This lovely new children’s book by Neal is not only a charming bedtime read, but a slender manual for children which will help them to understand the meaning of feelings. Bold and beautifully illustrated, this is a book that educates on the simple, yet necessary art of empathy. Every page is dedicated to an emotion, evoked by a small boy and delivered in a sparing but delightfully retro blue, black, peach and white palette of colours. There are a cast of cute characters from buzzing bees, drifting balloons and cheery singing flowers to bears giving hugs, sleepy fluffy clouds and flying stars that accompany the boy through his journey. Throughout the book the human spectrum of emotions are explored; happiness, sadness, frustration and anger, in a way that even the youngest reader can easily relate to.

The most important message this book conveys is that it’s okay to feel all of our feelings and, most importantly; that every person in the world feels them, at one time or another. Everyone, as the book is titled, reminds us that when we get angry, when we cry and laugh and sing when we’re happy we have to remember that ‘everyone’ else does too. This is a book that expresses self-acceptance and support and the importance of communicating our emotions, not shutting them away; that others will understand just as long as we aren’t frightened to show them.  No matter what feeling we feel, it’s okay to feel it. The one thing we should never feel is that we are alone.

Reassuring and gentle and expressively illustrated, this book is the literary equivalent of a comforting hug or a loved one putting a hand on our shoulder and telling us ‘everything is going to be okay.’

The message may be simple and the words brief but for little ones this is an invaluable starting point from which they can begin to explore that complex, and often too easily dismissed, world of emotions. Not only to understand their own, but other’s too.

Images courtesy of Walker Books, who have published Everyone by Christopher Silas Neal.

Everyone was published on 1st June 2017 by Walker Books.