Heart, Meet Sleeve

There is an episode of Ellen where Kristin Bell is the guest and she’s talking about her emotional scale. How she cries when she’s at the top of the scale (super happy) and at the bottom of the scale (too sad) and how she’s just barely holding on in between. You can watch it here:

I remember seeing the clip and realizing, besides how ridiculously funny it is, how her description of her emotions so closely resembles my own.

I share a penchant for shedding tears when any emotion in any direction goes too far off the scale. I cry when I am happy, when I am sad, when I am frustrated, when I am angry, when I am proud, when I am surprised, when I am excited, this could go on and on. I come from a long line of criers. It is built into my genetic code. I do not know how to be any other way. And, while I don’t walk around sobbing into a Kleenex or anything, my emotions are always close to the surface.

For example, here is a short list of things I have cried about this week:

  1. The ending to Waiting for “Superman” because of the hopelessness of our current educational system.
  2. A YouTube montage of dogs being reunited with their service members/owners returning from duty.
  3. Henry’s teacher repeatedly telling me what a great kid he is at our parent-teacher conference. (Humblebrag of truth.)
  4. This video which just proves how awesome the human race in general can be sometimes.

And, on Sunday, I cried in the middle of the Target book aisle when I discovered these:


My emotional scale never stood a chance.

The cover illustrations caught my eye when I was on my way to pick up something else and I had to double-back to get a closer look. (I’m also a sucker for a non-jacketed cloth-bound book. Am weird, I know.) Turns out, both books are by Sara O’Leary and are from her series called, appropriately enough, The Henry Books.

Where I Came From is filled with fantastical explanations offered up by Henry’s parents about how he came to be. Was he found at the supermarket? Did he arrive in the mailbox? Was he grown on a flower? It’s all beautifully done with whimsical and charming illustrations and contains what every good children’s book should have if it wants to appeal to parents, an emotional kick in the gut at the end:

"First there were two of us and then we were three." And, tears in three, two, one...

“First there were two of us and then we were three.” And, tears in three, two, one…

When I Was Small tells the story of Henry’s mother when she was a child. There are more imaginative adventures, wonderful observations, adorable little girls with adorable haircuts and another ending that packs a punch.


After reading both books through, I clutched them to my chest, wiped the moisture from my eyes, discounted the weird glance from the Target entertainment section employee and marched directly to the checkout. I think they are lovely and creative and after almost eight years of reading truck and Lego-themed tomes lying around our house, I fear I may have become a bit irrational. But, I adore them anyway and I was going to give them to the kids for Christmas but now I’m not so sure because kids just ruin everything nice and I don’t want their little grubby hands to under-appreciate such special work.

It should come as no surprise that Bob pretty much thought I was completely and totally insane when I arrived home and made him sit down to read each book while I carefully gauged his emotional scale. And, since he didn’t even well up once, the only logical conclusion is that his heart is made of stone.

Now, if it hasn’t become apparent prior, I pretty much only leave the house to go to Target. So, perhaps you already know of these wonderful books? If not, here’s a link to the artist’s page on Amazon.

9 thoughts on “Heart, Meet Sleeve

  1. Thanks so much this, Kristin. I love a good cry too.
    And in defence of the books, they are fairly durable and welcome grubby little hands. Added bonus: no dust jacket to tear or lose (always a problem when my own boys were small.)

    • Hi Sara! How fun that you found this! Your books are beautiful and we are currently reading them with Adult Supervision to preserve their loveliness. They are becoming fast favorites around our house.

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