This picture book is a gentle journey with a little girl through different emotional states, honouring them all & highlighting how they come & go, just as day follows night. It is a poem on the heart, providing a multitude of metaphors to help explore our inner worlds. We navigate a path through light & shade, experiencing how it can feel when our hearts are open or closed, broken, or mending & growing. Here is an invitation to listen inward with kindness & to look outwards, with optimism & a sense of belonging.
We learn that some days, the little girl’s heart is a fence between her & the world & she looks so small & alone. This image reminds me of many of the children that I have worked with in therapy, where the impact of trauma has confused their inner voice & shaken their belief in themselves & the caring adults around them. These are the children who, because they are hurting so much, have lost their capacity to experience comfort, curiosity & joy, as they are in defensive states so much of the time. They are terrified of listening to their minds or hearts, or of being open to the influence of relationships, as this would make them vulnerable to the pain of hurt & rejection again.
When a child has developmental trauma, we must work hard to find ways to connect with them intersubjectively & to create a new sense of safety for them. This necessitates first meeting them exactly where they are, with acceptance & empathy. Honouring the rhythm & pace of the child. If we can stay open & engaged & be curious for our child, there is a chance that one day they will be able to join us & re-learn themselves with love.
My Heart emphasises how the heart belongs to its owner. This is a reassuring message for a child deciding whether to risk vulnerability & connection, & a reminder to us to respect their boundaries & emotional choices, as we walk alongside them. It also depicts sparkling moments of comfort, as a golden yellow glow spreads through the gray illustrations, speaking of resiliency & healing & shared hope.