Reviewed by Nikki Gamble
Everybody Feels Jealous is a nonfiction emotions title. I admit a personal preference for using story as a vehicle for talking about emotions. However, we know from the requests that we receive from teachers and nursery workers that there is a demand for books that deal explicitly with emotions that are intensely felt and not understood in early childhood.
The Everybody Feels series from QED fits the bill perfectly. It covers emotional literacy in a direct way which is both informative and appealing for young children. The format is designed to initiate a discussion between an adult and a child. A simple explanation of the featured emotion gives different instances which help the child identify and name their feelings. This is followed by two scenarios narrated in the first person. These stories serve to exemplify how the emotions play out in everyday situations and importantly offer positive resolutions. Consequently, the tone is upbeat and non-censorious.
The text is straightforward and easily understood, but the language feels natural and flows. Holly Sterling’s illustrations are a joyful depiction of early childhood. The movement and body language draw the reader into the scenarios adding depth and authenticity. There’s plenty here to support adult-child conversations. Attention has been given to make the books ethnically diverse and avoid gender stereotyping, though there were no images of disability in the two books that I looked at (Jealous and Lonely).
The double-page spread of ‘story words’ could be useful for helping adults use clear, unambiguous language to help children deal with their complex feelings. There are supporting notes at the end, which could be helpful, particularly in a group setting.
If you are looking for books to support emotional literacy, I recommend this series. Generally, I suggest they are most suited to intimate one-to-one conversations, but the sensitive teacher will use them well too.
Other books in the Everybody Feels series:
Everybody Feels Lonely
Everybody Feels Shy
Everybody Feels Worried
Formerly a teacher (secondary and primary) and university lecturer, with over 35 years’ experience, Nikki has worked extensively in schools across the UK and internationally. She is the author of Exploring Children’s Literature now in its fourth edition (Sage, 2019) Co-author of Guiding Readers, winner of the UKLA Academic Book award (UCL, 2016). Nikki runs workshops for teachers, librarians, students and researchers on different aspects of children's literature, an online summer school and an Audience with events, celebrating writers and illustrators who have made an exceptional contribution to the world of children's books. Further information exploringchildrensliterature.uk