I LOVE children's books that support mental and emotional health. I feel it's a topic that was completely overlooked when I was gr...

'Stressy Jessy' Book Review

 


I LOVE children's books that support mental and emotional health. I feel it's a topic that was completely overlooked when I was growing up and I personally don't have a great handle on stress and anxiety or fully understand what really makes me, me. So when I find books like "Stressy Jessy" by Carmel Shami and Rani Bar-Segev, I get really excited! 

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A post for "Stressy Jessy" popped up in my Facebook feed one day and I immediately said, that's a book I need to read and share! As a mom, my brain is constantly filled to the brim and bubbling over with tasks, ideas, worries...you name it! And I am definitely not the best at focusing on the most important things and setting the rest aside. There have also been times Lil C couldn't get to sleep at night because she couldn't stop her brain from thinking. I figured if Lil C and I had trouble quieting our brains, I knew there had to be lots more people out there with the same struggles! So I reached out to author Carmel Shami and she was generous enough to send me a copy of her book to share with you all!

After reading the book, I am certain that "Stressy Jessy" is an amazing resource to add to your bookshelf. Jessy's story is simple, straight-forward, and relatable. He has typical kid stresses - an argument with a friend, a teacher who yells, difficult homework - and when all those thoughts won't stop swimming through his head, he turns to his mom to help him quiet them. Mom's strategy is simple, yet effective: organize your thoughts like you organize the things in your room. Make a list of thoughts and sort them into categories like fears, tasks, problems, dreams, and ideas. Then, you can figure out what to do about them.

One of the things I've learned in trying to cope with my feelings of anxiety and overwhelm is that simply writing down or sharing things can make a BIG difference. It sort of makes it tangible and easier to deal with. Now that it's written down you don't have to stress as much that you'll forget about it. And sometimes, the thought just wanted to be heard and you can say, I heard you, thank you but this is not something that needs my energy. Carmel also suggests writing down happy thoughts and things you are grateful for - this can help you realize that even when bad things seem to be piling up, there's always good in your life as well. 

One thing I wasn't expecting was for "Stressy Jessy" to touch my heart! Carmel uses the Hebrew word balagan which means mess. My mom, who passed away several years ago, used to use that word all the time when she was telling me to clean up my messes! I had completely forgotten about it! Reading that word brought her right back to me. Apparently balagan is not only used in Hebrew, but in various eastern European countries as well. My mom's family was from Ukraine so that makes sense! She used to also tell me I had a золота верба (zolota verba) growing behind me because I would randomly leave things all over - I knew золота meant golden but I never actually knew what a верба was! According to Google, it's a willow. But now, with the help of Stressy Jessy's strategies, I have more confidence that I can tackle my mental and physical balagan and prune that golden willow! 

I hope this book finds its way to all those, young and old alike, who need a little help settling their thoughts. And don't forget to check out these other awesome books that support mental and emotional health:

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