The staff at Free Spirit is privileged to work with many amazing authors. We will be sharing more author spotlights with you, and hope you enjoy learning about these writers who are dedicated to helping kids succeed. The following interview was recently published in our newsletter, Upbeat News.
August’s author spotlight is on two debut authors, Goldie Millar and Lisa A. Berger, whose book F Is for Feelings releases this month. Both Goldie and Lisa are child psychologists hailing from the Toronto area with a mission to help young children better understand the vast emotional range of human experience so that they can learn to express and work through their many feelings.
Q: How did the two of you team up? Tell us a little bit about your journey and decision to write F Is for Feelings.
Goldie: I was fortunate to meet Lisa during our graduate studies in psychology. As time passed we came to learn that our interests, values, and life experiences complimented each other. When we both became mothers and more established in our careers as psychologists we were very aware of the need to get children talking about their feelings. I approached Lisa about writing a children’s book that would be a support in developing emotional health for all children. Lisa and I really enjoyed the chance to be creative.
Q: What was the best part of developing this book?
Goldie: The conversations! We know talking about feelings can be hard for many people. Lisa and I found the conversations we had with each other, our children, our families, and our colleagues and friends very helpful, rewarding, and challenging. It gave us a chance to connect with others and grow from their ideas and experiences, especially when they were different from our own.
Q: It seems like we’re increasingly seeing news stories about the importance of building empathy and resilience in kids. Why the sudden interest in social-emotional learning? How does F Is for Feelings help build these skills?
Lisa: I think we have been experiencing a slow building of interest and recognition of the importance of social-emotional learning that is just now reaching a peak. Children who are supported in developing healthy social-emotional skills are better able to express and manage their feelings, demonstrate empathy, develop a strong sense of themselves, and more easily connect with others. F Is for Feelings is an important tool to help introduce children to the world of words that express how we feel. This supports the development of a language for communicating about feelings. In using the book and the included guides and suggestions, F Is for Feelings can really move children along in their social-emotional development.
Q: What books inspired you the most as a child?
Goldie: I loved all books as a child and got excited by all the different places books could transport me! Books opened my eyes and mind to new places and new ways of seeing things. I was a fan of Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are, Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends, and Judith Viorst’s Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.
Q: What was your favorite thing about school as a kid?
Lisa: Talking about my favorite thing about school feels a little complicated. I struggled in school. I had two older brothers who were academically very strong and for whom school came very easy. This was not the case for me. Therefore, as a young person, I valued time in the gym engaging in sports. This was a place where I felt very competent and it kept me interested and engaged.
Q: What was your least favorite?
Goldie: In grade four, I had a teacher who was interested in dance of all kinds. He wanted to share this passion and taught the whole class a dance we would perform together. There were many steps and some partner work. I frequently put my left foot where my right foot needed to be! Twirled when I needed to jump and even knocked a classmate over by accident! I can laugh about it now, but it was embarrassing at the time.
Q: What makes you a “Free Spirit”?
Lisa: My love of the woods and trees in particular makes me a “Free Spirit.” I love being on my mountain bike riding through a forest, whether it is lush and green, overgrown, or tall and awe inspiring. I feel centered in myself and able to really breathe. I also see myself as an enabler of “Free Spirits.” I value and accept people for who they are and where they are on their journey in life.
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