and resources.

The first part of the book sees each character name and describe their emotion, both in terms of how it is making them feel, think and act, but also how those emotions might help them or how they can help themselves navigate the feeling.

Ballagh helps expand children's emotional vocabulary, helping children recognise how they might feel. In doing so, she empowers children to learn how to better cope with these feelings in their day-to-day life. However, she also makes it clear that we don't have to 'fix' feelings, it's ok to just sit with them and let them be.

The story part of the book is rather long - for younger readers it may help to pick out just a few emotions to explore, or the ones that seem most pertinent in their lives right now.

Ballagh's bright illustrations show each child in different scenarios and settings. Her characters are expressive and relatable.

What is bound to be a hit though is the second part of the book. Ballagh uses her knowledge to really share with adult readers how we can help our little people navigate their feelings.

She includes helpful questions to explore emotions and 14 great ideas for adults to help their little ones.

She also includes 14 child-friendly strategies to help emotional regulation. Ballagh suggests strategies like hot chocolate breathing, wall pushes, and counting to 10 - concrete tools to help children and adults alike move through emotions. 'Feeling thermometers' and a feelings wheel are other tools readers can add to their emotional regulation toolbox.

Ballagh dispenses wisdom and compassion in this wonderful resource that shows children they have the power to influence their emotions.

Reviewed by: Rebekah Lyell

Allen & Unwin, RRP $29.99


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