The incredible Lorena Alvarez is coming all the way from Bogotá, Colombia for a bookstore tour in Los Angeles! Lorena will be doing events at three different locations, signing her new graphic novel Hicotea, and answering questions about writing, illustration, and creating her graphic novels Nightlights and Hicotea. Check out the details below, and don’t forget to sign up for her writing/illustration workshop at Gallery Nucleus if you’re near the Alhambra area on March 30. Follow us on Twitter for updates!
Since yesterday was the first day of Spring, we’re celebrating with this interview with Sandra Dieckmann, the creator of Leafand The Dog That Ate the World. Both of these gorgeous books are available wherever you buy your books. Read on to discover how Sandra was inspired to turn a dark season of her life into a tale of resolve and strength in The Dog That Ate the World.
1. How did The Dog That Ate the World start?
The first time I thought of the story for The Dog That Ate The World I was lying under a tree in a park near my house watching the sunshine come through the tree branches above, celebrating being alive and warm. It was all roughly there, beginning to end. I don’t think it could have formed as a story in my mind if I hadn’t gone through a particularly dark time beforehand. I struggled through crippling anxiety and health problems for many months and connected that day to the the saying that “depression is a big black dog.” I imagined it swallowing the sun and everything alive, but that I would come out the other side stronger than before.
I thought about the power we give to thoughts that are counterproductive and destructive and shared a little sketch of handing the dog a flower. I wrote: ”If the big black dog comes to bother you don’t fight him, invite him! He’ll soon become much smaller even if he never leaves your side.”
In the book the dog disappears through taking everything in existence but mainly also because no one gives him any power by thinking about him or physically fighting him.
2. What and who in your life inspired the different characters and the overall arch of the story about building community in the wake of intense greed?
The Dog The Ate The World is a cyclical story of a community that lives peacefully, but is segregated into different groups of animals, until one day the dog appears in their valley. He swallows everything and everyone and does not stop, while growing to incredible proportions. The animals must band together and rebuild their lives. There is music when words fail, growing together as friends and rebuilding lives in uncertain times. It’s a story of rebirth and dark and light.
In a big way it’s the story of the world we live in. It is not a classic hero story where good defeats evil, but it is a story about overcoming darkness by living well and also about balance. The dog eats and eats without being satiated, which brought up the theme of blind consumerism. In my eyes it is also about the strength we all carry inside to make the best of a bad situation: be it a mental health crisis or living under a disagreeable government. The children of the world (the bunnies in my book) are faced with an incredible threat but respond peacefully. These characters were inspired by an early sketch I had made responding on the current political climate in the UK around the Brexit Vote. The calm, wise fox leads with little words and speaks through his music to pull the community together. He is the pillar of the animals in the valley and gets swallowed first by the dog, making everyone spring into action. Hans Christian Andersen said it best: “Where words fail, music speaks.”
The other characters I imagine all have their roles in the community and help rebuild it together, even though they lived very separate before this difficult time. The ferrets are silly and fun, the badger is the support system, etc. and all together they form a brilliant band. They dance by fire light and get on with living a good life. Hopefully everyone will find a different angle on this story. You will also notice a lot of mushrooms. It’a a surreal fable so you know…
3. After the success of Leaf, how did you feel putting together your second book? Was your process any different?
The Dog That Ate The World is more of a concept book than Leaf. Leaf grew together out of different stories and that was a marked difference between the two in the beginning. It was a little daunting to follow Leaf so soon after but also freeing in a weird way as I had been really pleased with the response to my debut, and I felt like I could try something a little different. The Dog That Ate The Word is a story very close to my own heart and in my mind this book looked darker, far too dark for a picture book so we worked really hard on balancing the dark and the light without losing my vision.
My brilliant editor Harriet was imperative in this task. I initially also thought about trying to work with simpler shapes and less detail but my usual way of working in detail automatically crept back in. In early idea sketches and roughs the dog was a very flat, black shape and the idea was to have him grow throughout the twelve spreads until he disappears when he has consumed everything. This we kept as a visual tool. In an early version of the story the dog swallows the mountains too which break his teeth. He started off looking quite silly but we later decided to make him more wolf-like.
