Our Touch to See picture books for blind and partially sighted children can be used as a starting point for discussion about how to deal with difficult emotions. The children can identify with the characters in the books and talk about how they cope with their feelings. This can help them develop their own social skills.
Angry Arthur by Hiawyn Oram and Satoshi Kitamura
In Angry Arthur, the little boy’s anger starts from a tiny upset over not being able to stay up late to watch TV. His anger grows and grows until it’s big enough to break up the entire universe. However, by the end of the book he’s gone to bed and can’t even remember why he felt so angry in the first place.
This book cleverly captures the feeling that sometimes you can be overwhelmed by feelings of anger which you can’t even explain. It’s a good starting point to examine times when your child is coping with extreme emotions and may feel irrationally angry.
- Ask them to think about times when they’ve felt like Arthur. Can they remember what made them angry in the first place? Was it something silly which started them off? Can they think of a way to stop the anger before it gets too big?
- When they feel angry, perhaps they could put on some music and dance around the room, or find their favourite book and get lost in a good story.
- Put on some angry music such as Mars, the Bringer of War from The Planets by Gustav Holst. Allow them to stomp around the room and move in ways suggested by the music. You can then play Venus, the Bringer of Peace from The Planets. This music is gentle and soothing – get them to sit quietly and listen to it. How does it make them feel?
Misery Moo by Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross
This book deals with unhappiness and the importance of friendship. Told with customary humour by Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross, it’s a touching tale of how our happiness matters to those who love us. This book can encourage discussion about what things or people make the child happy. Do they try and see the best in situations or, like Misery Moo, do they concentrate on the negatives.
- Perhaps they could think of a way of showing a family member or friend how much they care for them? They could make a card and write a simple message in it, or buy a small gift such as a favourite chocolate bar or a bunch of flowers. It could even just be a hug and a big, beaming smile like Misery Moo gives to the little lamb in the book.
- Talk about how these gestures don’t have to take place just on birthdays or special occasions – it can be good to show people that we care at other times, especially if they are feeling a bit sad.
Giraffe’s Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-Rees
This is a fun tale which gently explores the idea that everyone has their own talents and they shouldn’t be afraid to “dance to their own tune”. Gerald feels that he is clumsy and the other animals laugh at him when he tries to dance. However, when a sympathetic cricket plays him a different type of music, Gerald finds that if he follows his instincts he’s a fantastic dancer.
This is a very important message for young children – not to be afraid to be different. Gerald is accepted by the other animals at the end of the story once he understands that his music is just different but equally as important. This book can lead to a discussion about whether the child ever feels “out of step” with other children.
- Talk about the fact that everyone has different likes, dislikes, strengths and weaknesses.
- Can they list all the things they really love about themselves – that they are good at reading, sport, music, being a loyal friend and so on.
- Finish the session by putting on some dance music and encouraging them to kick up their hooves like Gerald and dance for sheer joy!
All these books can be borrowed free of charge for 3 months via our postal library. Reserve them online with your reader code and PIN or ring 01635 299771 to speak to our librarians.