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Sad Glad by Sidhartha Mallya 

Sad Glad by Sidhartha Mallya (Puffin Books) talks about emotions and feelings. A young boy, Sid, wakes up one morning and feels different. It feels as if gloom has descended upon him. He can’t understand why this would be so, because he was fine the night before. Even his dog Duke can’t seem to cheer him up. The weather outside is sad and gloomy, and this becomes just the right metaphor for Duke to use as he has a chat with Sid about emotions.

The vibrant and beautiful illustrations by Vibha Surya complement the words and carry the reader along with Sid and Duke to a journey where they uncover how emotions exist together- sadness with happiness, bravery with fear and so on. They are seen as two sides of the same coin. 

Sad Glad can be used with young children to bring home the point that it is normal to experience a range of emotions. We often tend to welcome positive emotions and treat negative emotions with great trepidition. But, what if we were to witness them come and go as visitors? There is one part of the story where Sid looks out of the window and sees many different people doing their own thing, but also exhibiting a range of emotions. It works as a reminder that being human is all about experiencing a range of emotions.

I think Sad Glad is apt to show how emotions can be seen as visitors and how one could accept them and feel them, before they leave. The book provides another way of looking at emotions. As a picture book it is appropriate for children as young as 3 years of age and can be used for up to 6-7 year olds as well. 

In a very subtle way the book also suggests that one need not judge the emotions. It urges the reader to accept them, even witness them and carry on. 

Sidhartha Mallya is a well known figure who has been advocating for mental health awareness among young people. His debut book, If I am honest: A memoir of my mental health journey (published by Penguin Random house, 2022) talks about his journey. Sad Glad brings a slice of mental health awareness to a very young population with the hope to equip them with an understanding of emotions and feelings. 

Dhanishta Shah

Dhanishta is a Counselling Psychologist and a freelance writer. She is the Founder of Bookedforlife.