Embracing Feelings with Mindfulness: Two Book Reviews

mindfulness collage

anh's angerAnh’s Anger by Gail Silver is about a young boy named Anh who becomes angry with his grandfather one day when he is asked to stop playing with his blocks. When he is asked to “put his blocks down” to come to dinner, he angrily knocks down his blocks and tells his grandfather, “Go away! I hate you!” His grandfather tells Anh to go to his room and “sit with his anger”. He says he will come in when he is calm and able to talk. When Anh arrives in his room, he wonders, “How can I sit with my anger?” Suddenly the boy comes face to face with a hair red creature who identifies himself as Anh’s anger. The creature talks with Anh about what anger is and how it may cause a person to be mean to others, hit things, etc. The creature develops into a friendly creature by the end of the book which encourages Anh to be in touch with his anger and embrace it. His anger explains “I’m also your friend. Whenever you feel angry, you should come sit with me. After we spend some time together, you might feel better”. The creature gives him strategies to calm his body down when angry and to be more in touch with his feelings. I enjoyed this book because it helped define and confront anger in a tangible way with the use of the red creature acting as the boy’s anger.

visiting feelings 2Visiting Feelings by Lauren Rubenstein, a licensed clinical psychologist is a beautifully written and illustrated book about exploring feelings  with the idea of acceptance and mindfulness. Visiting Feelings begins with “Do you have a feeling that’s visiting today? Can you open the door and invite it to come play? Can you ask it what it wants, and then check it out? Welcome it and listen to what it’s about?” Each page describes a feeling such as “loud like a baby”, “soft like your mom”, “smooth like ice cream”, etc. With the illustrations, this book can take a child through a beautiful journey of experiencing a variety of emotions. As you are reading the book to your child, discuss the vocabulary in depth to help further explain the specific emotion. For example, I asked “When you get a hug from a friend, how does that feel? Warm or cold? Light or dark?  Visiting Feelings is ideal book for ages 6 and up and can an excellent book to read at home and/or in a classroom. Follow the book up with an activity about a recent feeling they had and have them express it through drawing a picture.

Are you a teacher? Access Lauren Rubenstein’s lesson plans here.

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