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
Topic – Respect, Making Friends
Book – The Crayon Box that Talked by Shane DeRolf
Grades – Pre-K through 1st grade
Synopsis – This book is a short, cute way to introduce the idea of working together and being respectful for young children. It’s ideal for a classroom lesson on respect. I do weekly lesson during the first semester for kindergarten, and this is one of the books I use. It rhymes; it has talking crayons, and a happy ending. At first the crayons do not like each other and say mean things about the other crayons. Then a little girl buys the box and takes it home. She uses the each crayon in the box to color a picture while they all watch. When she is finished the crayons see how they all contributed to make one picture and they all appreciate each other more and learn that they aren’t complete without every crayon.
Individual Counseling – I haven’t used this book for individual counseling. I have read it to small groups when they earn free time and want to read a book.
Small Group Counseling – I haven’t used this in a small group session, but you could use it for groups on respect or making friends and use the same lesson I do for classroom.
Classroom- First we read the book, which doesn’t take long. I usually start by telling the kids we are going to talk about being respectful and ask if they know what that means. Most of them do, but I will fill in the gaps some as well. After we read the book we talk about respectful language. We brainstorm what to say when we disagree with someone or want to be heard but in a respectful way. We talk about tone, and words, and how to make sure everyone is heard. Then I have them go back to their desks/tables and give them the direction that they choose only one crayon from their supplies. I make sure to remind them that they will only be using this one crayon and they cannot pick another crayon in the middle of our activity. When they have picked their crayon I then explain to them that their group they sit with (you may need to group them if they are not in desk or table groups already) is going to work together to make one picture. The rules are: you can only use the crayon you chose, everyone has to add something to the drawing, you need to come up with a plan first, and you need to use respectful language. Then I hand out one piece of paper to each group and remind them to come up with a plan first that allows everyone to contribute. Then I give about 5 minutes or so to work on their picture. I walk around and listen for respectful language and compliment whenever I hear it, in the loud I-want-everyone-to-hear-this-but-I’m-talking-to-you way we do in elementary schools. Once time is up, I have the groups share and talk about working together on a plan, any problems they had, how they solved them, etc. Their drawings are then displayed in the class. I close by reminding them how each of their crayons added something to the picture and just like crayons, they all add something special to their class.
Parents – This is just a fun book about appreciating others and showing respect. It would definitely bring up good conversation about how you can change you attitude or feelings towards something once you know more about it.