Research continues to show us how beneficial it is to talk with small children about their emotions, helping them identify as well as giving them tools to manage their emotions.
So when I was given the opportunity to review “What Am I Feeling” by Dr. Josh and Christi Straub, I was thrilled!
This book helps children identify feelings, validates that feelings are ok and God cares about our feelings, and comes with a fun feelings chart.
What’s This All About?
“What Am I Feeling?” follows a little boy about his day. He realizes at the beginning of the day that he is afraid, but doesn’t know why. The father tells the boy to ask God to show him why he feels afraid, and ask God what to do with that feeling.
He goes about his day, and plays with his friends who show all sorts of emotions. The main mantra of the story is “a feeling is just a feeling, it’s not in charge of you.” It shows children acting out of their feelings and how their actions affect other people.
In the end the little boy returns home where he let’s his parents know he realized he was afraid, because it was show and tell day!
What We Liked
I love that this book is talking about emotions. We need more tools like this, written from a Christian perspective. I love that they validated the children’s emotions, and showed that God cares about how we feel. The talk about praying to God about our feelings and asking him to help us manage them.
Throughout the book we see the consequences of children not managing their emotions. One child is so happy she jumps around and knocks over a friend’s blocks. This makes the friend angry. I think it’s important for children to see the consequences of their actions, and there are several examples of this in the book. In the end the children model how to apologize and make amends, another great skill.
Also, I really appreciated the feelings chart included in this book. It was fun for my preschooler and I to identify the emotions each face was feeling. She then tried to make those faces in the mirror.
What Could Have Been Better
There was a lot of talk about giving emotions to God and he will show us what do do with our emotions. There was also many examples of how our emotions can hurt others if we let them control us.
However this book lacks tools for actually managing emotions. The one tool given is “talk to God,” which is totally valid. However, what may be more beneficial is showing children a better way to manage their emotions. The show children what happens when their emotions go un managed, and the lesson they offer is to “control your emotions.” However, they offer no real skills in how to control emotions. What I would add to this book is a list of coping skills to show children how to manage each emotion. You can check out my list here:
How I Feel Summary
In the end, I feel like this book is a wonderful tool for getting the conversation rolling about emotions. What are they? How can our emotions affect others? However the conversation should not end there. We need to not just give examples of what not to do. We need to equip them with a better way.