4. What’s your ideal drawing space and what kind of snacks/beverages does it include?
My dream studio would be a light space filled with plants, big windows, and french doors leading into a garden which ends at a stream or lake. That would be bliss. I have worked in a shared studio for many years now with different illustrator friends and that has always been pretty ideal. My workplace, Studio Mama Wolf moved venue several times. Once we even had a studio/shop open to the public. That was especially good when we had short dance sessions to loosen up and laugh together and stuffed ourselves with morsels we had brought in to share. Space and food has always been best shared!
5. When did you start creating illustrations? What has kept you going?
I went full time as a freelance illustrator in 2012. Before that I mostly illustrated nights and days off for a couple of years, while I worked part time and built up my contacts and portfolio. Etsy was a big part of getting established, and my shop there has always been busy and a lifeline in supporting myself as an independent artist. I have always been in love with drawing from a very early age and still have paintings I did when I was four years old. When I was young I explored the countryside and forest in rural Germany as I wasn’t allowed to watch more than an hour of telly a day, spent loads of time reading, drawing and making things, and in the end just never stopped. I think at every stage of my life drawing has been my soul’s soothing balm.It’s been my retreat, my way to communicate feelings and cope with life in general (apart from crazy deadlines of course).
Hello, dear reader, we’re very excited to share some news with you..! We are thrilled to announce that DreamWorks Animation have optioned the motion picture rights to the Brownstone’s Mythical Collection series by Joe Todd-Stanton! We can’t tell you any more than this for now but rest assured that we will share all further details as soon as we can!
Brownstone’s Mythical Collection follows the stories of the Brownstone family and their adventures through ancient mythologies. Two books have been published in the series so far. In Arthur and the Golden Rope(2016), unlikely hero Arthur journeys to the land of the Vikings where he meets Norse gods and monsters. In Marcy and the Riddle of the Sphinx(2017), an anxious Marcy travels to ancient Egypt to save her adventurer father and overcome her deepest fears. The next book in the series will be based on Chinese mythology, and is publishing in Autumn 2019.
Winner of the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2018 forThe Secret of Black Rock, Joe Todd-Stanton said upon hearing the news: “Knowing this studio, which was such a huge and positive part of my childhood, have even read my book is mind-blowing. The fact they are interested in possibly adapting it is on another level. I’m really excited to see what happens. “
Sam Arthur, publisher and C.E.O. of Flying Eye Books commented “DreamWorks have a knack for picking up on great content – Joe Todd-Stanton’s star is rising!”
Skyward: The Story of Female Pilots in WWIIis Sally Deng’s debut book, which published earlier this year. What started as a scroll through Pinterest developed into this beautifully-illustrated passion project about three young women who wanted to reach great heights—Hazel is an Asian American living in San Francisco, Marlene is a young woman living in the English countryside, and Lilya is from a small town in Russia. Here Sally tells us all about the fascinating stories she learned while working on this book and answers questions about her creative process, how she conducted her research, and her chocolate-filled studio space.
Sally: “I was looking through Pinterest in college and found a vintage photo of Hazel Ying Lee—the first Asian American female pilot in the United States. I didn’t think it could be real—how could a woman, especially a Chinese American woman, be allowed near a plane during that time? I spiraled into an internet research hole and came out with a whole series of paintings and drawings inspired by these pilots.”
Nobrow: What kind of research did you do while creating Skyward? Did you get to meet any WWII vets?
Sally: “I checked out quite a few books from my university’s library, and had to dig into out of print books about female pilots from other countries. One of my professor’s mothers was a WASP pilot, and he had hours and hours of recordings of her talking about her experience. One of her stories made the book: she was in her plane, and the oil started to leak. She needed a quick fix, so she took off her shirt to clean the oil off the plane.”
(Note: this is referenced in Skyward on page 54, when Hazel has to make an emergency landing and wipe down the windshield with her blouse.)
Nobrow: Are the stories of the three girls based on anyone in particular? If so, who?
Sally: “Yes. The Asian American pilot is based on Hazel Ying Lee, and Lilya, the girl from Russia, loves to draw, which is also what I love to do. Each one is sort of representative of me in some way.”
Nobrow: What’s a favorite story that didn’t make the book?
