Wednesday, May 24, 2023

You Are Your Strong by Danielle Duffer {Mental Wellness}

You Are Your Strong
 by Danielle Dufayet discusses a wide range of emotions.  Emotions that can be hard to manage; worry, scared, sad, and mad.  Each emotion has a different pair of characters.  The child feeling the emotion and then the adult who helps the child. The adult helps shift the current emotion away for the child and replaces it with a more positive one. 

As the story grows the each child returns and this time they are able to share ways they independently find something different to change their feelings to an opposite emotion.  For example a little girl is afraid of monsters and the dark. She tells funny stories to help her feel brave.  

There's a fabulous two page spread at the end with a note to parents and caregivers with advice and suggestions for helping children and the many emotions they can feel.  These tips also apply to our classrooms where children spend a great deal of their day during the school year.

My favorite bibliotherapy moment - 

"Inside you, your Strong is a light that shines like the sun." 

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

BRAVE EVERY DAY by Trudy Ludwig {Mental Wellness}

BRAVE EVERY DAY by Trudy Ludwig is a must have for every school, classroom, and house. Camila worries and when she worries she hides. She has many worries and readers can connect with her. Her worries start with phrases like what if, I can't, and I'm scared. 

A class trip to the aquarium is coming up and Camila's worries grow and her classmates are aware of them. Sadly, she's teased and her worries increase. The field trip day comes. The class arrives and Camila makes a plan to hide only to discover Kai behind the same plant she wanted to use to hide.

Kai loves reading about animals and isn't thrilled with visiting them in person. Camila and Kai connect over their worry and support each other to use the phrase, I'll try. 

I'll try are such important words as we navigate each day and might just be the encouragement someone needs while experiencing worries.

This book has a recommended reading for kids list about worries and anxiety. The author also offers a list of questions to guide discussions before, during, or after reading this text.

My bibliotherapy moment - 

"Seeing Kai so nervous makes Camila realize her heart is bigger than her fears."

Monday, May 22, 2023

BE STRONG by Pat Zietlow Miller {Mental Wellness}

by Pat Zietlow Miller helps readers understand the layers of meaning with the word strong. The opening scene is all about physical education class and the physical strength needed for the climbing wall. Our main character doesn't have the muscle strength to do it.

She comes home deflated and her family expands the meaning of strong for her. "My family says being strong get you through life. When hard times happen and things don't go as planned."

She sets out wondering how can she be strong. What follows is just beautiful in text and the illustrations as she notices and learns from her community.

Strong is...

showing up

speaking up

not giving up

sticking to a promise

giving up a would like to

make things happen

turn nothing into something

moving forward



help others and receive help

When we expand the layers of meaning for strong, I think we all use one of these each day. I've been trying to have a read aloud on Mondays related to emotions and then always collect ideas in our writer's notebooks. I can't wait to see how my student's interpret they are strong after hearing this book.

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Never, not Ever! by Beatrice Alemagna {Mental Wellness}

Never, not Ever!
by Beatrice Alemagna is a picture book all about letting go and starting adventures. In this story, Pascaline is a bat starting school at five years old. Her bat parents join her after she streaks so loudly they shrink in size and spend the first day with her hidden under her wings. 

They attend school because Pascaline feels hesitant, reluctant, and determined not to go. She's so determined that her go to phrase about anything related to school is "Never, not ever." I love the illustrations that following showing what these emotions can look like in action; grabbing, clenches, and clutches.

When Pascaline gets to school, she finds having her parents hidden becomes a bit of a problem. They talk when they aren't suppose to, get hungry, fall into her lunch and really cause her stress. She can't even nap like everyone else. They are excited to return to school the next day and surprisingly Pascaline says, "Never, not ever."

I think it's helpful to talk about emotions in different scenarios and characters different than humans. The illustrations and text really describe and show readers the tug and pull of doing something new and what different can feel like. 

A mental health journey can be filled with letting go and starting over. A mental health journey can be filled with lots of emotions and learning to accept and sit with them. 

My bibliotherapy moment - 

"You're going to learn so many things," her parents insist."

Saturday, May 20, 2023

How to be a Lion by Ed Vere {Mental Wellness}

How to be a Lion
by Ed Vere is my favorite boo for helping readers think about stepping outside ideas of who they should be and embracing unusual friendships. Leonard is not your usual lion. He loves to walk alone, think alone, daydream, and play with words. 

Yes, Leonard writes poetry! Leonard also has a friend Marianne who is a duck. Together they think and play with words while normally, lions would eat a duck (according to this text). They spend a lot of time together meandering and thinking. They ask questions and ponder solutions together. At this point in the story I pause with readers and think about what we each like in a friendship. 

One day Leonard and Marianne cross paths with a pack of fierce lions who are upset about their friendship; directing Leonard to be fierce. Together Leonard and Marianne think and ponder this request. They brainstorm ideas on their thinking hill and compose a poem to share with the pack of lions. 

This is an important book to share with someone struggling to find their own way and step away from what is perceived as social norms. 

My favorite bibliotherapy moment - 

"Let nobody say just one way is true. There are so many ways that you can be you."

Friday, May 19, 2023

all the beating hearts by Julie Fogliano {Mental Wellness}

all the beating hearts
by Julie Fogliano celebrates self acceptance and our individuality. The structure of the story is a journey through a day from sun up to sun down. Our days start with hopefully eating, getting dressed, having somewhere to go and the choices of work, play, and maybe both. I love that she included both because they are both needed. Then she reminds us we may have days with not much going on and I found this a gentle reminder that this is okay.

There's a two page spread with an infant and a parent where we watch the caregiving roles flip as they both age. A gentle reminder about what love looks like at various stages in life. 

The story reminds us about things coming and going, growing, changing, and busy. Yet at night when we rest "we are al just hearts being in the darkness." The story then nudges us to realize above the bustle of a busy day our hearts are still beating individually. The book ends reminding readers we are strong and steady. 

In our busy emotional thoughts this book helps us slow down and pay attention to our beating hearts and realize that is a connection between us all.

My bibliotherapy moment - 

" and alive together but apart the same but exactly different."

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Feelings by Libby Walden {Mental Wellness}

Inside my heart and in my head...Feelings by Libby Walden opens with words embracing all that feelings bring us; dwell, spark, bounce, beneath, bubble, stir and brew. Her six lines of text captures action and examples that make emotions beautiful and sometimes a lot. 

The book then names an emotion and she uses a two page spread with four lines defining and offering examples to understand the named emotion. I love the sequence she uses brave, sad, angry, happy.... 

Illustrator Richard Jones has used warm muted shades with a peek through technique. There is a cut away on the front cover and each page which highlights the main character alone for each emotion double page. On the last page readers are surprised to find other children with the main character. Another interesting illustrative move is the nature setting for throughout the page. I think it sets the a tone for accepting the various emotions naturally and spending time with them. 

My bibliotherapy moment - 

"Everyone is different, and their feelings aren't the same; and what you feel is who you are - it's something you must claim."