When Sophie Gets Angry is a great book for early learners about anger and what anger looks and feels like. The main character, Sophie, gets angry with her sister over a toy. She then runs out of her house and cries, and calms down, and decides to go back. The pictures do a wonderful job at showing anger, which is so important for young children to see. Showing children what anger looks like normalizes the feeling and helps them learn that feeling anger is okay. In the end, Sophie returns home and everyone is happy to see her and welcome her with a hug. The ending is amazing because instead of getting punished or everyone being upset with her for her tantrum, they are happy to see her. I love the bright colors and lines of the illustrations. They are simple enough children don’t get lost in them, but complex enough to say all the things the text doesn’t.
With individual students in Pre-K through 1st grade, I will use this book to start the conversation about anger. We read it, and then I ask them to draw a picture of what their anger looks like. I will usually turn back to the pages of Sophie getting very angry to show them. I always draw how my anger looks too. This shows them that it’s okay to get angry because everyone does! After we talk about their drawing and I ask them to tell me about what anger feels like when they feel it, we then move onto the calm down part. We re-read the section where Sophie calms down and I ask them to think about what helps them calm down. Many of them will say crying or being alone, but I push for something more concrete they can do like lay on their bed or hug a favorite animal, like Sophie does, and have them draw or write it. Then we talk about what not to do when we are angry. This usually involves hitting, kicking, biting, screaming, etc. I ask the student to think about how their anger can hurt others, and then ask them to think about their calm down drawing and ask if that hurts anyone. Hopefully they see the difference and gain some self-awareness and start to take responsibility for their actions. I’ve had to do this lesson a few times with students. I will keep copies of the pictures to bring out for future meetings.
The same lesson can be done with a small group. The discussion is usually pretty good when kids talk about anger in a small group, so be prepared for lots of storytelling!
Topic – Anger
Book – When Sophie Gets Angry – Really, Really Angry… by Molly Bang
Ages – Pre K through 1st
Use for – Individual Counseling, Group Counseling, Classroom Lessons, Parents