I really love my little book, 'The Emobeans and the Feelings' (available on Amazon now :), mostly because the wonderful illustrator Krisztian Gacsi, brought the story to life and I smile every time I see the little beans dancing under the tree. This completely reminds me of my classroom when we put some music on in the afternoon and just dance for a few minutes.
The story is very simple. We join a little green bean who has jumbled feelings. It then goes on to rediscover its various feelings and emotions as it journeys through Podville with a friend. The book is the perfect talking point for teachers, parents and their children, to have a dialogue about feelings and to improve their emotional literacy. How many children (and adults) still use 'happy' and 'sad' as their main, go-to words to describe their feelings in a conversation, if they are 'happy' to talk about how they feel that is.
I passionately believe the earlier we give children the space and the encouragement to talk about how they feel, the will deepen their understanding of their emotions and enhance their emotional regulation. We must normalise the discussion of the full spectrum of feelings and emotions and let them know it is ok to do so. Perhaps we need a little reminding ourselves at times too. Far too many young people internalise how they feel, feel like it shows weakness to talk about feeling down, or feel like they don't have the words to express themselves.
As a side note, mindfulness can help us notice our feelings, can help us sit with them for a while, although the book doesn't go into mindfulness in too much depth (that's a story for another time!).
I toyed with the characters being little 'beings' rather than beans, those who were taught the RE programme 'Alive-o' when they were little will remember this! So rather than risk a copyright case from the Catholic Education system and the big man upstairs himself, I settled on beans and a play on the words 'emotions' and 'emoji', then - the 'Emobeans' sprouted out of the earth of my mind.
I plan to write some lesson plans for the website in the near future so keep an eye out, although, teachers really are the most creative bunch so I'm sure they could share some amazing ideas with me! I would be beside myself to see this little book in classroom libraries across the world.
'Emotions' can be described as 'strong feelings'; I felt a variety of strong feelings when I opened the box and held the book in my hands for the first time. I just hope the story and illustrations can bring you, and the children you read it with, a little bit of joy and a whole
LOT of conversation about feelings and emotions.
Enjoy little beans!