Charles M. Iker, a professional psychotherapist out of Rochester, New York, has written a wonderful picture book, Little Fergen’s Fish Feelings, to help young children affected by divorce build healthy coping skills.
The book features an adorable little fish named Fergen who is a happy fish who loves his home he shares with his siblings and parents, but begins to experience difficult feelings when he learns his parents plan to divorce.
The little blue fish has a very hard time transitioning into his family’s new normal. He feels confused, sad, angry and afraid. Fergen’s tummy begins to fill with what feels like hundreds of tiny little fish swimming and fluttering around which makes him quite nervous and talkative. Other days, he refuses to play or swim. He pretends not to hear others around him. The comfort and safety he once felt is gone. He no longer knows how to talk to anyone about his feelings.
Fergen’s father (also named Fergen) notices the change in his son. He asks Fergen to go with him on a long swim one day where he talks to his son about when he was a small fish and experienced a sad time in his life. Big Fergen tells his son about all of the emotions he too experienced, and confesses that his behavior was out of control because he did not know how to deal with his feelings. So he was sent to talk to an old, wise fish named Sam who helped him to heal. Fergen’s father suggests to little Fergen he would like to take him to meet Sam as well. The pair then sets off on a journey through the ocean to find the wise old fish.
When they find Sam, the old fish suggests that they need a “Meeting of the Minds.” The son and father touch their foreheads together under Sam’s direction who then gives them special words to recite to one another,
“Starfish are red, Coral is blue, Free these feelings stuck inside of you.”
The two begin to repeat the words over and over. All of a sudden the little fish begins to talk about all of the feelings he’d stored up inside of him. With the release of his worries, the tiny little fish in his belly begin to pop out of his mouth (the same fish that had been hurting his tummy). Each of the fish represents an emotion Fergen felt and had kept down deep inside of him.
Sam explains to Fergen that feelings are “neither good nor bad, simply a part of life.” Fergen is then able to allow his feelings out into open waters to free himself of the emotions he’d trapped inside of him.
Fergen then feels so much better, lighter, happier. He now knows what to expect and how to help himself feel better when his worries become trapped inside him again. All he has to do is repeat the special words wise old Sam taught him. Although he knows life will not go back to the way it was, despite the changes he knows he will be fine and feel better with each passing day.
This book is a wonderful resource for any child and/or parent experiencing a major change in their life. It provides clear and wise advice on how to accept those changes as well as how to communicate about your feelings in a positive way. The colorful and sweet illustrations by Ron Bracato provide relatable yet fun images children will learn from and enjoy.
Educators and counselors working with young children experiencing the trauma of divorce will love this book and want to implement it’s positive message into their counseling practices.
Little Fergen’s Fish Feelings is Charles M. Iker’s first children’s book. He holds thirty-five years of education and experience in psychotherapy; to include a degree and background in child and family therapy. He has extensive clinical experience working with children and adolescents and adults providing individual psychotherapy, couples’ therapy and family therapy.
The author pulled from his experience as a father and therapist who went through divorce and watched the emotional impact it had on his child and stepson to inspire him to write Little Fergen’s Fish Feelings in hopes of helping other children through the trauma of separation and divorce.
To find out more about Charles and his therapy practices, education and experience, look here: http://www.cmipsychotherapy.com
To purchase a copy of the book, look here: