With a lot of focus on children’s mental wellbeing following the events of the last two years, this lively start to a new series dealing with feelings could prove a very useful addition to classroom and library shelves. Told through the pages of her new journal, Bella’s entries allow the reader to really understand her feelings in a fun and friendly way. The journal is a present from Bella’s best friend, Rosh, who has moved away. The girls were really close and did everything together and, as Bella recognises, it is going to be difficult to join in with others at school, when friendship groups are already set. Video calls to Rosh prove problematic and Bella feels that her friend is already drifting away from her.
On top of this, she has a Big Worry, with it being her turn to do the class talk which she is dreading. Her teacher announces that they will be holding a Feeling Good Week where the children will be taking part in a variety of activities to enable them to explore and express their emotions. Working with Shazmin and Archie, Bella discovers two very supportive friends who decide to set up their own Feeling Good Club, practising some of the mindfulness activities they are introduced to. Together they help Bella overcome her nerves to give a successful and original presentation and she learns to understand Rosh’s feelings too.
Although Bella and her friends are in Year 5, the book is very accessible for younger readers and would be a good way to introduce the subject. Kelly McKain has her characters talking openly about their emotions using situations which will be familiar and in terms that are easily understood. Including instructions for some of the mindfulness activities, this is a positive, warm and humorous guide to learning resilience and dealing with anxieties and friendship issues.
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