Writing ‘Feelings’ and Expressing Emotions

As regular TTWers will know, my job involves writing children’s books as well as editing them. Every single one of my books, from a sticker activity to a touch-and-feel with sound, means the absolute world to me but this Friday’s post is introduces one title that is extra, super special.

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Feelings is a peek-through picture book that takes the reader on a journey through the emotions they might experience. It isn’t prescriptive or a handbook telling children how to deal with their feelings, it just describes how each emotion feels with the philosophy of “Looking from the outside, I may seem the same as you, but deep beneath the surface feelings bubble, stir and brew…

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My Publisher came to me with the idea of writing a feelings book with a fixed character appearing throughout. He had already scoped out an illustrator for the project, the amazingly talented Richard Jones, so it was just the small case (!) of coming up with the concept and writing the book ready to brief.

I have to say, I don’t have a fixed process for writing. Sometimes I start writing in a notepad, making word bubbles, or typing combinations of rhymes in Word but with Feelings it began more clinically than other projects – in an Excel spreadsheet! Perhaps it was the juxtaposition of an abstract subject matter with the order of a grid but, by gradually making lists of feelings and buzzwords, a book plan was formed and I began writing.

To write how something feels can be quite tricky so for most of the emotions, I let the list of buzzwords I’d associated with the main feelings lead me towards a senario. For example for ‘Alone’ the words lonely, isolated, uncertain and vulnerable drew me towards the image of a floating bubble. Once the image was decided upon, I could then write the verse to accompany it and so on.

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Feeling lonely…

I think that anyone who picks up this book will be blown away by the artwork from Richard Jones. He has done a stunning job bringing everything to life and I am very lucky to have worked with him on this project (and he’s such a lovely man too!) Feelings is Richard’s debut picture book so it became a very exciting project for both of us (and I can say “I knew him when…” when his illustration career takes off!) Richard has put his thoughts on the book here, sharing some early character sketches and developmental work.

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So much joy and happiness!

For Richard, Elle Ward (the designer on the project) and myself this was a collaboration – working together on every spread to create, what we hope will be, a book to treasure as well as start conversation. Children learn to read pictures before they read words and with Feelings we hope to stretch that further, helping children to read and discuss emotions too.

You can purchase a copy of Feelings here and join in the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #FeelingsBook. I’m excited to see what you think!!

 

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2 thoughts on “Writing ‘Feelings’ and Expressing Emotions

  1. ‘Feelings’ is a superb book. As a primary school teacher in another life I feel it is also a ‘must have’ aid in the classroom to help tackle the difficult issues some children have when it comes to expressing themselves. Well done Libby and Richard.

  2. Pingback: Book of the Month: February 2017 – Momoko Abe Illustration

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