When Sadness is at Your Door

By Eva Eland

ISBN: 9780525707189

Author Website: evaeland(.)com

Brought to you by OBS reviewer Caro


In the style of Harold and the Purple Crayon comes a picture-book primer in emotional literacy and mindfulness that suggests we approach the feeling of sadness as if it is our guest.

Sadness can be scary and confusing at any age! When we feel sad, especially for long periods of time, it can seem as if the sadness is a part of who we are–an overwhelming, invisible, and scary sensation.

In When Sadness Is at Your Door, Eva Eland brilliantly approaches this feeling as if it is a visitor. She gives it a shape and a face, and encourages the reader to give it a name, all of which helps to demystify it and distinguish it from ourselves. She suggests activities to do with it, like sitting quietly, drawing, and going outside for a walk. The beauty of this approach is in the respect the book has for the feeling, and the absence of a narrative that encourages the reader to “get over” it or indicates that it’s “bad,” both of which are anxiety-producing notions.

Simple illustrations that recall the classic style of Crockett Johnson (Harold and the Purple Crayon) invite readers to add their own impressions.

Eva Eland’s debut picture book is a great primer in mindfulness and emotional literacy, perfect for kids navigating these new feelings–and for adult readers tackling the feelings themselves! (Goodreads)


What better way to explain to a child about emotions and how to understand them, especially if it is sadness, than with a picture book! This is what When Sadness is at Your Door explains through beautiful illustrations in calm and soothing colors. The story follows a child who one day is visited by sadness. The child is unsure of how to treat sadness or make it go away. Sadness follows the child everywhere, around the house and outside at the playground. In this book we see sadness manifest itself as a big green blub.

When Sadness is at Your Door encourages the child to talk to sadness in order to understand it. It suggests to ask it what it needs, to find something both can enjoy, such as drawing or listening to music, it also mentions how sadness might feel better being outside instead of inside the house.

This book is a wonderful way to teach children about emotions. Makes me wish for books like this one when I was a child, not just for sadness but for other emotions. The illustrations and text are easy for children to follow and understand. I especially love the form sadness is given, it gives the child a visual of the emotion for better understanding. The ways of treating sadness are also good ideas, such as finding something both can do like listening to music. I would add watching movies as well.

Author Eva Eland has a beautiful illustration style that caught my attention immediately and a great way to help parents explain to their children how to understand an emotion that can knock at our doors no matter the age. Definitely a book to add to your reading lists.

*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*