Sally: “There was a young girl in America who wanted to be a WASP pilot. She had scheduled her physical, but knew she didn’t meet the minimum weight requirement, so hours before her physical, her mother took her to a nearby diner and she ate until she couldn’t eat anymore. She barely passed the physical, but she did eventually become a pilot.”
Nobrow: Which character in Skyward was the most difficult to create?
Sally: “The character that was the most difficult to draw was Marlene. The English women pilots that I saw photos of always looked so beautiful, like models, with their amazing hair and makeup. That’s totally not me, but I just tried really hard to make Marlene look cool.”
Nobrow: In your research, what little-known facts about the female pilots of WWII did you find?
Sally: “I learned a lot of things. First, doctors in WWII didn’t know much about the female body—all the requirements for passing the physicals were in accordance with male bodies. Also, a lot of flying was learned on the go. The pilots didn’t have time or proper training to learn how to fly each air craft. The UK pilots (the ATA) had manuals they would tuck in their boots, basically ‘Flying This-Type-of-Plane 101.’
In America, many of the women who were pilots came from wealthy families who could fund their pilot lessons, but for those who weren’t, they had to go back to civilian life with little hope of having the money to continue flying on their own. In a lot of their interviews, the women pilots didn’t want it to end. They wanted to keep flying.”
Nobrow: What’s your ideal drawing space and what kind of snacks/beverages does it include?
Sally: “I just moved to a bigger shared studio space, but it doesn’t have windows like my last space. So windows and plants make the space ideal, and I always have chocolate around—it’s probably a vice.”
Nobrow: When did you start drawing? What’s pushed you to keep going?
Sally: “Ever since I could remember. My parents told me I started holding a pencil at 3. My parents really supported me from a young age with drawing. When I was a bit older, I couldn’t sit still, and I kept bothering them, so they sent me to art lessons. When I was trying to choose between colleges, my dad saw that I was hesitating between a studio art school and a regular liberal arts college. He encouraged me to go to the art school. I’m really lucky in that way.”
Infographics meet architecture in Adam Allsuch Boardman’s unique illustrations, which feature detailed line work with diagrammatic accuracy. Demonstrated in his latest book, An Illustrated History of Filmmaking, Adam leads us through the history of one of his favourite subjects. We caught up with Adam to find out more about his creative process as well as discussing his distinctive visual language.
Q. Where was your first port of call for your research?
To begin with, I amassed a healthy stack of books from the library. Whilst reading, I would take notes and begin drawing my own cryptic diagrams for later reference. I found that the much older books tended to contain quite charming illustrations, which I would scan and study. I also watched a whole bunch of documentaries and DVD extras, and listened to podcasts. Absorbing different types of information helped manifest a much clearer idea of the book within my headspace.
Had I the time to spare, there were a lot of focussed catalogues of information I would have liked to take to the extreme. For example, I began drawing a lot of cinema ticket booths. I really enjoyed how a simplistic and functional cupboard-like room had been reinterpreted in such diverse ways over the last century of cinema architecture. It’s honestly something that’s deserving of its own book!
Q. Your work is quite diagrammatic. What were your main influences as this style progressed?
When I first started out with illustration, I worked frequently with museums and on educational projects. This led me to interpret imagery in what I find is the most literal sense. I like to show the space of things in an easily understood way. The use of clear line has interested me since childhood, having learned to read with the assistance of Hergé’s Adventures of Tintin. I also have a deep fondness for the clarity of illustration present in school exam papers and revision materials.
I find that clarifying an object into a more impartial isometric perspective is very satisfying. The process of repeatedly and obsessively studying an object can be a lot of fun; often the rarer objects can send one down a bizarre rabbit hole of books and websites, just so one can find a better angle of reference… or indeed to go visit a museum solely to see a particular artefact.
Q. If you had the choice to dedicate several pages of this book to just one individual in filmmaking, who would it be and why?
It was incredibly hard not to babble on at length about each filmmaker, and there are so many fantastic lives both in front and behind the lens. I find folk like Jehanne D’Alcy really interesting – as one of the first full-time film actresses, she must have had a really unique experience of the industry, especially during its fledgling years.
