Olivia’s House has long taught in our programs not only the importance of crying to express your emotions, but also the science behind our tears and how they can help to soothe our pain. In Fran Pintadera’s Why do we Cry?, she underscores this education by beautifully crafting a resource that explains to young children the many reasons for our tears. Whether our tears represent sadness leaving our body, an overwhelm of excitement, or anything in between, the author reminds us in a gentle way that tears are a universal language, spoken across time and place.
If you, your child, or anyone in your world tends to have anxiety, The Worry Jar by Michelle White is the perfect resource! When thoughts are spinning around in our heads it can be difficult to tell where our worries end and we begin. That’s where The Worry Jar comes in! Dr. White tells the story of her student Alex receiving his first “Worry Jar,” a place where he can write down his worries and keep them contained somewhere safe that isn’t his own head! This resource walks the reader through exercises in managing anxiety that will be beneficial to a person of any age.
Cora’s head is often spinning and swirling, thinking about all the things that could possibly go wrong. In Emily Kilgore’s book “The What Ifs,” we see that our thoughts can sometimes make our feelings of worry even stronger! But as Cora faces her fears, she learns that there can also be GOOD “what ifs,” (like what if she gets ice cream after her piano recital??) and suddenly, Cora doesn’t feel so overwhelmed with worry anymore!
We all experience emotions, but knowing how to communicate our feelings is a skill that children need to learn! The Way I Feel by Janan Cain is a favorite resource for parents and children alike, as each page serves up a silly new facial expression to explain emotions!
In this beautifully illustrated book-within-a-book, Father Mouse tells little Mica Mouse the story of the Rhino who was once so overwhelmed that he tried to swallow an entire storm so that it couldn’t hurt him! Bottling up such big emotions might seem helpful at first, but Mica Mouse and the rhino learn that it’s better to express your feelings in a healthy way!
Striving to be your best self is a wonderful goal, but we must remember that nobody can be perfect all the time! The Girl who Never Made Mistakes by Mark Pett and Gary Rubinstein highlights that exact lesson with the story of Beatrice Bottomwell, a little girl who – you guessed it – never makes mistakes! That is, until she does make a mistake, right in front of the entire town! We have the pleasure of joining Beatrice on her journey as she realizes that life is meant to be enjoyed—not perfected—and that being perfectly imperfect is the best thing to be after all!
When a child experiences something traumatic, they may start to build up defense mechanisms. Ali Redford’s The Boy Who Built a Wall Around Himself puts this metaphor right on the page as a boy builds a literal wall as protection from danger. When a new friend comes along and shows him ways to find joy, the wall starts to come down. . .
Whether you’re one year old or 100, nighttime is often when our worries come out—and having all those worries in our heads can really make it difficult to fall asleep! “Sea Otter Cove” by Lori Lite is a great bedtime book to help children understand their mind-body connection, and how quieting their bodies through deep breathing can help quiet their minds. If your child has a hard time calming their mind enough to fall asleep, “Sea Otter Cove” is an excellent resource to teach children to relax the brain by relaxing the body. We’re never too young to learn the power of deep breathing!
The staff of Olivia’s House discovered I’m Sad by Michael Ian Black in a small bookstore in Atlanta, and we couldn’t resist adding it to our library! “I’m Sad” is a story about a little girl, a silly potato, and a flamingo who just can’t get happy! The friends try everything to cheer up the flamingo (the potato even offers up his favorite item – dirt!), but nothing works. In the end, we learn that it’s helpful to be present with someone’s feelings. . .and that it’s okay to not be happy all the time!
Our minds and bodies are more connected than we know! Sometimes the best way to calm your mind is by stretching, moving, and relaxing your body. Good Night Yoga and Good Morning Yoga by Mariam Gates provide a poetic invitation for your family to cope by moving your bodies, morning and night!