It’s hard to have big feelings, especially when you are little. A young girl has a special place where she can cope with her emotions.
Understanding uncomfortable emotions through imaginative play is empowering in this vibrant and uplifting story.  

“I feel like my tummy is an exploding volcano!” says Addie when she can’t play with her older sisters in their shared room. Addie is a little girl with big feelings and she can’t quite understand or control them. When her mom gives her a safe space to work through her emotions, Addie learns to process her feelings. Authors Cheryl Palladino and Rachael Ostrowski bring a timely picture book that emphasizes social emotional learning and also provides tools to help parents and educators in their new picture book, Addie’s Me-Cave.  

When Addie is frustrated and angry, she could feel her face warming up and bees buzzing in her heart. Her mom says, “It sounds like you have a lot of feelings right now...they might feel too big for your body...Would you like to have a special place just for you?” Addie’s mom shows her a special hangout under the stairs, a tiny space made up to look magical and charming, perfect for a young girl needing some alone time: Addie’s “me-cave.”

Addie brings a few of her favorite things to her me-cave to give her comfort, including Puffy, her trusty penguin who was always the one to help her feel better when feelings got too big. As Addie rests in her new special place, to calm herself and have her big feelings subside, she and Puffy are suddenly not in her me-cave, but sailing through a shimmery ocean near an island filled with coconuts and silly monkeys. The big monkeys are playing catch and the little monkeys, being left out, steal the coconuts and throw them into the ocean. They are mad and sad.
“Addie understood how that felt. ‘I feel that way when my sisters don’t play with me. But taking their coconuts won’t solve your problem.’ The monkeys looked surprised. ‘Have you tried to talk to them about your feelings?’ she asked.”

When Addie helps all of the monkeys figure out a way to confront their emotions and play together, she is proud and feels as if a rainbow has spread across her heart. Addie has learned a valuable lesson about sharing her feelings and having some alone time to help her sort out the big emotions in her body.

Young families, teachers, and librarians will enjoy reading this uplifting and enlightening picture book that supports a child’s social emotional development. At the end of the book, authors Palladino and Ostrowski have included a useful chart to aid families with tools that support emotion regulation, things like a feelings chart, motor sensory support ideas, and a list of items to encourage breathing and calm the body, highlight audio-sensory input, and encourage the use of tactile aids like fidget toys.

Authors Cheryl Palladino, a twenty-year teaching veteran, and Rachael Ostrowski, a professional family therapist, know how difficult it is for children to manage big feelings and that explaining and defining emotions can be a challenge for families and educators. Addie’s Me-Cave is a wonderful story that will resonate with children and help them triumph over their big feelings through empowering them with understanding and problem resolution and helping them with healthy emotional development.