Q. Are there any directors or cinematographers whose artistic direction has influenced your own work?
It’s often difficult to put an aesthetic down to one particular person – it’s a team effort after all! But Kazuo Miyagawa and John Alcott are some particular chaps that I find really grand. Many shots in 2001: A Space Odyssey continually amaze me. I am also astounded by the imagery of How the West Was Won. The unique camera trickery that made Cinerama work means that every single frame of information is divided into thirds, which creates a very unique visual language. By most accounts it was a nightmare of a system for everyone involved, but it looked fab.
One of the more trivial details of the book was the need to include furniture and fashion tied to the context of its time period. This included heaps of tangential research that I really enjoyed. In particular I loved looking at 1970s shirts.
Otherwise, the more grand and detailed isometric scenes such as the Vaudeville and orchestral recording were images that I spent a large chunk of time and concentration on. I found it most enjoyable to truly inhabit an imaginary space and flesh it out with believable detail based on various photographic and illustrative references.
Q. If you could do an Illustrated History of anything else, what would you choose and why?
In the intro to An Illustrated History of Filmmaking, I outlined that I deliberately left out animation, as to include it as a tacked-on chapter would have been an absolute disservice to its important role in entertainment. So, I would love to celebrate the history of animation with its own book following much of the same structure, highlighting some of the key folk, events and technology that made it all possible.
Otherwise I have a long list of subjects that I desperately want to conjure into the format of a book. Ufology for one – it would be particularly fun to draw and write about!
We’re so happy to announce that you can now stream the all-new Hilda series on Netflix! Yesterday, creator of the original Hilda graphic novel series Luke Pearson announced the original music by Grimes featured in the title sequence of the Netflix series.
This morning, the Nobrow team in New York screened the first two episodes for 125 kids from Brooklyn schools at the Brooklyn Public Library. The response was a lot of laughter, and questions about “what happens next?”
Sam Arthur, CEO and Co-founder of Nobrow, was excited to say: “Seeing Hilda develop from first sketches to first comic, to first graphic novel series, to TV show airing worldwide on Netflix has been a huge privilege. I’m so proud of what Luke Pearson, Nobrow/Flying Eye, and Silvergate Media have achieved. The last 10 years have been an incredible ride, and I have a feeling it’s just the beginning.”
Check out hildabooks.com for information on getting your own copies of the graphic novels or the first TV tie-in book, Hilda and the Hidden People. And don’t forget to get settled in to watch the entire first season!
Summer’s almost over and kids are headed back to school, and with that, there are new friends to make, and new stories to hear. In Me and My Fear(out now in the UK, US & Canada), a young immigrant girl starts school in her new country and has to face the challenges of making friends, learning a language, and overcoming her companion Fear, who perches on her shoulder every day—trying to keep her safe.
Me and My Fear is based on research that creator Francesca Sanna did in classrooms—asking children to draw their fears and encouraging them to talk about what made them afraid. To accompany this book, we’ve created a classroom guide, complete with activities and levelling information for teachers, students, and librarians to use for this upcoming year. You can download whichever version applies to you at the links below.
We hope that Francesca’s experience working with immigrant children will provide depth to your classrooms and conversations this year!
“I am a very anxious person, and at times when working on this book, my fear would grow too big and grip me too tightly. I would not have succeeded without the precious help of many people. Firstly, I would like to thank each and every child I met in schools and libraries, who was willing to share their fears about being the new one, the different one, the one from another country. They helped keep my own fear from growing too large.”—Francesca Sanna
Praise for The Journey
Many of you know Francesca from her brilliant debut picture book, The Journey. With six starred reviews, and acknowledgement on Best of lists from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, School Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, and the New York Public Library, The Journey moved readers with the illustrated story of a family forced from their homes, gently introducing children to what it means to be a refugee. Now, Francesca brings us into the story of one young girl, overcoming her struggles to feel at home in her new country.
“This heart-stopping, visually sophisticated story of a happy family suddenly forced to flee their home because of war evokes the dark danger of fairy tales to present the stark realities and enduring hope of modern refugees.”
—The New York Times, Notable Children’s Books of 2016
“Direct in language and lush in colorful illustration, this poignant picture book for readers ages 6-10 nurtures compassion for real-life refugees.”
