Feelings Come and Go
Updated: Jan 28
Emotions can be as varied as the weather—sometimes we’re sunny and bright and other times storm clouds gather and we feel out of sorts. This month Clover has selected books about characters with big feelings. They wisely remind us that “Feelings Come and Go,” to sit with them, accept the ups and down knowing if a dismal day appears on the horizon, this too will pass. Page On!
The Community Literacy Foundation, in partnership with Neighborhood Reads and with support from its sponsors, provides these books to 40 school and public libraries in Washington, Union, Pacific, St. Clair and surrounding communities. Learn more at CommunityLiteracyFoundation.org.
Meet “The Great Zapfino” the star of an inspiring, near-wordless story by the magical masters of text and illustration, Mac Barnett and Marla Frazee.
The book opens with a proud ringleader in a circus tent introducing a cape-clad performer to an excited audience eager for The Great Zapfino to wow them with dazzling feats.
But is the daredevil up to it? He looks too weak-kneed to make a “Leap for Life.” No matter, the little fella climbs the ladder, ascending to the top of the tent where a platform awaits—he mounts it and freezes—his fear almost palpable.
The crowd waits spellbound, but the act is in limbo, The Great Zapfino wearing fear on his face, a series of tell-all sketches showing his terror.
The ringmaster calls up to him, his bark rousing the performer from his paralysis. Faster than a thumb snap, The Great Zapfino bolts out of the tent, away from the circus and onto a plane that takes him to a retro apartment house on a sandy beach. There he rents a room and establishes a new life as an elevator bellboy, a calling that finally forces him to face his fear. “The Great Zapfino” is a light-hearted read with deep meaning deserving of rousing applause and a congratulatory toast.
It can hurt to feel another’s pain and see sad things occur—so it goes for the little girl in “The Rhino Suit,” a touching book by Colter Jackson. Uncluttered illustrations by the author compliment the story.
The sensitive brunette “…had a big wide-open heart. But it was also very tender.” The child felt things strongly, from the physical ouch of having her mom detangle her hair, to the emotional angst of seeing refuse cast about.
When her dad slipped-up with his hammer, the pain made her wince like she’d been the one to misguide the tool. If she saw a homeless dog, she felt the animal’s sadness. The girl suffered until she happened upon a clever solution.
At school she’s learned about rhinos and their resilient body armor. What if she made a suit like their tough skin? She set off to do so, using household objects to accomplish her deed. In no time, the girl had fashioned a rhino suit that a real rhino would have been proud to sport.
When the girl puts the suit on, she gains a valuable lesson. “The Rhino Suit” might be written for kids but it’s helpful for anyone whose empathy too often shifts into overdrive.
Author Lauren Wolk gained young fans with her historical fiction, prize-winner “Wolf Hollow,” (2016). The novel featured a main character of solid moral fiber, good-hearted, loyal Annabelle McBride. How gratifying to revisit Annabelle’s life several months later in “My Own Lightning,” a sequel to “Wolf Hollow” set in Western Pennsylvania in 1944.
Annabelle’s family is back—her two younger brothers and parents—as well as Andy Woodberry, the boy who tormented her in “Wolf Hollow.” We discover more about why Andy acted as he did, and are introduced to new characters, including Mr. Graf, a questionable adult.
Graf meets Annabelle when she’s helping her teacher close up her classroom for the summer. The gentlemanly looking man has lost his dog Zeus and inquires if Annabelle has seen him. So begins a mystery about dogs gone missing and the quagmire Annabelle endures after she’s struck by lightning, the event rendering her able to understand the way animals feel, a gift the doctor warns may quickly leave.
This book brings to light the struggles of growing up and the maturity that develops when we judge people, and animals, not only on how they look and act but on who they are based on their life experiences. There’s wisdom and adventure in “My Own Lighting,” an illuminating must-read.
Written by Chris Stuckenschneider. Copyright 2022, Community Literacy Foundation. Reprinted with permission.