In our home, we want to teach our kids how to communicate their feelings. We want them to feel like they can come to us and talk to us. We use phrases like, “How does that make you feel?”, “Can you use your words to talk to me?”, and “Do you think that is kind?”.
As Christians, we also reference Scripture verses to teach and comfort our kids, like Philippians 4:8 – “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.“. We also talk a lot about 2 Timothy 1:7 – “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” We use the first verse to determine if they are being kind or if what they are contemplating is honorable or right. When our kids are feeling fearful, we share how God hasn’t given us a spirit of fear, but of love.
That being said, I was super intrigued by the book, Traveling The Twisting Troubling Tanglelows’ Trail by Greg McGoon. In Traveling The Twisting Troubling Tanglelows’ Trail, Greg introduces the idea that sometimes emotions/thoughts can seem too big or too overwhelming. Greg calls those big feelings, “Tanglelows”. As you dive into the book, you see that those big feelings can produce negative echoes in our minds that can tear us down. This book explains how people can mange and untangle those Tanglelows. It isn’t often that you see a book that breaks down and explains feelings like this. Tanglelows is written to the reader; so you feel like the book is speaking directly to you. I’ve seen in other books, how kids respond to books that talk directly to the reader. There is not third person or narrator, it’s just the child (or adult!) and the book. I like the premise that Tanglelows tells readers that they can unravel their own big feelings. Those feelings don’t have to consume them. It’s hard for little ones who are sorting out feelings to learn how to manage them. I can see Tanglelows being a positive resource for navigation through big feelings.
The illustrations perfectly accompany the story. Using watercolor art, the illustrates the Tanglelows and big feelings. When the Tanglelows are big and tangled, the illustrations show what a mess negative emotions can be and how to untangle them. The colors shift in the illustrations from dark to light according to what the Tanglelows are feeling (remember Inside Out? Similar concept).
If you have a child who has a difficult time navigating through feelings and emotions and learning how to appropriately manage and respond, consider Traveling The Twisting Troubling Tanglelows’ Trail.
You can find Greg on his website.
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