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Emotional Well-Being Library - Throughout my parenting and teaching journey, I have used storybooks as a tool to teach and guide children. However, over the years, I’ve come to realise just how powerful they are and how much they can enhance children’s development and most importantly, support their emotional well-being.

2 Main Reasons Why Storybooks Are The Best Well-Being Resource We Have In Early Years: 

They can instil values  

As a parent and teacher, I have always placed importance on nurturing emotional well-being and tried to instil important values and life lessons that will give my children, and others, an internal blueprint that is programmed for success and happiness. I’m a big believer in leading by example and have always demonstrated the behaviour and attitude that I want to see in them, but no matter how much I do this, I find that sometimes, children still need extra reinforcement with these concepts. Seeing how much my own children doted on characters in everyday storybooks and how much they held them in high regard, gave me the idea to create a range of storybooks about characters who personify and teach a key life lesson or value. I had witnessed how much my children absorbed the storyline in their favourite books and how they would bring the imaginary characters and narrative into their own reality whilst playing - and this made me wonder if the same would happen with fun characters who taught important concepts and values. I started creating storybooks teaching the main values I wanted to instil in my children like: 

  • We all shine in our way and have our own strengths 
  • Accepting differences in others 
  • Changing our actions as well as apologising 
  • It’s good to talk about our feelings 
  • To be grateful for what we have 
  • Things don’t need to be perfect to be brilliant 
  • Mistakes are a part of learning something new 
  • To not give up when things get tough 
  • To be brave and try new things  
  • It’s okay to ask for help 
  • That our actions have consequences (good and bad) 
  • That kindness, manners, politeness, patience and positivity are superpowers 

Sure enough, they responded to these books and characters in the same way and subconsciously used them as a moral compass and guide in day-to-day life and play. I had reports of one little girl eating all her lunch sensibly (which she never did) and when asked what had changed, she replied with: "Well I can’t keep saying sorry and doing the same thing Mummy, because Sidney (from the book 'Sorry Sidney') did that, and it upset his friends". It was at this moment that I realised just how influential fictional characters can be and have, from then on, used my own books and many others at home and in every early years setting that I have taught in.  

They can reduce anxiety and improve emotional well-being

Quite often, characters in storybooks become genuine friends to children. You can see how true this is when you use soft toys of their favourite storybook characters in storytime sessions. They respond to them like they are someone they know and interact with them as if they were real. If you pretend that these toys are whispering in your ear, without fail, the children hang on every ‘word’ they are saying to you and tend to respond cooperatively to anything these characters ask of them. It’s for this reason that storybooks are so good at preparing children for unfamiliar situations or guiding them through tough times because they look up to these characters and trust them regardless of whether they are real or not.  

As an adult, if you are going through a difficult time, or you are about to step into unfamiliar territory, it always feels more manageable if you know someone who has been in the same situation. This is because their experience not only paves the way for you and gives you an insight into what to expect, but it also acts as a light at the end of the tunnel because these friends are walking proof that everything can turn out okay. Storybook characters can be like these friends to children and can help reassure and prepare them in times of uncertainty and/or difficulty. When my daughter was leaving nursery and starting school, I created storybooks with characters who were going through the same experience. These characters felt the same feelings she was experiencing (therefore validating her feelings), and they went through the motions of each experience therefore showing her what to expect. This resulted in my little girl having less anxiety about the process because it had become more familiar to her and knowing the character had come out the other side happy and unscathed made her feel more reassured that things would be the same for her improving her emotional well-being.  

Childcare and school transition can be very unsettling for children and these storybooks have helped a lot. However, there are lots of other storybooks out there written to help children through all sorts of different situations that can be difficult for them to cope with like: 

  • Parents divorcing 
  • Having a new sibling 
  • Loss of a family member 
  • Moving house 
  • Loss of a pet 

Storybooks are one of the most powerful tools we have and I urge every parent, childcare setting and school to have an ‘emotional well-being library’ full of books to teach important life lessons and values and to support children through difficult and uncertain times. Life will always present challenges, but in the words of Al Pacino: "You'll never be alone if you've got a book".

Did you find this blog on emotional well-being library useful? Take a look at some of our other well-being blogs here:

About the author:

Stacey Kelly, the creative mind behind Early Years Story Box, wears the dual hats of writer and illustrator. Her storybooks are carefully crafted to teach various life lessons whilst guiding children towards their subsequent developmental stages. Stacey's overarching goal is to extend her reach and offer support to a multitude of children through the engaging medium of storytelling.

About the author:

Stacey Kelly, the creative mind behind Early Years Story Box, wears the dual hats of writer and illustrator. Her storybooks are carefully crafted to teach various life lessons whilst guiding children towards their subsequent developmental stages. Stacey's overarching goal is to extend her reach and offer support to a multitude of children through the engaging medium of storytelling.

About the author:

Stacey Kelly, the creative mind behind Early Years Story Box, wears the dual hats of writer and illustrator. Her storybooks are carefully crafted to teach various life lessons whilst guiding children towards their subsequent developmental stages. Stacey's overarching goal is to extend her reach and offer support to a multitude of children through the engaging medium of storytelling.

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