This week for Family Storytime, I read books about emotions. I noticed that most of the books out there with that theme focus on negative emotions like anger and fear, but they are some of my favorites. Here are the ones we read:
What are You So Grumpy About? by Tom Lichtenheld (Amazon.com link)
This book does a great job of illustrating the frustrations of being a kid: boring grown-up conversations that never end; trips to dull museums; bland grown-up cereals. Tom Lichtenheld takes each one to an hilarious extreme, ending with the worst: somebody making you laugh when you were trying to be grumpy, and making you forget what you were grumpy about. This one always gets laughs, from the parents as well as the kids.
My Friend is Sad by Mo Willems (Amazon.com link)
My favorite of the Elephant and Piggie books, and one of the best for very beginning readers. When Piggie sees that Gerald is sad, she tries to cheer him up by dressing as a cowboy, a clown, and a robot, but only makes him feel worse. I had the kids say the repeated “Ohhhhh”s along with Gerald. A good, funny story about friendship as well as emotion. The kids all loved it. By now they are all so familiar with Gerald and Piggie books that they couldn’t wait to get to the end page, which always has Mo Willem’s Pigeon hidden inside of one of the illustrations.
Mouse Was Mad by Linda Urban; illustrated by Henry Cole (Amazon.com link)
This is one of the best picture books about coping with anger. Mouse is so angry, he jumps up and down, stomps his feet, screams, and rolls on the ground. The problem is that other animals (hare, bear, bobcat, and hedgehog), each do those things much better, and when he tries to emulate them, he always ends up falling into a mucky mud puddle and getting even angrier. Finally, he stands still…and breathes…something he can do better than anyone else. A great way to teach an important skill for regaining calm, but taught in the context of a lively, non-preachy read-aloud. My daughter, who could teach bobcat a thing or two about screaming, loves this book, so I’m hoping its quiet lesson will rub off.
Crankenstein by Samantha Berger; illustrated by Dan Santat (Amazon.com link)
Another funny book about being grumpy. Crankenstein is a monster. When you say, “Good Morning! How are you?” he says, “MEHRRRR!” He also says “MEHRRR” to lots of other things: getting ready for school, standing in long lines, and going to bed. But then he meets another Crankenstein, who makes him laugh. The kids enjoyed joining in on the “MEHRRR’s,” and this one grabbed the attention of some of the boys who love monsters.
If You’re Happy And You Know It: I added new verses with other emotions: If you’re sad and you know it, cry ‘Boohoo!’; If you’re shy and you know it, hide your face…peek-a-boo!; If you’re grumpy and you know it, stomp your feet; etc.
INSTRUMENT PLAY WITH A CD:
My Energy by Laurie Berkner from Under a Shady Tree (Amazon.com link)
CRAFT: Emotion wheel
This was an easy craft I found on the Allen County Public Library Youth Services web site, on a page with a list of other good books and songs about emotions. I adapted it a little, and created a Word document with circles for the kids to draw faces in. You can print the template here. I also cut out arrows out of cardstock, and punched holes in them for the metal brads (I attached the arrows to the page ahead of time because that part seemed a little tricky, and the brads are a bit sharp. I just pushed them through the middle of the paper and twisted them a bit until the arrow could spin easily, then separated the metal tabs on the back of the page to hold them in place).
The kids had fun drawing in their faces. I liked that this made for a simple reading activity too, since they had to learn the emotion word (happy, sad, angry, or scared), in order to know what kind of face to draw.
The great thing about this theme is that you can really use just about any picture book and talk about the emotions the characters may be feeling.
Today I Feel Silly: And Other Moods that Make My Day by Jamie Lee Curtis; illustrated by Laura Cornell (Amazon.com link)
One of the few celebrity authors I actually like. In this book Jamie Lee Curtis explores a wide range of emotions based on situations that kids can easily relate to: feeling angry at not being included in a friend’s playdate; being sad after a fight with a friend; feeling happy at learning how to do something new. The text is simple, well-written rhymed verse, and the illustrations are whimsical and full of feeling. The book comes with an emotion wheel at the back, although I noticed the one from the library copy we have was missing.
How Are You Peeling? Foods with Moods by Saxton Freymann and Joost Eiffers (Amazon.com link)
The emotional vegetables and fruits in this book, all made from actual food, are hilarious: angry peppers, kissing strawberries, joyful peas. This is a great book for a food-themed storytime as well.
Baby Happy, Baby Sad by Leslie Patricelli (Amazon.com link)
Perfect for babies, toddlers, and beginning readers, this board book goes through all the things that make baby happy (getting an ice cream!) and sad (dropping the ice cream).
Katie Loves the Kittens by John Himmelman (Amazon.com link)
I’m including this one because it does a great job of conveying a common experience that everyone, especially young kids, can relate to: being SO excited that you rush in and do something you regret later. This story is about an adorable dog named Katie, and three little kittens. When her owner brings home three new kittens, Katie can’t contain herself: she rushes in howling and scares the kittens. Then she feels ashamed and sad. The cycle repeats several times, until she finally learns to control her excitement. The illustrations are darling (no one conveys shame better than a dog), and it’s a terrific read-aloud, with lots of opportunities for kids to howl.
Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney (Amazon.com link)
Another story all parents and kids can relate to: Llama Llama feels alone and scared in bed, while Mama Llama is on the phone downstairs. Adorable rhyming book with wonderful illustrations. Many of the other Llama Llama books (Llama Llama Mad at Mama; Llama Llama Misses Mama) would work for this theme as well.
When Sophie Gets Angry…Really Really Angry by Molly Bang (Amazon.com link) Recommended by Jeanine Asche and Erica Hohmann
Vivid colors and bold descriptions capture just how it feels to be really, really angry, and how Sophie calms down. This is a simple story about a little girl’s frustration and anger that kids can easily relate to, and one that conveys both the overwhelming feeling of rage and the fact that it eventually passes.
Grumpy Gertie by Sam Lloyd (Amazon.com link) Recommended by Shelley Jacobsen
I haven’t read this one yet, but it looks like a fun, simple way to teach kids that the face they project to the world can affect others. Gertie is determined to tell the world just how grumpy she is, until a monkey teaches her how to turn her frown upside down.
The Pout Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen; illustrated by Daniel X. Hanna (Amazon.com link) Recommended by Kim Day
Adorable rhyming story about a pouty fish, whose ocean friends all try to cheer him up, until he turns upside down and becomes a kissy fish instead.
What are your favorite books about emotions?