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Sunday, December 15, 2019

Alumni

Alumna releases book to help children understand their emotions


Camryn Wells, a UH alumna, is releasing her second children's book this month. | Photo courtesy of Camryn Wells

Camryn Wells, a UH alumna, is releasing her second children’s book this month. | Photo courtesy of Camryn Wells

Talking to children about emotions can be difficult, no matter their age, but when the kids are not old enough to put words to how they’re feeling, it can be even harder.

Camryn Wells, a UH alumna, hopes to make these conversations easier with her new book “What Color is Your Day?” The book was inspired by her son and teaching him how to express emotions he was feeling that he did not yet have the vocabulary for.

“It started with a transition he had from his crib to his ‘big boy’ bed. It was just a really hard transition for him,” Wells said. “My husband and I realized he was experiencing a lot of adult emotions, but he didn’t necessarily know how to articulate them.”

“The color association was easy for him to understand,” Wells said. “I’d say, ‘Monroe, what are you feeling?’ and he’d go, ‘oh I’m sad.’ ‘What color do you think of when you think of sad?’ and he’d say, ‘blue.’ I’d say, ‘OK, blue can also be,’ and it would start a conversation.”

The conversation developed into the question, “what color is your day?” Now, Wells said, the question is something her and her son ask one another each day.

Her book, which has not yet been released, is filled to the brim with water color images of animals, plants and people. The book relates colors to emotions through poetry, but the book does not pin down each color to a specific emotion. Red is not described as angry and blue is not necessarily sad. The book gives each color at least two sides.

“I try to make it clear when talking about my book that this is just my experience,” Wells said. “I’m not a psychologist, I’m a mom. I think that’s very important to say because when we talk about color association and emotions that can go a very clinical and medical route. But that’s not the route I’m going.”

The writing and publishing process started in April of this year, meaning the turn-around time was quicker than normal, Wells said. She partially credits the quickness of the process to already having her vision in mind.

“It was definitely not a traditional path, one that you might hear about when creating a book,” Wells said. “It really did come along, ‘I have this idea,’ and I said, ‘let me just look into what’s out there in the market already.’ ”

The book is the first in a series, with a sequel already written. After the second book is released Wells and her publisher are looking at releasing one to two more books in 2020. Wells has already finished the manuscript for the sequel.

The “Color, Feel, Play” series is for children kindergarten through fifth grade. Both books written so far are about the emotions people, not just kids, feel.

Even though “What Color is Your Day?” is not yet on the market the reviews are already in, and they are positive.

“The book is both conceptually and visually beautiful,” read a review Wells got back from a librarian named Jessica Williams. “It does a wonderful job of starting the discussion we aren’t having often enough. Emotions exist in such a wide range and we can experience so many of them at once, or in quick succession, and it can be difficult to understand what you are feeling..”

Wells is mom to two kids. She has background as a spoken word artist but professionally she is a grant writer. This is not her first children’s book, she last wrote one 10 years ago.

Wells is a UH alumna who graduated in 2006 with a degree in broadcast journalism.

“I give full credit to the education that I received, especially the impact from my professors,” Wells said in an email. “I received a wonderful degree and it has been a true pleasure watching the University and college grow since I left.”

There is a book launch scheduled for Saturday Oct. 19 at the Jack J. Valenti School of Communication from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

“This is just a starting point,” Wells said. “But this can open the door to communication, and it can make it easier for you to understand what your child is feeling.”

Update: What Color is Your Day has since been released on Amazon.

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