Sharing artsy and creative books for children that can be utilized for experiential and art therapy directives!
I am very excited to share these resources with you! I love children's books because they provide a wealth of information in a few words and pages. I feel that writing children's books is an art! I am a big fan of the author, Anna Llenas, an illustrator, and art therapist in Spain.
I love her work because it is artsy, child-like, fun, and incorporates mixed media elements of paint, crayon, and collage. Anna Llenas's books are written to engage not only visually but also impart wisdom and touch on mental health-related topics such as emotional regulation and coping skills. The author offers fantastic free downloads via her official site for some of her books, incorporating the expressive arts! I will share a little more about this in a bit.
Anna Llenas's work has inspired my clinical practice for sure. For this blog post, I will discuss two of her books that are available in English. All other books are available only in Spanish at this time.
For more information, click the link at the top of this page for the Spanish post! The two books available in English are called, "The Color Monster," and "Little Mole's is a Whirlwind." I have owned "The Color Monster" pop-up book for several years now, and it's falling apart from how much I've used it! It is definitely a valuable resource for me.
The Color Monster discusses feeling states of happiness, sadness, anger, fear, calm, and love by assigning each a color. The story follows the monster who starts off the story with his feelings jumbled up, expressed in a series of colorful scribbles. The book then explains what feeling state is associated with each color and provides a child-friendly definition of thoughts and actions characterizing each feeling. The books focus on sorting each feeling to better understand.
This book has received lots of attention over the years since it's release, and the author has shared 4 free downloads on her official website that are companion art activities to the storybook. These resources further reinforce processing emotion identification. Although these resources are in Spanish, they can still be utilized by English speaking therapists. I will give you a brief summary of her resources here:
Resource 1: Printable coloring page of small bottles to help the child identify feelings and separate them into different containers, as is illustrated in the book. The resource also provides a creative idea of using your own clear boxes, colorful yarn, and labels to help with emotion identification and sorting.
Resource 2: Emotion identification activity using the color monster coloring pages illustrating him in different scenarios. The child is to identify the monsters feeling state and color the monster accordingly.
Resource 3: Coloring pages of the color monster with neutral expressions. The child is to color the monster as they please without any influence from the therapist.
Resource 4: Emotion identification making masks!
The Color Monster has an official activity book that was released in English as well. It's a coloring book that can be used in therapy. It contains various coloring pages of the color monster and prompts the child to identify what the monster is feeling and use color to represent the emotion.
There is an awesome board game available now too! I have the board game in the office. I have to say it's one of the most engaging resources I have found for therapy yet. This board game is fun and colorful, and it also doubles as an emotion identification and matching game.
I highly recommend it! My clients have really enjoyed playing this in session. I have even played with teenagers. The game is eye-catching for sure, and many of my clients ask to play when they catch sight of it.
The second book available in English is, "Little Mole's a whirlwind." In this book, the character struggles in school due to hyperactivity, impulsiveness, inattention, and clumsiness. The book discusses the labels others have placed on the character due to his behaviors. The character struggles with school and his relationships with others.
The remaining three books by Anna Llenas are in Spanish. I will cover them here in case any therapist is looking for resources for Spanish speaking clients! The book titles are "Laberinto del Alma"; "Vacío"; and "Diario de las Emociones." The book entitled, "Laberinto de la Alma," is a dictionary of feelings and series of mixed media art illustrations representing each feeling discussed in the book. In my opinion, this book is geared more toward adolescents. The inside cover of the book depicts a game board listing all the feelings defined in the book. It can definitely be used as a board game with a little imagination and a set of dices and pawns!
The book, "Vacío" touches on the themes of loss and sadness. The books follow a girl who feels a void which the author represents with a physical void in character. The book focuses on teaching the importance of inner happiness, connection, and healthy coping skills.
This author provides 4 free resources for this book as well on her official website. The last book I want to cover is "El Diario de las Emociones." This book is a diary full of creative prompts to stimulate processing and expression of feelings via the visual arts. This is the perfect resource for teens! I often photocopy pages to use in my session to discuss specific feelings.
So there you have it, tons of colorful, artsy books for your next session. Feel free to drop a comment below!
For more information on the two books available in English and all free resources, please see the links below! If you are interested in the Spanish versions of these books and resources, please see the Spanish blog post linked at the top of the page!
The following link will take you to the author's official website to download her free resources.
*The Color Monster | Free Resources: (Anna Llenas website)
* The Void (Vacio) | Free Resources: (Anna Llenas website)
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be utilized as a form of self-help, personal clinical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The content on this blog is meant for educational purposes and to provide clinical art therapy directives/resources for trained mental health professionals. This information is by no means a substitute for therapy.
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