The rainbow in my heart: A book about emotions

A rhyming picture book about the rainbow of feelings that live in our heart that helps little ones to express their feelings.
Author: Jessica Urlichs; illustrated by Rebekah Ballagh
Book Year: 2021
Publisher: Hachette New Zealand
ISBN: 9781869714604
Download PDF
The rainbow in my heart: A book about emotions

There’s a lot to commend about this sweet book about emotions. Many parents of young tamariki will know the book already; it’s become a favourite for supporting early emotional literacy and for good reason.

The association with rainbow piques tamariki’s interest in the book. Tamariki usually have a fascination with and love of rainbows, so this is bound to catch their eye. 

Linking colours with emotions is a useful way for tamariki to kōrero about emotions. There are many emotional literacy programmes used in preschools and schools that associate emotions with colours to support emotional learning and understanding. This enables tamariki to simply say that they feel “green” to help them firstly acknowledge and articulate the emotion while they’re still learning. As the book demonstrates, colours often depict the ‘mood’ behind an emotion too. 

Jessica Urlich is a poet, and it’s lovely to read the descriptions of each emotion rhythmically and with a beat behind the words. 

The notes provided at the back by Rebekah Ballagh are really useful to extend the kōrero and further develop tamariki’s understanding of emotions.

The illustrations do a great job of providing some visual framing of how emotions look. This provides some great kōrero opportunities for tamariki and parents too.  

Would I use the book to support tamariki better understanding emotions? Yes, I definitely would. 

Review by Anna Mowat director of Real Parents

The rainbow in my heart: A book about emotions

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.