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A passion project that stemmed from her personal goals and journey with motherhood and teaching, Kylie Mort shares how her recently published book, Little People Big Emotions was written as a gentle comfort and reassuring guide to children and parents in achieving their own goals to positive mental wellbeing. Thank you so much, Kylie!
Kylie, congratulations on the release of your valuable, beautifully comforting picture book, Little People Big Emotions!
Given your background in teaching and psychological science, your book comes from a highly relevant and personal place. What can you tell us about its significant meaning to you?
This book was developed through self-reflecting. Reflecting on my goals as a mother guiding two little people through a pandemic, my goals as an educator guiding other parents through home learning and my goals as a holistic coach guiding my young clients through an incredibly difficult part of their individual journeys. Additionally, I was reflecting on how the strategies I use to support my daughter with her Inattentive ADHD, were so relevant and meaningful for all little people. Developing my knowledge and expertise into an educational resource that can support an ever-growing number of little people and their networks fills me with pride.
Little People Big Emotions delicately approaches sensitive areas of overwhelm, anxiety, sadness and frustration in young people, written from the perspective of the child. Why did you choose this angle (as opposed to third person), and what kinds of messages are you hoping will reach its readers?
Every parent, parents from a perspective of experiential knowledge. We reflect on our own perspective of childhood and make choices based on the filters through which we look at the world. My own childhood was a difficult and painful time where I felt very isolated and unloved, and I want little people reading this book to know that they never have to feel that way. That there is always a magical big person who they can confide in who can help. I want them to know this, as I wish I had known this.
The book also incorporates valuable, positive strategies that children can adopt in times of difficulty. What are your top tips for parents and educators in helping children with ‘big’ emotions?
So much of my goal with this book was to create an educational resource and therefore I have even written a 9-page study guide to accompany it. The study guide is accessible as a free download through my website and contains a variety of interpretations, explanations and activities that can be used by parents and educators to reflect on the content and messages of the text.
Most importantly though, my biggest tip would be to listen, to truly hear what it is that the little person is telling you. Even clarify with a sentence that begins with, “I am hearing that…”. And if the little person is not telling you anything…? Who are they telling? Who is their support person?
What was the collaborative process like between you and your illustrator, Tiina Morton, in creating Little People Big Emotions? How do you feel Tiina’s illustrations support and enhance your words?
Tiina was wonderful and her illustrations are such a beautiful interpretation of my words. There was a lot of back and forth between Victoria and Western Australia over many months and I am so grateful for the way Tiina really listened to my perspective and collaborated to develop characters that represented what I could see in my mind. We had very different interpretations of the monster but with further contextual clarification of “my” monster, we came up with “our” monster. I think the discussion of and drawing of each little person’s unique monster is one of the most powerful activities in the study guide as this really represents an individual’s inner challenges.
You’re a multi-award winner for this wonderful book! Congratulations! What can you tell us about these awards, and how does this further validate the important work you are doing to help young people develop their emotional resilience?
I am just so thrilled that this book is getting these incredible accolades to help it reach more and more little people. The first award was certainly very special as it is for Emotional Intelligence, and this is one of my very important priorities when working with young people. Emotional Intelligence was not “a thing” when I was growing up and I never had the support structures in place to help me through the trauma I suffered. This award highlights the text as an important resource that can support this current generation of young people and that is very special.
The second award was such a wonderful surprise and now as a multi-award-winning book I am much more confident to overcome my fear of people and go out and spread the word!
What is your favourite part about being a writer of children’s books?
This is a very special book. Not only because it is a multi-award winner, not only because the protagonists are my most treasured people in the whole world, not only because it is a gift that just keeps on giving as I write personalised inscriptions and ship it off to little people all over the world. This book is a very special book as I can picture the strength and courage and resilience it is seeding in the hearts and minds of little people, and that is such a beautiful thing to bring into the world. I am so grateful.
What can we look forward to seeing from you in the near future?
I have two passion projects that will continue to give joy and ripple throughout the community. The sharing, reading, and promoting of Little People Big Emotions through visiting schools, community groups and ongoing guest appearances on podcasts is directed at helping the little people. The ongoing development of a growing library of writing resources in my app “How to Write with Kylie Mort” is my other gift to young people, supporting them on their academic journey through the schooling system. Both provide free educational resources to young people and their networks, furthering my commitment to provide all who read my publications and work within my programs the knowledge to live their best lives.
Thank you for sharing your story with us, Kylie! 😊
Visit Kylie Mort at her website: https://kyliemort.com.au
Tiina Morton can be found at HOME – Possum Design Studio: Strategy Driven Design.
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