Lately I have been paying close attention to children expressing themselves through singing, painting, dancing, and playing. Then, often, something happens and they become more self-conscious and try to fit in with the expectations of others. Why is that and what can we do to help them continue to follow their passions? Today I am sharing a picture book that encourages creativity and self-expression.
EMET’S BOX: A Colorful Story About Following Your Heart
By Jeni Chin (author and illustrator)
The Little Press: 2022
Picture book for ages 4-7 but is meaningful for people of all ages
Themes: creativity, following your dreams
The story begins…
Emet loved to paint.
Emet is one of those children who is passionate about painting which he uses to express his joyful self. Unfortunately, not everyone encourages his love of color, and he is encouraged to focus on more “important” things. As he turns his attention away from his art, his colorful world turns gray.
Emet learns to live with the gray, but his spark is gone. Then while flying a kite, he remembers what made him feel alive. He realizes that doing what he loves is also an important thing and color again fills his world.
The illustrations perfectly mirror Emet’s feelings, emotions, and reactions as he tries to fulfill the expectations of others. From exuberant bright hues to dreary grays and then back again, the reader can empathize completely with Emet.
This is a great picture book to encourage children to follow their dreams. It is also a cautionary tale for parents and teachers to not let expectations interfere with a child’s passions. It is a great book to encourage children to play with color!
To learn more about Jeni Chen, read this interview with Erin Dealy
Jeni Chen has a number of fun freebies and activities on her website.