—The Wall Street Journal, The Best Children’s Books of 2016
“The Journey offers a beautiful message to readers — young and old alike — about the difficulties of finding a new home, and the value of welcoming strangers once they arrive.” —The Washington Post
“A necessary, artful, and searing story.” —Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW
“The innocent voice and dramatic graphic-style illustrations tell a harrowing, haunting, yet hopeful story of a family’s search for a place to call home.” —School Library Journal, Best Picture Books of 2016
“Given the ongoing refugee crisis in Europe and immigration debates in the U.S. and abroad, Sanna’s story is well poised to spark necessary conversations about the costs of war.” —Publisher’s Weekly, STARRED REVIEW
Jérémie Royer’s Schedule, Saturday, September 15th:
Event: Panel – Illuminating Legends
Time: 2:30 PM – 3:30 PM
Location: White Flint Auditorium
Time: 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM
Location: Nobrow Table W76-78
In addition to meeting Jérémie, you’ll also have a chance to pick up one of the first copies of Hilda and the Hidden People at SPX. Just published on September 4th, this book is our very first prose novel based on episodes from the Netflix animated series debuting on September 21st.
SPX will be at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center (5701 Marinelli Road, North Bethesda, MD 20852), and you can purchase tickets here.
We can’t wait to see you there!
September 15th & 16th
Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center
NOBROW TABLE W76-78
We’re so excited that Hamish Steele will be a special guest at FlameCon in New York on August 18th and 19th! Hamish Steele, creator of Pantheon and the just-published Deadendia, will be a special guest alongside Molly Ostertag, Noelle Stevenson, MariNaomi, Mariko Tamaki, and many more talented creators. Flame Con is the world’s largest queer comic con, featuring a two-day comics, arts and entertainment expo, showcasing creators and special guests from all corners of the LGBTQ fandom. Hamish will be participating in several panels, meeting fans at his book table (S145), and selling copies of his bright and brilliant books!
Don’t forget to follow @nobrowpress on Instagram for Hamish’s takeover on our stories for Saturday!
Sheraton, New York (West 53rd Street, 811 7th Ave, New York, NY 10019)
Saturday (show open 12-8pm):
Hamish will be signing at his table (S145) during the day!
5pm: The Big Gay Sensational Animational Hour Panel, Room A (with Nicole Gitau, Shadi Petosky and Noelle Stevenson)
The Russ Manning Award has been given out annually at the San Diego Comic-Con since 1982, and is presented to a comics artist who, early in their career, shows a superior knowledge and ability in the art of creating comics. Russ Manning is best known for his work on the Tarzan and Star Wars newspaper strips and the Magnus, Robot Fighter comic book. Hamish had a co-winner this year—the talented Pablo Tunica (TMNT Universe) and his fellow nominees were Sean Rubin (Bolivar), Nina Vakueva (Hi-Fi Fight Club/Heavy Vinyl), and Campbell Whyte (Home Time). With all of this talent, we’re so proud of Hamish for this win, and we can’t wait for the quirky, genuine characters of Deadendia to come to your bookshelf.
Nobrow and Flying Eye Books will be attending the American Booksellers Association’s ABC Children’s Institute from June 19-21st and the American Library Association’s Annual Conference from June 22-25th in New Orleans! Here is a rundown of all that we have going on.
Children’s Institute Events
On the opening night of Children’s Institute (June 19th), we’re throwing an exclusive HILDA Netflix Screening Party at the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel in room Grand B. We’ll kick things off at 9pm with popcorn and Hilda swag. No need to RSVP but if you’re a bookseller, sign up here to receive a Hilda Display Kit for your store! Don’t forget to pick up a copy the TV Tie-in Hilda chapter book: Hilda and the Hidden People.
Friday, June 22nd at 10:30am: Hamish Steele will be on the Library Con Panel “Reaching Diverse Voices,” with Mariko Tamaki, Danielle Paige, Ridley Pearson, and Kami Garcia, in the Morial Convention Center Room 348-349. To attend this event you must be registered for ALA and sign up here.
Saturday, June 23rd: We’ll be in our booth # 2158 all day (9am-5pm) with giveaways!
3:45pm: Hamish will be back at our booth in the exhibit hall for a signing (it’s booth #2158—don’t forget!).
