**** Please note that I do not receive any commissions of any sort for the book that is mentioned in this post. It is simply a book that I have found useful. ****
Let me start by saying that I am on quest!
I'm on a quest to find story books that not only explain BIG emotions to children but also give children different strategies that they can use to manage these BIG emotions.
In the last twelve months I have stumbled across quite a few gems and last weekend, I came across another in the most unlikely of places!
Unfortunately for me, our local book store closed its doors last year, so if I'm not browsing one of my favourite online stores, I occasionally head to one of the big name department stores to peruse their very small book section to get my book fix!
You can never have too many books, right???
Whilst in the store last weekend, O picked up a book and commented that it looked interesting.
And interesting it was. The book was exactly the type of book that I have been searching for to add to my ever growing collection of resources. It was wonderful to see this book available in the department store and I truly hope that more parents wander into the book section and snap this little gem up!
The Monsters Inside is written by Belinda O'Brien and follows the story of a little boy named Jack and his emotion monsters that come out to play when Jack doesn't get his own way. During the story, Jack's mum teaches him how to keep his monsters at bay using the calming strategy of taking deep breaths and counting to ten.
L still struggles with recognising and managing his BIG emotions and I've yet to find a book that he can relate to.
During his weekly therapy sessions, L is doing a lot of work at identifying his and others emotions and he's also learning new skills to manage his own emotions and how to respond appropriately to others. L has come such a long way in the last twelve months but he does still struggle at times. He is definitely a work in progress!
When children are able to understand the reasons behind BIG emotions like anger, sadness and frustration as well as the positive BIG emotions, they can begin develop the skills that they need to manage their own emotions and respond appropriately to others.
We're hoping that with time, L will be able to independently manage his own emotions and respond to the emotions of others.
Before we had even arrived home, O was reading the book to L in the back seat of the car. When we arrived home L declared "this book for me!" and he went and stashed the book in his bedroom!
Each time we have read the book at home, L has been mesmerised by the story. He loves the illustrations in the book and is always pointing out the different monsters and talking about how they make Jack feel. When I collected L from his therapy session this morning, he proudly told me they had read the monsters book at Tara's school.
So this afternoon I decided to ask L his thoughts on the book!
Me: What is this story about?
L: The little boy and he gotted monsters when he was angry.
Me: What does his Mummy teach him?
L: She tell him to breathe in, out, in, out, like with the ball at Tara's school and count!
Me: How many does he have to count to?
L: Count to 10! 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10! Like that!
Me: And then what happens?
L: The monsters go'd away!
Me: How does the boy feel when he has his monsters?
L: Very sad! And angry! (insert growl here!) And frustrated!
Me: How does the boy feel when his monsters go away?
L: He very happy! Like me! But I gotted monsters sometimes!
Me: When you have monsters that make you sad, what can you do?
L: I breathe in, out, in, out. Mummy, I needs a ball like I gotted at Tara's school!
Me: I'll try to find a ball like at Tara's school. What else can you do?
L: Ummmm, count! You get me a ball please?
Me: I'll try to find one for you. And then what will happen when you are breathing and counting?
L: My monster go away and I be happy!
The book is definitely a hit with L! It has fast become one of his favourite books!
I've also read the book to my Kindy charges at work and have had the same response. The story is written in language that young children can easily understand and relate to and the illustrations really are fantastic.
This book really does have it all!
On a side note, I am still on my quest so if you have any suggestions of other book titles, I would love to know what you've found helpful.
And the ball that L kept referring to, it is an expandable ball that his therapists have been using to teach L and his peers breathing techniques. When they breathe in, they expand the ball with their hands and when they breathe out, they collapse the ball. So my next quest has begun!! When I find one, I will let you know!