Interest Level: 3 to 8 years
Author: Britney Winn Lee
Illustrator: Jacob Souva
Publisher: Beaming Books, 2019
Are you raising or teaching a child with big feelings? The Boy with Big, Big Feelings is such a great book and is a great way to start a conversation to validate all the feelings our young ones experience! As a sensitive mom herself to two boys with sensory processing disorder (SPD) and social anxiety, I definitely recognized familiar scenes in this sweet book. It features a sensitive little boy whose feelings are so big that they show up in his body. The shadows at night, the rumble of a truck, or a change in plans lead to big emotions. The boy in the book even feels the feelings of those around him, something my now ten-year-old recently shared happens to him. One day on the playground the boy meets a friend who feels things a little extra big, too. In sharing their big hearts, they also discover that other children experience big emotions and that feelings aren’t meant to be hidden away.
Beaming Books shares six ways to help little ones with big feelings:
*Discuss Your Feelings, too.
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The storyline in The Boy With Big, Big Feelings reminds me in many ways of one of my favorite books from Barefoot Books, The Boy Who Grew Flowers! Rink Bowagon is a shy boy who has a very unique talent of sprouting flowers all over his body whenever there is a full moon. Because he is shy and different, his horrible teacher puts him at the back of the room and his classmates ignore him. One day a new girl joins the class, and Rink's life is changed forever. I won't give the story away but will say that it melts my heart each time I read it. The new girl, Angelina Quiz not only has one leg shorter than the other but also holds a secret that deepens their friendship that much more.
At the time I first read this story my oldest son had been recently diagnosed with a genetic syndrome called Cornelia deLange Syndrome or CdLS. We didn't know anything about CdLS but first impressions from the research showed a life of challenges and a grim prognosis. Though our little boy was born "different" from most, we loved him unconditionally as our little Benjamin. It was worrisome to think that he would grow up in a world where people wouldn't love and care for him the way we did. Reading The Boy Who Grew Flowers brought so many tears as Rink's differences are embraced by a new friend. It melted my heart and will always be one of my favorites. When I learned that the author, Jen Wojtowicz, wrote it in recognition of her brother who has autism, it meant even more. Jen is an artist who happens to write and teaches artists who also happen to have disabilities. I am so grateful she created this beautiful, well-written story and that Steve Adams brought it to life with his dreamy illustrations. I am also incredibly grateful to have met many people over the past 14 years who embrace our joyful, unique son, Benjamin, and see him and not his disabilities first. He is Benjamin who happens to have CdLS.
About the Author
I am a mom to two sweet and lively boys and live in Santa Barbara, California. My oldest has Cornelia deLange Syndrome. He fuels my passion for advocating for equity and inclusion wherever I go. I love the power of a good story to inspire, educate, and make change in our world.