If you are new to the work of Shinsuke Yoshitake then you are in for a treat. Yoshitake produces books that help children understand and deal with complex topics and emotions. It is worth seeking out his other titles which include ‘Can I Build Another Me?’, ‘The Boring Book’ and ‘It Might Be An Apple.’ Why Do I Feel Like This? is an exploration of anger and feeling sad. The book was originally published in Japanese and has been translated into English by Thames & Hudson.
It follows a child’s thoughts as she walks home from school in a rather bad mood. The girl has a wide range of interesting and valuable thoughts about anger and being sad. From the people that she doesn’t like to those who say mean things and what she would like to happen to them. She explores how to make bad, mad and sad thoughts go away thinking about what she does and what she thinks about. The girl also perceptively thinks about how anger in itself makes us feel sad and how difficult it can be when one sad thought leads to another and then our mind is full of sad thoughts.
What the girl realises at the end is that it is okay to have unhappy thoughts and she offers the reader some wise words of wisdom, “Even when we grow up, there will still be things that make us sad and people we don’t like. But that’s okay. We can dwell on bad feelings, run away from them, or decide to face them. It’s up to us to choose what to do.”
I like this book a lot as it challenges readers to think. What is the best way to deal with the bad thoughts? Is it possible to make the bad thoughts go away? It helps young children understand their feelings and how to feel better and deal with bad days. This is like a self-help book for children full of ideas and strategies for dealing with the emotions of anger and sadness.
The quirky illustrations and creative ideas are presented in a simple yet engaging way. Yoshitake’s use of a simple colour palette (shades of pink, purple, yellow and brown) really helps to convey the anger and sadness that the girl is feeling. The one double page spread that is illustrated in a wider range of colours is a perfect fit for the fleeting moment of happiness that the girl experiences.
This quirky and clever picture book will help any little demon out of their bad mood or at the very least give them some ways to manage their emotions.
Recommended for 5+.