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- author Jackie French

Sunday 17 May 2020

Guest Post: Robert Verscio On His Inspiration Behind Happiness Is A Cloud

Happiness is a Cloud is a story to help children deal with emotional issues and anxiety. It gently allows children to share and discuss their feelings and problems with others. 

Children experience complex feelings like adults but, usually, they struggle to express their feelings through words. So instead, they communicate their feelings in different ways.
The idea for the story came to me when I was home alone one day cloud gazing. At the time, my kids were on holiday with their mother and I missed not having them around. I thought this would make for a great story to help children express their feelings through behaviour and play.

Happiness is a Cloud explores our feelings and emotions by likening it to the changing shapes of clouds. 

Harry and his father, along with their pet dog, Jasper, spend a day together at the beach observing the ever-changing shapes of the clouds. Harry takes a moment to look for clouds. He sees different shapes and gives each cloud a name of an emotion. 'That cloud is angry''That cloud is happy''That cloud is lonely'. 'That cloud is sad'. He watches as the clouds slowly drift across the sky, change shape, and become completely different.  
Harry shows us that emotions are like clouds. They change shape and roll by, like when his dog, Jasper, goes missing. Harry feels overwhelmed with a feeling and watches the emotion change and drift out of view.

Happiness Is like A cloud, thought Harry. Sometimes it’s close… And sometimes it floats awayWhen clouds are present, things move and fly about. When the clouds go away, things become very still.

This story compares the weather to feelings and emotions, acknowledging that some days are wonderful, filled with sunlight, inviting us to play outside. But some days are not so wonderful and can be tough and scary.  I used clouds as a metaphor to express feelings in the story. i.e. Sunshine - Your smile lights up your face when you’re happy, Rain - tears when you’re feeling sad, Storms - to express unhappiness or discomfort that releases in a rush, shaking things up, making you feel scared and lonely.

Happiness Is A Cloud transports the reader to an endless variety of shapes created by clouds that have morphed and formed into a myriad of recognisable shapes. Children will delight in naming the cloud shapes Harry sees in the sky. Clouds are seen as magic, full of imagination. A cloud can ignite a child’s imagination by opening his/her mind to the unlimited possible shapes clouds can assume.

Clouds bring texture and meaning to a spotless blue sky. Their ever-changing shapes remind us of our ability to do the same. Nothing stays the same in the world. Today’s hardships will evolve into tomorrow’s joys. And clouds serve as our constant reminder. 

A cloud can convey a feeling of uncertainty. Sometimes children think their emotions are permanent. If they’re sad, they think, I’m going to be sad FOREVER!

But here’s another thing about children. They love to watch clouds. The analogy with happiness cannot be missed. Just like clouds, happiness shifts from one moment to the next and we learn, move on, but most of all, we change and grow. 

The illustrator, Nancy Bevington, decided to take photos around the mid north coast of NSW area and, together with simple watercolour characters, brought the story to life. Her digital work on the clouds, helped to create all the magical images Harry sees in the sky.

Happiness Is A Cloud  is a story about love, relationships, anxiety and imagination for every child and adult who loves to see shapes in the clouds.

Robert Vescio always has a story on the bookshelf, one on his desk and another in the pipeline. He writes picture books and short stories for children and himself a storyteller because he loves to spin a good yarn! His goal as a children’s author is to inspire, encourage and challenge children to dream big – because when it comes to dreams … think BIG, dream BIGGER!

For more information, please visit Robert's:

Website: www.robertvescio.com  
Instagram: robertvescio_author