Sidhartha Mallya New Picture Book: Sidhartha Mallya Discusses His New Book ‘Sad Glad’ and the Importance of Emotional Awareness for Kids

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Sidhartha Mallya

Sidhartha Mallya Discusses His New Book ‘Sad Glad’ and the Importance of Emotional Awareness for Kids

Sidhartha Mallya’s new picture book, ‘Sad Glad,’ which released recently, promotes self-awareness of emotions and feelings. It facilitates open communication about embracing ever-changing emotions and serves as a timely reminder for adults. The book also highlights the crucial role pets play in supporting humans. Mallya emphasizes that understanding and accepting all emotions from a young age can significantly help children as they grow older. ‘Sad Glad’ offers a comforting narrative that encourages young readers to embrace their feelings, supported by Mallya’s own experiences and insights as an advocate for mental health.

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Book Cover of Sad Glad

In an exclusive interview, Sidhartha Mallya discussed the book and the importance of mental health in children. He shared his views on how early awareness can positively impact a child’s development and emotional well-being. Here are the questions I asked him and his responses.

1. What inspired you to write this picture book focusing on self-awareness of emotions and feelings?

I always wanted to do a second book after my first one, ‘If I’m Honest’, was so well received. I thought by writing a children’s book, I could potentially help children learn about emotions and feelings in a simple way, which then might help them as they get older.

2. The main message of Sad Glad is that it’s OK to feel everything. Why did you decide to focus on this particular theme?

I think this is a message that even as adults we can forget. It is certainly something I’ve had to remind myself of countless times! Being a human being means experiencing a range of emotions and feelings – some of which we enjoy and others we don’t. The important thing is to embrace them all because it’s the resistance to the feelings that can cause more pain than the feelings themselves.

3. How do you think raising awareness about emotions from a young age can impact children as they grow older?

As I’ve previously stated in my first book, I have suffered from clinical OCD throughout my life. At times, it has been excruciating and has caused me incredible amounts of mental pain. I was only made aware that what I was suffering from was OCD when I was already in my 30s! I often look back and think that had I been made aware of OCD and what it was from a younger age, I perhaps could have saved myself from a lot of the mental torment while growing up. I would have been in a position where I would have been able to identify my OCD tendencies and take the appropriate actions to deal with them.

4. How do you think your book can serve as a tool for parents and educators in addressing mental health with children?

I think it can help parents start the conversation around feelings and emotions in a way where it doesn’t feel like a lesson to the child. The purpose of writing it as a picture book was to get the message around feelings across, but still make it a fun book for children to read.

5. Can you discuss the role that pets, like Duke in your book, play in supporting mental health and emotional well-being?

I think that anyone who has a pet (particularly a dog) will tell you that the unconditional love and support that they provide is second to none. For me personally, having Duke has been a huge help, particularly on the days when I’ve felt lower in mood.

6. How do you suggest adults can better support children in understanding and expressing their feelings?

By creating a safe space where children feel secure and express themselves freely. It’s also important to ensure that the language adults use around children is well thought out.

For example, saying things like ‘boys don’t cry’ to a male child who is crying can have severe consequences as that child grows into adulthood. The important thing is not to label feelings as ‘good’, ‘bad’, ‘acceptable’, or ‘unacceptable’, but rather to allow the child to feel and experience their emotions in that moment.

7. How can readers incorporate the lessons from your book into their daily lives to promote mental well-being?

The message of the book, that ‘human beings experience a range of emotions, and none are bad’, is something we can incorporate into our everyday lives by offering no resistance to the feelings and emotions that arise. Also, letting go of the need to ‘figure out’ where they are coming from can help take away a lot of the pressure of feeling like we have to do something about them.

8. What has been the most rewarding part of writing this book and sharing it with the world?

Just knowing that I might have helped someone going through something feel less alone. As I said in my first book, if I can help just one other person out there, then these books will be a success.

9. What are your long-term goals in terms of mental health advocacy and writing for children?

I already have a follow-up to ‘Sad Glad’ written, which helps children learn about another aspect of wellbeing. The aim is to make these into a series of books, each touching on a different topic.

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