We all experience big feelings! These feelings are not something to run from but, rather, something to recognize and honor. To celebrate the launch of The Boy with Big, Big Feelings, we sat down with the author, Britney Winn Lee, to talk about this delightful picture book.
Why do you write, Britney?
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.
Who inspired The Boy with Big, Big Feelings?
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.
Who do you think your children’s book is for?
I think 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 could benefit from reading stories of people who are different from them. It is for cultures that could stand to unlearn toxic masculinity and celebrate the redefining of what it means to be a feeling person in this world.
How do you balance work, writing, and motherhood?
Most of the time, it feels like I don’t. But currently, I am working a full-time job Monday through 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.
Where do you find hope currently?
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.
Also by Britney Winn Lee: