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Foresters collaborate on ground-breaking children’s book

Portrait of parents holding young child in backyard The Edgar family
November 20, 2020
Katy Knuckles ’21

The ABCs of My Feelings and Music, co-written by Associate Professor of Music Scott Edgar and Coordinator of the Center for Academic Success Stephanie Edgar offers a powerful tool to help young children deepen their Social Emotional Learning (SEL) through music, art, and emotion.

Drawing on a shared background in music and experience as parents of a young child, the Edgars created an alphabet book that illustrates emotions and feelings through musical selections and art. Each letter of the alphabet is devoted to an emotion—O for overwhelmed and T for thankful, for example—and artwork that illustrates the feeling. Below each illustration are three classical music suggestions to listen to while observing the art.

The Edgars were “deliberate” in choosing a range of both “up” and “down” emotions and offering a variety of musical pieces to help each child find one that best expresses their feelings, Stephanie Edgar said.

The ultimate goal of the book was to “normalize” emotions for young children and to “contribute to a robust dialogue and understanding that we all feel these emotions,” Scott Edgar said.

The Edgars worked with illustrator Nancy Sosna Bohm, retired Lake Forest College reference and web services librarian, to share and discuss ideas. With that direction, Sosna Bohm worked on illustrating the emotions, each of which was ultimately realized in watercolor.

“I found inspiration from personal experience, researching the meanings of the words, and showing my drawings and paintings to others for feedback,” Sosna Bohm said.

Two years in the making, The ABCs of My Feelings and Music was released during the global pandemic, when stress and anxiety peaked in most households.

The author of SEL books for older children and teens, Scott Edgar is “gratified by the positive response” the book has received from teachers and parents.

“We hope children enjoy this book for years to come, gain an appreciation of music and art, and increase their emotional intelligence in the process,” Stephanie Edgar said.