Monday, June 25th at 10:30am: Don’t miss our exclusive screening of the HILDA Netflix Original Series in New Orleans Theater, Section C, in the Morial Convention Center. This screening will offer librarians a chance to see the first two episodes of Hilda months before it airs on Netflix! The series follows the journey of a fearless blue-haired girl as she travels from her magical home in the wilderness, filled with elves and giants, to the bustling city of Trolberg. Don’t forget that this is also your sneak peak at Hilda and the Hidden People, the first Hilda illustrated chapter book and companion to the Netflix original animation.
Be sure to follow us on Twitter to stay abreast of all the updates! We can’t wait to see you!
The charming and colourful picture book The Diver is out now! Veronica Carratello is an illustrator and comic book artist who has worked with a number of clients including Netflix, Circle Dei Lettori, and has been a part of several exhibitions throughout Italy. We had a chat with Veronica and here she shares more about herself and her story…
1. Your book brings out essential topics that children and also adults deal with throughout their lives such as the self-confidence to believe in and achieve their own dreams. How did you come up with the idea of this beautiful story?
The idea came to me by chance. I could not sleep and I started thinking about how coins are flipped into fountains to make wishes, and I asked myself, what if the coin had a dream of its own? And then I started to develop the story.
At the beginning, Emma was a minor character. But after developing the story with the editor’s advice she became a main character alongside the coin, and the story shows their two lives happening side-by-side. Emma represents commitment to achieving a dream, and the coin represents strength of character. Both of them have moments of concern, as it usually happens in life.
2. Italy is well-known for its Trevi Fountain coin toss tradition and all the popular beliefs about it. Did you draw your inspiration from it to shape the personality of your main character?
Yes, I draw my inspiration from it and I’m fascinated by popular beliefs. If you toss a coin into Trevi Fountain, which I did, it means that you’ll return to Rome one day. But there is also a legend that if you flip a penny into a fountain and make a wish, it will come true.
I have to confess that before sending you the proposal of my book The Diver, I flipped a coin into a fountain too… and my wish came true!
3. Did you put yourself into your characters?
Like my characters, I believe in dreams, and my favourite quote is “If you can dream it, you can do it!” by Walt Disney. I like it because you can convince yourself that nothing is impossible, like the coin’s dream of being a diver, but I think that to achieve our goals, we also need to work hard and be determined, like Emma.
4. If you could have done something different as a child to achieve a dream as an adult, what would you do?
I would probably be a musician. I’ve always had a passion for music: a few years ago I wrote songs and played guitar in a band, I think it’s a nice way to tell a story too.
5. What is the main thing you want readers to learn from your book?
The main thing I want my readers to learn is that it doesn’t matter how small you are or how big your dream is, if you work hard and you really want it, your dream will come true!
As a child, my personality was quiet and reserved, but my feelings were noisy. I was a stomper and a door-slammer — tucked in the middle of the sibling order. In retrospect, I see those characters from the animated movie, Inside Out sitting at the dashboard, haphazardly pushing buttons and battling for control. They acted independently of me, and they longed for expression — longed to be seen and heard (ahem — stomp, stomp). They often appeared in writing: in notes and stories, in journal entries and, as a small girl, in posters strewn across the house for my parents to find, depicting my honest, and probably unhelpful, feelings regarding the discipline of practicing piano (“I HATE PIANO”).
Sharp edges soften. That angry sadness, along with its note-scrawling, door-slamming and foot-stomping, finds a fullness of expression and, often, a quietness. That once-slammed door is sheepishly opened. This is the arc that my first picture book, Out, Out, Away From Here(illustrated by Sang Miao), follows. The story moves readers from the fullness of that noisy feeling — of MAD-SAD-GLAD — to a peace and quiet that we can all find within the space of our own imaginations. No matter how small, we all need to learn emotional intelligence, and that requires practice, care, and patience.
Though I don’t have formal child psychology training, I have spent a lot of time with children, teaching them and learning from them, in daycares and preschools, as a private tutor, as a homeschool teacher. Children have a lot to teach us. They navigate the world with lighthearted wonder, with honest and direct thought and feeling, and with an attention to the present moment. As we teach and care and parent them, we have much to learn from them — to learn together.
