Riley the Brave’s Big Feelings By Jessica Sinarski

At the very outset, Jessica Sinarski, LPCMH, states this activity book aids readers by helping them “put some of the essential elements for healing into practice with the children in your life.” 

Printed in the traditionally wide dimensions of activity books, “Riley the Brave’s Big Feelings” mixes playful activities with serious, necessary messages that would help both caregivers and the children alike. It is not a kid’s playbook, but rather one that should be navigated by an adult and child together.

It starts by explaining what the term “feeling” denotes; explaining it as a mix of “sensations + memories + thoughts.” Early childhood traumas impact developing brains in ways that cause it to respond negatively. 

The central characters of the book are animals, led by Riley who is a bear cub being parented by elephants. Throughout the book, the animal motif runs strong. For example, various moments of life are attributed to certain animals such as a chameleon moment, “when I try to blend in too much, copy others, or don’t let people say nice things about me.” 

Through the activities and suggestions to cope with various situations, Sinarski claims “Mad is not Bad” and offers ideas on how to “share our angry feelings without hurting anyone.” 

Any page that has a bright red star symbol may be downloaded from by using the code FVTQCAV. This activity book would help parents, teachers, counselors as well as anyone entrusted to the care of children. The illustrations by Zachary Kline are completely in sync with the tone of the book — playful yet earnest, such that serious messages are shared in a way that would appeal across age groups.


Book review by Sriya Chattopadhyay



“Riley the Brave’s Big Feelings Activity Book”

A Trauma-Informed Guide for Counselors, Educators, and Parents

By Jessica Sinarski

Illustrated by Zachary Kline

Pages: 160; Size: 279 mm x 216 mm 

ISBN: 9781839973000; Cost: $27.95 (trade paperback); $15.37 (Kindle)