By Melinda Szymanik, Illustrated by Vasanti Unka, 2021
This is a new release picture book for primary school aged children about “big heavy feelings”. Our hero wakes one day to find a blue elephant sitting on them. It’s uncomfortable, painful and hard to do stuff with an elephant sitting on you! The family is understandably concerned and set about finding ways to get rid of the elephant. My favourite moment comes when Mum visits the library and takes out all the books about elephants she can find, imagery I can well relate to. In time, our hero and their family work out that they can still do fun things, like a family picnic, and take the elephant along with them.
It is a lovely, gentle story full of the benefits of living a rich and meaningful life alongside our painful emotions. This approach is significantly different from what society tells us to do with painful emotions and both children and adults will benefit from reading and considering this alternative. So snuggle up on the couch with your littlies, start reading and get ready for an interesting discussion:
What colour is your elephant?
Are there things we do to try and get rid of your elephant?
How well do those things work?
What things could we do with your elephant?
How might those things change your elephant?