Kaia’s Big Felines – Aura Lewis

Kaia's Big Feelings by Aura Lewis
Published by Beaming Books on August 29, 2023
Genres: Children's
Buy on Amazon

Kaia experiences all kinds of emotions, and she relates them to various types of cats. Cheetah is fast and fearless, Leopard loves the spotlight, but Tiger has a temper. When Kaia's felines become overwhelming, she takes some time to herself to rest and reset.

An engaging look at emotional intelligence through traits of cats.

I barely got to read Kaia’s Big Felines before my four-year-old claimed it as hers. She’s in a big cat phase right now. Usually, she’s either playing with toy cats or pretending to be cat. Her favorite show is Superkitties. It’s a whole thing. Meaning that Kaia’s Big Felines was exactly the book to engage her in understanding and expressing her feelings. The wordplay (felines = feelings) was a bit beyond her, but I personally thought it to be very clever.

The story is about Kaia and her different types of felines. There’s the feisty and fearless cheetah, the fancy leopard, the quiet snow leopard, the sad caracal, the angry tiger, and more. The book doesn’t just go through the stock “here are the five or eight or however many emotions” but instead focuses on the wider concept of feelings. An emotion is a state of awareness that gives you information about the world, and a feeling is your conscious awareness of the emotion itself. Fancy isn’t an emotion, but could be a feeling that exists as an expression of emotions. Kaia’s Big Feelings is about different ways little ones (and big ones!) can feel, using different types of felines to illustrate what that might look like.

And for those who like cats, oh my does it work. Kaia’s Big Felines is a clever, creative way of talking about feelings. Understanding, explaining, and expressing one’s inner life can be difficult for adults, let alone kids. Giving them a more tangible, fun, and engaging way to talk about such abstract and complex feelings leads to better communication, better expression of feelings, and better self-awareness. It’s a silly book, but it’s also serious. It’s a book I’ll be returning to time and time again.