Summary

“I’m Happy-Sad Today” by Lory Britain, PhD goes through a series of mixed up feelings that a child might have: happy-sad; brave-scared; frustrated-determined”, many in which a child can relate to or face in their childhood endeavors.

One scenario shows a scene where a child is trying out something new and was both scared and brave to to go to a classroom for a first time and how lots of people feel that way.

Another scene shows how happy a child can feel when they are picked up from school, yet sad because they had to stop playing.

The book shares that there can be different type of happy feelings and sad feelings; and many types of mixed up feelings.

The author talk about happy feelings such as when one is simply just plain jump in the air and giggly happy ; and a quiet type of happy when one is just content sitting there cozy reading a book.

She points out different type of sad feelings: for instance when a child misses out on a birthday party because the child gets sick; or a different type of sad for when a friend is moving away.

The author dabble on the notion that some feelings can linger longer than others, ” I didn’t smile the next day, or even part of the next day.”

Painting, pretend playing and dancing are all healthy ways to express feelings.

Thoughts:

This story was brilliant. At first glance, just by reading the title of the story, I was wondering how it would make sense for someone to feel both happy and sad. When Free Spirit Publishing sent me ” I’m Happy- Sad Today” by Lory Britain, PhD for review, the colorful and fun illustration on the front cover drew me in and I immediately found myself reading the story to myself. Every page made perfect sense and many situations and scenarios were relevant to children and their feelings. It somehow awoken something within me, to ponder my own feelings.

My kids were engaged the entire time when I read it as their bedtime story. They felt an immediate connection to the story. After the story, they were eager to share without me having to prompt them, the times when they felt happy and sad:

Olivia: ” I’m sad when I have to leave my teacher because I love her, but I’m happy to be home with you.”

Ayla: ” I’m sad when I have to go to school because I miss you, but I’m happy because my friends help me feel better.”

Esme: ” I’m sad when daddy goes to work, but I’m happy to be home with you.”

These commentaries mean more to me than you’ll ever know. It was a different type of revelation for me to hear this from my children. I was happy they understood what happy-sad meant to them and was able to listen and internalize what it mean to them. This was the first time they heard the story. I can only imagine how much more they’d be able to share with me the second, third and many more times I read it to them.

As we move towards the end of the school year, the kids had been getting more emotional. Olivia’s been non stop, the entire week being sad about how she’ll miss her teacher. No matter what I tried to say to her to console her, ” That’s okay to feel sad because you’ll miss your teacher, but you can still see her next year around the school,” she would be really sad. I was pondering how to approach this situation, when the book showed up! It truly couldn’t have came at a better time. When the kids were able to console themselves and was gratified when they were able to pinpoint their exact feelings, they were able to calm down. They smiled after they shared their own happy -sad feelings. It brought them comfort to finally be able to depict to those they loved, how they truly felt. My kids must’ve felt so frustrated that they didn’t understand why they thought they only felt sadness, even though they were somewhat happy too; they never heard of such feelings like happy-sad.

They were so happy they finally realized their true feelings; and what they felt so confused about initially, finally became clear to them. Even I felt a weight lift off of me, when I finally understood what they were trying to tell me; I felt a sense of relief.

This book is a must have for every classroom. As you prep books for the next year over the summer, teachers may find this extremely helpful in helping kids learn there are more feelings than just the one feeling we often ask kids to share.

Teachers can learn to understand that when children are “acting out ” or behaving out of the norm, that there may be something they wish to share with the adults, that they need assistance to draw out .

I would recommend this book to every family with children, any age; even adults. This is the first book of its kind that I personally read and I now realize the importance of these type of mixed up feelings and how many feelings book out there would greatly improve with these additional, somewhat more complicated feelings.

I fully appreciate that the author gives children hope though the illustrations in the story.

The child who is scared and brave when she walks into a class for the first time shows a diverse group of children doing different activities at different centers, with several children looking into the new kid, invitingly with a warm smile.

The scene where a friend is moving away, depict what they can do if they have a friend moving; they give each other a hug.

The scene where the child is sick in bed and missing the story, shows the gift for the friend waiting there for the main character to gift when she is feeling better; and how it’s good to rest when you are sick.

Several pages even share what you can do to express your feelings, such as acting out how you feel during pretend play with dolls, painting your feelings or even dancing them out!

The facial expressions in the characters were gentle, easy to read and understand.

The illustrations in this story were superb!

There were many realistic scenes with great details in the environment and faces of the characters; with many opportunities for conversation starters during circle time or morning meeting.

I can go on and on about every page of this book and how remarkable and relevant every page is when it comes to engaging children and helping them to share their feelings.

The authors notes at the end of the story additional insights on how to extend the use of the book for adults to further explore mixed up feelings with their children. They are all excellent and fun activities that I would do, if I were still in the classroom; I would say it is comparable to having free lesson plans that go with the book.

Lory Britain also wrote a helpful post here, on how to support children and their socio-emotional developments.


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