Recommended Age Range: 2nd grade through 5th grade.
Publisher's Summary: Anger is a part of life—but we never really talk about it. This is why, too often, kids don’t fully understand what they’re feeling or what to do about it. This book is here to help kids recognize what it means to feel angry and how to deal with and process their anger in healthy and helpful ways that might even inspire positive change.
Dr. Annie's Takeaways
Recommended for: This book is ideal for an older, verbally-oriented child who is scared of their anger and/or feels embarrassed or ashamed by their behavior when they’re angry. The book destigmatizes anger by presenting it as a valuable feeling that shows us when we’ve been hurt or that something is unfair. It teaches children strategies for managing the feeling in healthy ways (e.g. deep breaths, talking about it with someone they trust) so that they can use their anger to motivate positive change.
Would a child like it? Many children would find this book engaging and thought-provoking. It’s not a story, per se, but it’s written in an evocative style.
Tone: Serious, respectful, inspiring
Story Quality: This book speaks directly to a child with honesty and authenticity in a language that is clear and understandable. It has the feel of letting kids in on an important secret (that anger is important and not-at-all dangerous if you know how to manage it), and it challenges children to think about the nuances of this complicated feeling.
Illustrations: There aren’t any illustrations in this book, but changes in font style, size, color, and formatting contribute effectively to the meaning of the text.
Representation: The author, Fabian Ramirez, shares that he was bullied in middle school and didn’t know how to manage his anger at that time. He goes on to share how he learned to manage his anger and use it as a force for good to exert positive change. The book’s cover states that Mr. Ramirez is a professional anti-bullying speaker.
Psychological Practices: This book starts out by normalizing anger and how difficult it can be to talk about it. It then defines anger (“an emotion that comes up when people feel they’ve been hurt by a person or situation”) and provides examples of different situations that could cause the feeling (e.g., “when someone takes something from you without asking”). It shares strategies for managing anger so that it doesn’t become uncontrollable: taking deep breaths, quiet time, watching a show, drawing a picture of what’s causing the anger, and playing with a pet. It then encourages a child to “[name] your anger’s partner,” such as sadness, frustration, jealousy, fear, confusion, feeling hungry, or feeling tired, and to process their feelings by trying to understand why they’re feeling angry (e.g., “Did someone say something?”) and then talking with someone about it (or drawing them a picture, etc.). The book ends by encouraging a child to listen to their anger and speak up when something is unfair.
Concerns: At the very beginning of the book, in a list of different behaviors that often come with anger (e.g., making a fist, grinding one’s teeth, raising one’s voice), thinking “bad thoughts” is included. I’m sure this is referencing many children’s experience of having aggressive or hurtful thoughts when they’re angry, but labeling thoughts as “bad thoughts” increases the risk that a child will start to feel shame or anxiety about these thoughts. I’d clarify that no thoughts are “bad” but rather thoughts can be scary or uncomfortable or untrue.
Buy This Book: Amazon