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Inside the New Adarna House Storybooks Teaching Children about the Inner World of Emotions

New Adarna House Storybooks Inner World of Emotions
Bursting with vivid illustrations, the new Emotions picture books by Adarna House are learning tools for children discovering the spectrum of emotions. Adarna House photos.

“Sometimes children will just cry and they don’t know why,” author and illustrator Liza Flores shared in a GoodNewsPilipinas interview. “They don’t have the words yet to explain how they feel.”

The complex world of emotions can often be difficult for children to navigate. In the early stages of their lives, it is important for them to have the tools to recognize and regulate their feelings. Through the upcoming Emotions picture book series, publishing company Adarna House eagerly takes on this role. The series comprises four different storybooks covering the inner world of children’s emotions: Sungit and Hiya by Flores, Inip by Harry Monzon, and Pikon by Jeannelle Pita.

A look into the creative process

Even among adults, emotions are complicated phenomena that can become difficult to manage. To make this topic digestible for a young audience, Flores aimed to cover the “micro-moments” of a child’s life. “For a child, [a minor experience is] a big, big thing. The moment where they’re in is the moment,” she explained. “They’re not analyzing what’s happening around them, or what happened yesterday, [or] what’s going to happen tomorrow. It’s just [the] now.”

For the author, the key was “figuring out how to depict those small gestures and small actions [of] a child”. In Sungit, she captured the annoying experiences in a young girl’s ordinary school day – everything from buttoning her shirt in the wrong way, finding out that someone had eaten her favorite breakfast meal, and feeling frustrated by her rowdy classmates on the school bus.

“It was inspired by my niece. When she was small, she woke up one day and she was grunting the whole morning. When her dad asked what was wrong, ‘I feel the sungit’ sabi niya. That line stuck with me for a long time… I don’t think I was that self-aware [at her age],” she narrated.

(She said, ‘I feel the sungit.’)

Sungit was released in 2020 as a standalone book and later became the springboard in which the Emotions series was born. “Just a few months ago, Adarna wanted to expand the Sungit idea into four books, [adding] Hiya, Pikon, [and] Inip,” she said.

Set to release in September 2023 as part of the Emotions bundle, Hiya tackles a little boy’s bashfulness when he participates in a mask-making activity in class. Even when his class erupts in excitement, he is too shy to show his enthusiasm for the project. Later on, when he realizes he has forgotten to bring his scissors to school, he faces the ordeal of having to ask his classmates if he can borrow theirs.

“I told the publisher na I think Hiyayung pinaka-nakakarelate ako, because I was always a shy kid,” Flores laughed. “So then they assigned Hiya to me and asked me for recommendations for the other two illustrators.”

(I told the publisher that I think I relate to Hiya the most.)

A lasting legacy

All in all, Flores hopes that her young audience can relate to the emotions in the books and apply the characters’ experiences to their own lives. “Seeing how characters react, act, and feel may help them [realize], ‘Oh that’s me. So that’s why I felt this way,’” she noted. “For adults, the responsibility is to be able to process these stories with their children and be able to talk about [them].”

In line with this goal, Flores appreciated how Adarna House screened her books with children prior to release. “I like their process of creating books… When they give you feedback it’s based on the reaction of children, not just adults, and I think that’s very valuable,” she remarked.

Despite these strides being made in the realm of children’s mental health, there still exist barriers to distributing these books to the children who need them most. In recent years, funding for public school libraries has dwindled in the national Department of Education budget; the last time library construction was earmarked was in 2006. She pointed out, “[The barrier is] really more of kids getting access to [these types of] materials that would help them, especially in places outside Metro Manila [and among] less privileged children.”

Nevertheless, Flores is optimistic that such media will become more mainstream. “I think the publishers are very open and are really looking for material like this, so I think there [are] more opportunities than barriers,” she imparted. International entertainment has indeed become more focused on destigmatizing mental health, with Disney’s Inside Out recently standing as a testament to this. She added that other types of coming-of-age stories, even if they are not specifically about emotions, can be helpful to children as well.

“It’s very important for kids to be exposed to as many stories [and] as many kinds of art as there [are], because what we read is a reflection of the world that we’re in. And the more that they have access to this, the more equipped they are to face the world,” Flores ended. With books like these becoming more widespread, a thriving new generation of emotionally intelligent children is truly destined to come forth.

The Emotions picture book series by Adarna House is now available for pre-order. It is priced at PHP 277 and will be 30% off until September 10. Link in the tweet below.


In 2020, Adarna House collaborated with Greenpeace Southeast Asia to release a picture book about ocean plastic pollution titled “Bayan ng Basura”. In 2023, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and Aklat Alamid released the Heneral Tuna storybook, which showed how Filipino values are woven through daily life.

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Good News Pilipinas is a Lasallian Scholarum Awardee. TELL US your good news story tips by messaging GoodNewsPilipinas.com on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram, or e-mailing editor@goodnewspilipinas.com

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Summer Sanares
Summer Sanares
Summer is a political science student with a twin passion for journalism. Her hobbies include watching geography documentaries, searching the metro for plant-based food, and free-falling through Wikipedia rabbit holes. Her works have previously been featured in the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

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