My tenacious, determined son had just got home from a grueling day with his tenacious, determined Gramma. They lock horns regularly, but it had been such a rotten day, I had received a tearful phone call at work: "Take me home! I want to go home! Come and get me!"
I wrapped up work as quickly as I could and hurried to the rescue.
When we arrived at home, the first thing he did was head for the bookshelves. He pulled seven large, hard-cover picture books into his arms, said, "I've had an emotional day," and brought them to me. This was our entire set of Emotional Literacy books
, from Enchante Publishing. He had me read the entire set to him that evening.
We had read them all once (but not all at once!) when we first got them, and then added them to our library, from which one or the other was occasionally chosen as a bedtime story.
I liked the idea of having these books around, and hoped they might serve as one tool to help my son explore his developing emotional world. To me, a person's emotional world is a private place, with a profoundly different language and meaning for every individual. As my son grows, his emotional world becomes more intricate, more mature, more personal. This set of books could be a total hit, or a total miss.
It turns out that, for my son, it's a total and highly esteemed hit.
He doesn't talk about how much he likes them. That sort of effusive conversation is reserved for rock music, console games and movies. In the case of this book set, it is his actions that speak: In one unusually detailed drawing of Mrs. Murgatroyd, the central, magical character in all the stories (all his other characters so far have been stick figures), and in evenings like the one above, after an emotionally trying day.
Fast forward to a recent early, early morning, when he woke up from a nightmare. In it, he had felt terribly frightened. He wondered, as we talked about it, if the universe was telling him to face his fears. Then, he picked out one of our special books, "Nightmares in the Mist
," and asked me to read it to him.