Everyone gets angry at times, but some children really struggle to regulate their own emotions and control their anger. Truthfully, sometimes adults have difficulty with this, too! Amanda Robinson, LPC, RPT recently published a children’s workbook designed to help children learn to identify and manage their anger, as well as express it in healthy ways. Today, she shares with us her top recommendations for children’s story books that discuss anger.
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When Sophie Gets Angry…Really Really Angry – Molly Bang
Sophie is asked to share a toy with her sister, and is very unhappy about that! We see what happens when her anger grows and grows – and we also get to see how it looks when she finds calm again. Includes vibrant illustrations and discusses strategies for calming down. (Sophie does run away from home when she’s angry, which some parents may worry will set a bad example.)
Angry Octopus: Children Learn How to Control Anger, Reduce Stress and Fall Asleep Faster written by Lori Lite, illustrated by Max Stasuyck
When the title character gets frustrated, a sea child shows him steps to take to lower his stress and calm his anger. Children “play along” by participating in the breathing and muscle relaxation exercises. Fun, engaging way for children to learn how to self-soothe.
The Angry Dragon Michael Gordon
Joe the pet dragon gets angry when things don’t go his way or he doesn’t get what he wants. His friend George shows him how to effectively communicate and find calm again. It’s a quick story with valuable lessons and cute illustrations.
I Was So Mad by Mercer Mayer
Little Critter is having a bad day and encounters multiple situations that frustrate him, like being told no. Eventually, he learns that even the grumpiest of moods will pass. This is a sweet, funny story that validates feelings while also teaching that they’re only temporary.
Llama Llama Mad at Mama – Anna Dewdney
Llama Llama has to go to the store with his mama, and his patience gradually wears thin. Pretty soon, he’s having a big tantrum! Mama helps him calm down, and then they solve the problem together. It’s a very relatable for kids, and includes the natural consequence of Llama Llama being asked to clean up the mess he made during his tantrum.
Amanda Robinson, LPC, RPT is a psychotherapist and play therapist in private practice in Austin, Texas. She specializes in helping children overcome anxiety, trauma, and behavior challenges so that they can feel better, reach their full potential, and form healthy relationships with their family and peers. Amanda is also trained in both Child-Parent Relationship Therapy and Positive Discipline, and regularly works with parents to help them more calmly and effectively respond to difficult child behaviors. She is the author of Anger Management Skills Workbook for Kids, and maintains a blog on children’s mental health and parenting on her website.
If you know of another book we need to review or an expert willing to share their favorite resources, let us know here or tell us about it in the comments. Make sure you’re also following The Therapist’s Bookshelf on Facebook and Instagram.
Many therapists enjoy recommending books to their clients to supplement the work they are doing together. We also use books to help ourselves grow as people and practitioners. Remember though that books are never a replacement for real human connection or for therapy when it’s needed. If you find yourself needing a therapist, a great place to start is Psychology Today. If you are having thoughts of hurting yourself or someone else, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.