Review: When Sadness Comes To Call by Eva Eland
Sadness may arrive unexpectedly. It may follow you around and it may not want to leave. This touching picture book shows Sadness as a physical being who turns up out of the blue. It also looks at a mindful approach to emotions. When you let sadness in, you may discover that this guest is less unwelcome than you first thought.
There is a growing awareness of emotional literacy, and it is lovely to see books which offer readers a language to describe their feelings and the tool-kit to respond to them.
This book has a strong narratorial voice. Rather than being a story, it is a list of suggestions for ways to cope with feeling sad. Drawing, sitting quietly with your feelings, time outdoors or drinking hot chocolate. The main suggestion is that instead of trying to change your feelings you should change your response to them.
What I love about this book is it begins and ends with the endpapers. If you have ever seen Inside Out, where one girl’s emotions are shown as little people inside her head, you will recall that during the end credits the principal is applied to other people. Even to animals. This is a similar concept. Although the story is about one boy’s adventure with sadness, the endpapers show that everyone meets sadness. An elderly woman sits alone in a chair. A small child creeps around. A middle-aged woman slouches on the soda. A small boy looks ready to shout. We all experience sadness and we all experience it differently. In the opening papers, sadness is ignored. By the end, the same people have learned to acknowledge their feelings and to deal with them. Prayer, exercise, play and company. Everyone finds a different way to deal with their sadness.
I also love the art style – the minimal line drawings mean that we focus on the colour – at first, sadness takes all our attention but by the end the boy and his world are brought back into colour and we notice them too.
I am all in support of books which talk about emotions and I think this one is not only relatable, it is one which will promote important discussions.
Thanks to Andersen Press for my copy of When Sadness Comes To Call. Opinions my own.