A review of a beautiful book supporting pupils emotional literacy jam-packed with supporting teacher resources.

Reviewed by Kat Cauchi

Bottled is a fantastic picture book that supports pupils’ emotional literacy by taking them through a journey of naming and understanding different emotions and how they might present, why someone might hide emotions, what can happen when these emotions are ‘bottled,’ how and why someone can share these emotions, and then finally it invites the reader to explore their own emotional ‘bottles’ and to help others share theirs too.

The imagery is clear and powerful, and the vocabulary rich, but easy to understand for younger pupils. The way the text rhymes adds a lovely rhythm to the read and makes the poignant lines more memorable. This is certainly a text that can be used across the whole primary school so pupils’ understanding has time to develop and their confidence in talking about emotions can grow over time.

The real genius however, comes in the supporting teacher resources.

‘Resources to support facilitating classroom conversation and creating emotionally honest spaces’

This resource is split into six different conversations:

  • naming emotions,
  • describing emotions,
  • bottling emotions,
  • sharing emotions,
  • supporting others,
  • and creating emotionally honest spaces.

These conversations work well to provide a progression in skills such as emotional literacy, empathy and self-regulation.

What also works well is how each conversation links to a part of the book so you can reference and revisit this page during the lesson. There is an exploration section with steps on how to explore the conversation, progression section for taking the conversation and understanding further, and other supporting resources e.g., emotion word cards, scenario cards etc. All of this equips the teacher with everything they need to confidently facilitate the learning. The additional resources are high-quality and will save teachers so much valuable time as, if they do need to create any additional supporting resources, they can focus on personalised scaffolds to meet their individual pupils’ needs.

Pupil mental health and wellbeing is so important, and many educators know the significance that emotional literacy plays in supporting this, so really, this book is a no-brainer!

Comment from the authors

“Bottled is a picture book that supports conversations with children about their emotions and helps to establish emotionally honest spaces. We’re both teachers and Bottled started as a resource for our own classrooms. We are so humbled to see how widely it is being used to support children in these vital discussions. We truly believe that when we share how we are feeling, our world starts to look brighter. We hope our book helps children to realise that.” – Tom and Joe Brassington

Curriculum Lead and Year 6 teacher Kate Sturdy has used Bottled as part of a unit of work with her class around exploring and expressing emotions. She kindly shared with us some examples of her pupils’ poetry.

 

Poem by Child C

This is a bottle.
You will have seen numerous bottles before.
Some are empty, some are half full, some are full to the brim, and some have overflowed.
Some are light as paper, easy to carry and hold, some on the other hand are heavy as a bus and are impossible to hide.
Did you know that we all have a bottle?
I have my own too.
Anger, raspberry red, bubbling upwards making me hot to touch as I become silent.
Sadness, blue as fresh blueberries, leaks slowly downwards creating loneliness, thoughts go through my mind that no one likes me, I question myself a lot.
Happiness, medallion yellow like the Tuscan sun, splashes from my bottle painting smiles upon my face and spreading kindness all around.
Fear, charcoal grey makes me feel like my bottle is cracking, over thinking, round and round and long for someone to talk to.
My goal is to share my bottle with my Mum, Dad and teacher, to make it lighter and my
world brighter.
This is my bottle containing my secret feelings and emotions.
What is inside yours?
Maybe now is the time to explore.

Author

  • Katherine Cauchi

    Kat Cauchi is a WeAreTechWomen #TechWomen100 2023 award winner and a 2022 Nexus Education 'Classroom and Curriculum' improvement award winner. She is the community engagement manager at NetSupport, editor of R.I.S.E. Magazine, and the host of two podcasts. Kat is a member of the Global Equality Collective, a Global EdTech author, InnovateHer ambassador and Technocamps Girls in Stem role model.
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