Little Big Feelings series – at a glance
The School Reading Lists’ five word review: Building confidence & empathy with others.
Children’s book titles: I Like to be Kind & Sometimes I am Worried (Little Big Feelings).
Children’s author: by Campbell Books.
Genre: Children’s nonfiction.
Illustrated by: Marie Paruit.
Published by: Campbell Books
Recommended for children aged: 3-5 (but also useful for 3-9 in the classroom).
First published: Hardback July 2020.
These children’s books are ideal for: discussing empathy and anxieties with nursery, EYFS and primary aged children.
There are, so far, two books in the Little Big Feelings series: I Like To Be Kind and Sometimes I am Worried. They are aimed at young people aged 3-5, but both are also suitable for discussing with primary aged children as part of the PSHE curriculum.
I was that age sixty or more years ago. If they had appeared at that time I don’t doubt they would have been received with disbelief, dismissal and derision.
I spent most of 1959 worrying about two things: how to use a protractor and whether I would one day wander down to the local railway line and find there, instead of all my cheering mates, Batty Barnes alone, waiting to beat me up.
I couldn’t ask anyone about the protractor; there were 45 pupils in my class and they were all confident experts in the ways of the little plastic half-moon which kept me locked in a cloud of dread and confusion. How could I confess my failure in front of them? The problem of Batty was truly insolvable; he was huge, mad and rumoured to own a variety of nasty weapons. A tiny part of me still cowers at the thought that he might turn up again one day.
In 1960 a sudden flash of insight flooded my mind with light and the protractor-problem disappeared. Now my only worry was the 11+ exam. It was explained to us that the course of our future lives would depend on what we did on those two fateful afternoons in February. I passed.
That September I started life at a Grammar School. About 600 staff and pupils, all male, turned up each day to make each other’s lives a living hell. No part of the timetable was free of strain, fear and boredom. I was regularly caned for the most trivial ‘offences.’ Physical and emotional brutality was an hourly occurrence.
Life was presented as a series of competitive battles; only toughness would see you through. And yet at the same time we were assured that these days of misery would, at some point, magically transform into ‘the happiest of our lives.’
Children (or people, as I prefer to call them) have serious, complicated, delicately-balanced inner lives. Our job, as parents or teachers, is to help them build a solid foundation of confidence and empathy with others.
Anyone who lived through those times and who then opened these books today could not fail to be (almost tearfully) relieved that so much, in Education and in the general tenor of life, has changed for the better since then. Children (or people, as I prefer to call them) have serious, complicated, delicately-balanced inner lives. Our job, as parents or teachers, is to help them build a solid foundation of confidence and empathy with others.
The Little Big Feelings books remind us, and assure them, that the future does indeed depend on how seriously we take our responsibilities with regard to this awesome task.
Using Little Big Feeling books in the classroom
- The themes are covered carefully and sensitively. The books are suitable for discussion not just with preschool children, but also in the classroom, or circle time, with EYFS and KS1 pupils.
- The scenarios presented and questions posed could also be discussed with lower KS2 pupils in PSHE.
- The artwork and interactivity and illustrations could spark off ideas for display work in EYFS and KS1.
- The real-world situations described in these books would be a good starting point for literacy in EYFS ‘all about me topics’, and autobiographical writing tasks in KS1.
Many thanks to Campbell Books for the review copies.
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