Children's Book Helping Kids Express Negative Emotions - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Children's Book Helping Kids Express Negative Emotions

"The point is you've got to keep staying in touch with what you are feeling inside," Ben Keckler says as he read a book to some six graders at Trent Lott Elementary.

"I lost everything all of my stuff," one student says.

"Katrina may have washed away a lot of stuff, but you still have stuff," Keckler says.

Stuff is what author Ben Keckler calls bottled up emotions.

"When a hurricane comes and takes away all of your stuff. You've got a lot of emotion going on there," Keckler says.

So, through books, Keckler speaks to kids. He hopes the stories and the lessons encourage kids to express themselves.

"If you internalize it, it's going to manifest itself in other ways," Keckler says.

Their teacher Sybil Wilner says Keckler couldn't have picked a better class.

"They need it, they need it so badly, because these students lost everything,"Wilner says. "In middle school, sometimes it's not cool to express yourself especially if you're feeling that hurt and pain from that lost."

But the kids are getting it.

"Tell me if you dare," Keckler reads.

"It hurt my feelings because most of the stuff I really wanted was gone. It hurt," one student says.

"You don't have to hold your feelings in. You can express yourself instead of letting it all ball up inside," another student says.

"I lost stuff in the storm and that really made me sad," one student adds.

"His books are really really good," another student smiles.

Positive feedback tells Keckler his approach really works.

"To all of a sudden have kids asking questions after exploring their feelings. Down right exciting," Keckler says.

And Keckler hopes the short lessons they learned today will stay with the kids and help them deal with stuff the rest of their lives.

Keckler travels all over the world with this message.

He says he's been to many hurricane ravaged areas spreading the need of self-expression.

By Jaimee Goad

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