How do we encourage emotional intelligence in young children? How do we empower kids to cope with and carry feelings in healthy ways?
1.Remember, Feelings Begin Physically
Tantrums, stomping, frowning, fist-clenching. Identifying feelings is a challenge for all of us — grown-up or not. Young children may only know how to verbally express happy, sad, and mad. While still learning ways to channel and show these feelings, they will express themselves physically. We can help children to identify the clues their bodies/behaviors give them about those unnamed feelings.
2.Encourage, empower, and guide children to name their own feelings
Ask open-ended, exploratory questions. Try to veer away from questions with yes/no answers. Example: How are you feeling? What happened to make you feel this way? What can we do to calm you down or cheer you up?
3.Affirm that feelings are legitimate
Feeling sad, tired, grumpy, nervous, excited — these feelings are real and often important. Let children know that this is normal and okay, that adults feel these too. Share your experiences and strategies with children. When you’re feeling a certain way, how do you cope? We may not choose our feelings, but we can choose how to express them. My parents’ repeated advice was this: “you may be feeling this way, but you don’t need to act this way” (this was usually tired and grumpy, they were referring to).
Children need access to the outdoors to experience the quiet, beauty, and wonder of nature. Feelings need room to spread out.
In the midst of noisy feelings, children and caretakers can benefit from a pause. “Taking five” was a tool I used in the classroom to allow students (often frustrated and unproductive) five minutes to use in their own, quiet way — often with a pile of books. They, and I, often returned to the task more calm and ready.
6.Read illustrated books aloud
This medium offers children language higher than their level of expression — but not their level of understanding. Books give kids a greater ability to hold and communicate feelings.
7.Give feelings feet!
Encourage children to let their feelings move. If they’re happy feelings — or any sort of feeling, really — dance! As an adult, too, I have to remind myself to sometimes leave my brain and heart behind. Take a walk, write in a journal, create art, play. Move!
8.Help children to recognize that feelings are temporary
A wise friend of mine says you feel feelings — but you aren’t your feelings. Imagine them like visitors. How can we take care of them while they’re here? What can we learn from them? They’ll show themselves out, when they’re ready. They’ll come and go again.
9.Teach that caring for ourselves helps us to care for others
Learning to recognize and care for our own emotions is a necessary precursor to practicing compassion. Encouraging children to know and recognize their own feelings will help them to observe the same in others — and to practice compassion.
10.Remind children that feelings are complicated and that it’s okay
Feelings are often more muddled-up than happy, sad, or mad, but that makes it so important to talk through them.
The world of feelings is wonderful and complicated. It’s a world we all carry within us, child and adult alike. Guiding children to carry their emotions in appropriate ways will lead to healthier children and, someday, healthier adults — capable of caring for themselves and for others. Join me in a journey we all take, over and over again, out, out, away fromhere — through that mountainous terrain of feeling.
Rachel Woodworth grew up in Canada and graduated from a liberal arts university in the United States. With an ongoing wonder with words and the world, writing has accompanied her for the whole of her travels. Out, Out, Away From Here (published by Flying Eye Books) is Rachel’s first book and is available now. She is currently living in Tanzania.
We’re so excited to be debuting Ryan Heshka’s Mean Girls: Pink Dawn in North America at TCAF, and we’re giving away these matchbooks as long as they last at Table 145. Check out the details below for Ryan’s appearances at TCAF.
Ryan Heshka appearances
SAT, MAY 12TH
1pm – Signing at Nobrow table 145
SUN, MAY 13TH
12pm – 2pm – “Learn To Paint The Ryan Heshka Way!” Demo. 3rd Floor Library Discussion Room The amazing artist behind Mean Girls Club: Pink Dawn hosts a live demo where he’ll walk you through his method and process for creating his pin-up inspired retro art.
2:30pm – Signing at Nobrow Table 145
Another TCAF surprise is the Nobrow 10: Studio Dreams Hardcover—available for sale in North America ONLY AT TCAF (you can find the more widely available softcover here). Hurry over to Table 145 to buy your own copy of this incredible collection of artists imagining their ideal studios. These are going to go fast, and they will not be available online, so make sure you get your hands on this TCAF exclusive!