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When Emotions Get Away from Us

Way Past Jealous written by Hallee Adelman and illustrated by Karen Wall, published by Albert Whitman & Co.

Another addition to the "Way Past" series, Adelman sensitively depicts a child who is jealous of a classmate. The children have drawn pictures and everyone admires Debby's dog drawing more than anyone else's. The main character doesn't understand why no one is praising her picture, one of her and Debby holding hands.

I appreciate how the main character immediately recognizes her feeling as jealousy ("I felt jealous.") and the progression of its intensity ("Now I was really jealous.") and what, unfortunately, it makes her do. She ultimately regrets her actions ("I'm sorry. I was jealous of you.") and must find a way to make amends. These short lines of dialogue offer children a valuable script to be able to recognize and share their own emotions.

Also, one of my favorite lines is when the main character is feeling down while looking at her drawing and says, "It was my best one ever!" This tugged at my heart. It's a good lesson for us all to recognize everyone's efforts and progress and not only what may be perceived as "the best."

Wall's seemingly simple but powerful illustrations invite children into this universal classroom setting with a diverse cast of characters. Her depiction of a variety of emotions is perfect.

Imagine It!

Imagine you've worked really hard to learn a skill -- doing a cartwheel, riding your bike, gaining the courage to ride the school bus -- anything!

Imagine how great that feels! Would you be smiling, high-fiving, laughing with a friend, what else?

The best part is that you don't have to imagine if someone else's cartwheel might be straighter, or if they might ride their bike faster, or if they've already been riding the bus all year. The way other people react or what they say or even if they notice at all does not change what YOU have accomplished.

Now, imagine yourself doing your best at anything you wish. And, imagine celebrating with someone else who is doing their best, too. Write or draw what this might feel or look like.

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