The ‘Chair’ series: The Chill Out Chair and The Goodbye Chair

Two books for New Zealand children which help us learn about emotions
Author: Josephine Carson Barr, Illustrated by Simon Barr
Book Year: 2017, 2013
Publisher: Veritas Aotearoa Publishing
ISBN: 9780473389192, 9780473238636
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The ‘Chair’ series: The Chill Out Chair and The Goodbye Chair

What a pleasure it has been reading these books with my near-four year old. The pictures are ‘alive’ and reflect a typical day in New Zealand for many parents and children.

I particularly loved The Chill Out Chair because it does so many great things – it normalises feeling angry or being sent to ‘calm down’, and it gave me and my daughter some ideas to help us through these trying times. The story also highlighted the use of imagination to emotionally regulate and pass the time.

The use of Te Reo Māori in the story means “Kia tau,” has also entered our family vocabulary – thank you Barr whānau!

Speaking of whānau, The Chair series books are written and illustrated by Josephine Carson Barr and Simon Barr, a mother-son team. Josephine was inspired to write the book by her grandchildren. The family/whānau is evident throughout the books, giving them a comforting, familiar feeling.

The Goodbye Chair was less relevant for us, but still enjoyable. I will certainly be recommending it as a ‘reading book’ at preschools and for new entrants teachers. The idea of The Goodbye Chair is excellent to help tamariki and parents/whānau transition away from one another.

I highly recommend The Chair series. My daughter and I had a great time reading them – we learned heaps, laughed and talked about the big emotions and how to manage them.

Reviewed by Anna Mowat, who works as part of the All Right? Wellbeing campaign in Ōtautahi, where she is based. She also delivers Incredible Years parenting courses for the Ministry of Education and is currently working on a Cure Kids research project to create support for parents whose children have emotional regulation issues.

The ‘Chair’ series: The Chill Out Chair and The Goodbye Chair

Disclaimer: Please note these reviews are not intended as endorsements or recommendations from the Mental Health Foundation. This feature introduces resources that may be useful for individuals with an interest in mental health and wellbeing topics.