You have my heart by Corinne Fenton

cover image

Ill. by Robin Cowcher. Five Mile Press, 2016. ISBN 9781760401917
(Age: 3+) Family. Love. Mental health. Mothers' Day. Based around Parrot's classification of the six emotions, joy, sadness, fear, anger, surprise and love, this charming book will give a range of language to young children to describe their feelings. The words used by Fenton have immediate appeal as they describe in short phrases exactly what it feels like to be joyous or angry, fearful, sad, surprised and loved. The tripping lines of words will be a treat to read a loud to a child or class, and will encourage children to read it for themselves. Each child listening will be able to talk about those days when they are happy or sad, but knowing that in the end they are loved, there is someone there to make them overcome those days that might not be the best, there is someone there who has their heart. This is a book to read and reread, encouraging young children to see that there are days where things might not be as good as they hoped they would be, that everyone has 'tears-tumbling down days' and 'the world doesn't like me days', days when they need a hug and be reminded that there is always someone there that will make them stronger and has their heart. For discussing mental health issues with a younger class this would be an admirable introduction to talking about good days and bad days, encouraging children to see that they are not alone.
Originally conceived as a Mother's Day message, the book has much wider appeal, showing children that they are not alone in times of need. The illustrations with limited colour compliment the words beautifully, using line drawings, greys and red to show the six different emotions felt by the girl, and using a red balloon to reflect the way the child is feeling.
Fran Knight