New book helps children learn about feelings

New book helps children learn about feelings
Teri Stein

Farrah Raines of Uhrichsville recently published the second of two books she wrote to help children learn about their feelings and how to control them. The newest book is called “Sea of Feelings.”


In spring 2020, when schools were forced to close their doors, Farrah Raines, an occupational therapy assistant and licensed massotherapist, tried to think of ways to continue to help her students.

Raines is contracted to work at Starlight School in New Philadelphia through the Educational Service Center, something she has been making a positive difference doing for the past 16 years. She was concerned about reaching her students remotely, so she created her own YouTube channel.

“It’s called Miss Farrah’s Movement and Fun. That was the very first thing I did, and I could reach an even bigger audience of kids,” Raines said.

Her videos cover a variety of topics such as crayons versus markers and why would you use one or the other. A recent blog post covers different varieties of adaptive scissors.

“Other videos are more directed to children. We do yoga mindful activities. I try to do themed based videos,” Raines said. “Over the summer I released a space adventure, and it was neat because we landed on the moon, and we were looking for different aliens. When we found the aliens, we talked about how the alien was feeling and what that looks like.”

Raines has published two books so far. “Tons of Tools to Help Me Be Me” was published in September 2020, and the second book, “Sea of Feelings,” was published in August 2021. The books complement each other.

“’Sea of Feelings’ is to teach the little ones about different feelings. That’s the first step: for them to be able to identify what feelings are and build that vocabulary, then start becoming more aware of their own feelings,” Raines said. “I’m hoping with this book that it brings self-awareness to how they feel and how others feel.”

Once children can identify their feelings, they can use calming or alerting tools to moderate them. Raines wants to give children many tools they can use to help stay on an even keel.

For example, if a child is feeling silly, can’t sit still and is having a hard time focusing, they can reach into their calming tools to slow their bodies down or calm their bodies. Some of the tools are introduced in Raines’ books, but there are many tools out there that can help, and not all tools help every child.

The books are based on a sensory toolbox program Raines developed for use with her students when she works with them face to face.

“I go in once a week to provide occupational therapy in the classroom. I work with the entire classroom, and I try to take in one sensory tool a week,” Raines said.

Some examples of sensory tools would be blowing bubbles or blowing on a pinwheel or squeezing a stress ball.

“I pass the tools around and let the kids try them out,” Raines said. “Everybody gets to try it, and I feel like it really helps, especially with kiddos who would be kind of hesitant to try things when they see their friends doing them. Of course, they want to try it too.”

Raines has check-ins with all the students and asks them how they are feeling.

“We talk about our bodies moving fast like a rabbit and slow like a turtle,” Raines said. “I ask how are you feeling today? Are you feeling fast or are you feeling slow, and then we talk about what sensory tools we can use to either slow down our bodies or speed up our bodies.”

She sometimes gives students a menu with pictures of sensory activities so they can have choices and she can identify their favorites.

“I have had great results with this program, and I’ve had parents actually reach out to me to tell me that their little ones were all nervous about going to the doctor and they actually worked on deep breathing to calm them down,” Raines said.

Raines feels her program is one that could help all children.

“I would love to be able to help more kids. That is what got me started thinking to put it all down in a book,” Raines said.

In “Sea of Feelings,” each sea creature was given a feeling to discuss, which provided Raines the opportunity to become the main character in her second book. Raines developed Scuba Farrah, a diver who interacts with the creatures and asks them how they feel.

“That’s where she came from, and it’s nice because when I work with my kids, a lot of times I’m asking them, ‘How do you feel,’” Raines said.

It’s important children be able to identify their feelings.

“I think a lot of times, at least from my experience, especially with our nonverbal kids, they know that there’s something wrong, and even adults can tell that there’s something wrong, usually by their body language or their facial expressions, but they don’t know how to express or to explain it. That’s why I think this book is very helpful.”

Teaching that vocabulary, especially with nonverbal children, and providing them a way to communicate such as using computer tablets, they are able to explain their feelings.

Raines also teaches that you can have more than one feeling at a time.

“They can realize you may feel a couple different ways, not just strictly one way,” Raines said.

Raines has received many good comments on the books from parents and other educators who are incorporating her books in the classroom. Anyone can use the books to teach about feelings, as a co-worker of Raines did over the summer.

“She read my first book with her little girl, and they demonstrated how they do some of the tools,” Raines said.

Raines drew all her own pictures in the books, and she is now branching out into digital drawings. She has a couple of other projects to help teach about feelings in the works and is looking for an area book-signing to be announced soon.

A Claymont graduate, Raines has donated copies of her book to the school district to help the students there.

“This kind of took me by surprise. I never thought I would be an author,” Raines said. “I’m very excited that I had this opportunity.”

The books are available online at for $10 for the paperback edition and $2.99 for the eBook. Miss Farrah’s Movement and Fun can be found at, and Miss Farrah’s tips also can be found on Facebook and Instagram under the same name.

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