The Boy with Big, Big Feelings releases today! We sat down with the author, Britney Winn Lee, to talk about this delightful picture book.
Q: Why do you write, Britney?
A: Writing is how I process, understand, and share the world. I see it as a gift that’s been given to me to work out what it means to be human. I write because I can’t not write.
Q: What inspired your children’s book?
A: My son. He is tender-hearted, sound-sensitive, empathetic, and attuned to others’ feelings. I want him to know that his big, big heart is something to celebrate and utilize; that his emotions are not in opposition to his masculinity but are a part of redefining what masculinity is; that they are truly, deeply a gift for connection and not a weakness.
Q: You’ve written a memoir as well--what is it about?
A: I wrote a memoir entitled Deconstructed Do-Gooder: A Memoir About Finding Mercy the Hard Way that follows the faith deconstruction and reconstruction of my twenties. It follows my journey as all of the characters in the story of the Good Samaritan, starting with the Priest and ending with the Wounded. It is about redirecting one’s idea of faithfulness until there is nowhere else to turn but into the dark night of the soul. Therefore, it’s also about the resurrection that finds us when we lose us.
Q: Who do you think your children’s book is for?
A: I think that this book is for little boys (and girls) who have dynamic feelings, sensory sensitivity, and/or may be on the Autism Spectrum. I think it is also for children (and their parents) who do and are not, but who could benefit from reading stories of people who are different from them. It is for cultures who could stand to unlearn toxic masculinity and celebrate the redefining of what it means to be a feeling-person in this world.
Q: How do you balance work, writing, and motherhood?
A: Most of the time, it feels like I don’t. But currently, I am working a full-time job Monday-Thursday and writing on Fridays. My family has weeknights and weekends together. I am very thankful to have entire days set aside for writing time now. The carving of minutes and hours that writers who are parents of young children must do is so difficult. We make it work as best we can and lean into grace as much as possible
Q: Where do you find hope currently?
A: I find hope in books, specifically memoir style, that tell stories that are different from my own experiences (especially written by women of color). I find hope online; even though social media can produce a lot of division and negativity, it has also been used to connect and empower many underrepresented people groups. I find hope when I’m having real-life, in-person experiences with my friends and family. I find hope in meditation and contemplation. I find hope in subversive beauty through nature, art, and humor.
Britney Winn Lee is a writer as well as a community arts director in Shreveport, LA where she lives with her husband and son. She writes primarily at the intersection of faith and justice, dedicated to good news and full life that are good and full for all.
To learn more or to purchase The Boy With Big, Big Feelings click here.