Anger is an intense emotion. It is confusing in that it usually masks a more vulnerable emotion, such as frustration, sadness, or anxiety.
Listening to books about anger gives children the opportunity to relate and, therefore, better understand their own anger. Reading together gives you the opportunity to talk with children about their feelings.The following books help kids (and their parents) identify their emotions, and develop strategies for how to cope.
And...best of all...they are fun books to read out-loud. My children, Gilda (age 8), and Charlie (age 6), help me review some of our favourite books below:
Grumpy Monkey by Suzanne Lang:
Jim Panzee is NOT GRUMPY. Or so he says. However, his friends point out that he is frowning, hunched over, and his eyebrows are creased. His friends have suggestions for how he can feel better, but he does not feel like singing, walking, napping, hugging, or…anything else. Jim realizes that he is a grumpy after all. And also sad. He comes upon Norman the gorilla, and recognizes the signs of grumpiness in his friend. They both agree that they need to feel grumpy right now. And that’s ok. Admitting this, they both feel a little better. This is an enjoyable and funny book with lots of empathy. Gilda says: “I like when [Norman] the big gorilla gets angry.”
Ravi’s Roar by Tom Percival:
Ravi is the youngest and smallest child in his family. And every once in a while that isn’t so great. On a particularly bad day, Ravi gets so mad that he turns into a tiger. All that anger feels so great. Until no one wants to play with him. He says sorry - and turns back into a boy. A great read with sweet illustrations. Charlie says: “I like when he turns into a tiger!”
Hungry Bird by Jeremy Tankard:
Grumpy Bird is back and he is hangry - so hungry that he is angry. He complains. And nags. And whines. He expects his friends to take care of his hunger. But the things they eat are yucky, so he wants nothing to do with their snacks. Eventually he gets so hungry that he tries their food. And begins to feel better. Relatable and very funny. Gilda says: “He needs to bring his own food!”
Sam’s Pet Temper by Sangeeta Bhadra:
One day at the playground, Sam gets madder than he has ever been in his whole life. And acquires his very own pet - a Temper. He and the Temper have so much fun! But when he brings the Temper home and to school, the Temper gets him into trouble. He tries hard to control his Temper, by counting from 1 to 10, saying his ABCs backwards, and taking a deep breath and slowly letting it out. And it works! The Temper finally leaves Sam alone. A fun story that works both at a literal and metaphorical level. Charlie says: “[The Temper] is super cute!”
Allie All Along by Sarah Lynne Reul:
Allie’s crayon breaks and she is suddenly a furious, frustrated, and very angry monster. Her big brother encourages her to punch a pillow, squeeze a toy, take a deep breath, and count backwards from 10. These strategies each help a little. Eventually she becomes human again. The illustrations are vibrant, and Allie’s feelings are great to growl aloud. Gilda says: “I like this whole book.”
No Fits, Nilson! by Zachariah OHora:
Nilson (Amelia’s giant, blue gorilla) and Amelia are inseparable. They have a lot of fun together. But he is easily upset. When he throws a fit, Amelia reminds him “No fits, Nilson!” and patiently reframes the situation in a positive way. When Amelia throws her own gorilla-sized fit, Nilson kindly reminds her “No fits, Amelia!” As always, Zachariah OHora’s illustrations are imaginative and engaging, and the story is quirky and sweet. A delight. Gilda says: “I like when Nilson says, “No fits, Amelia!”