“Don’t be a crybaby.”
How often have we heard this of ourselves? How often have we said this to others, especially to children, who, without an understanding that equips them to deal with emotions, can be the subject of varying, and rather intense emotional ups and downs? Kundhavai, the protagonist of a recent picture book, Thottachinungi Ilavarasi, by Tamil children’s publishing house, Emmozhi Publications, seems to have the same problem. A princess, Kundhavai has been nicknamed ‘cry baby’ by the people of the kingdom for her ability to cry at the drop of her hat, and, like many kids her age, has a hard time dealing with her big emotions but is intent on making sure to get rid of her title.
Authored by Coimbatore-based J Nivethitha, who was inspired by her five-year-old son to take up writing, the board book for kids aged five to seven (although the author is quick to recommend it to parents, too) charts the journey of little Kundhavai as she, with help from her aunt, navigates the complex world of emotions.
While Nivvethitha took to writing because she wanted to fill the gap in Tamil literature for pre-schoolers, for others around the country looking to introduce their kids to a deeper understanding of emotions and how to handle them. Here are our picks, of course, other than Thottachiningi Ilavarasi.
Are your emotions like mine? by Chitwan Mittal and Shruti Hewani
Learn about the different kinds of emotions with this little girl and her best friend, a lion—the two have realised that the best way to deal with any emotion is to first take a deep, deep breath.
How I Feel by Varsha Seshan
“How do you feel when Nani comes to visit? How do you feel when you spoil a library book?” the back of the book reads. And just as simply and beautifully the author takes the reader through a range of emotions, teaching them how to identify them as the first step to dealing with them.
Ravi’s Roar, Ruby’s Worry, Tilda Tries Again, Perfectly Norman, Finn’s Little Fibs by Tom Percival
With each book in this bestselling Big Bright Feelings series, Percival embarks on a journey of exploring one big emotion, one bad day, one noisy outburst at a time. With the most popular, Ravi’s Roar, we meet Ravi, who is usually an even tempered boy, until, one day, he loses it and lets out the tiger within. While being a tiger is fun at first, it ceases to be so when no one wants to play with a growling, roaring tiger. And the lesson that ensues is learning how to express feelings and making amends. Be assured that the others from the author are just as compelling.
When Sadness Is at Your Door by Eva Eland
This book makes one wonder if we were taught to deal with sadness this way as a child, would we be different people altogether. A powerful approach to seeing sadness as a visitor that helps kids through the feeling with a series of activities.
Tough Guys Have Feelings Too by Keith Negley
There are enough and more harmful messages about emotions and masculinity. And this one turns them all over the head to say everyone has emotions—wrestlers, knights, even days. A must-read for young boys, and girls.
Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall
This one about Jabari between clearing all his swim tests and making the jump off the diving board is an endearing tale of identifying and overcoming fears traced through the journey of a patient and encouraging father and a determined boy.