Since childhood, I have had a deep love of books, but it wasn’t until I became a mom that I learned how truly helpful they could be in communicating with my kids. From books about anti-racism to poetic prose, books are not only a look into magical worlds or an exploration of contemporary issues, but they can also be a parent’s biggest ally in teaching our children. And this includes teaching kids about one of their big feelings: anger.
When one of my children started expressing his anger by throwing his shoes at school and ripping up his school work, I knew that I needed to talk with his teachers and aides about ways to help him express his frustration safely and healthily. During one of our meetings, his therapist recommended we get him a few books on anger. They’d help him learn that feelings of anger are normal and offer different ways to cope with such a big emotion.
Reading about a character who is experiencing anger has helped my son see exactly how situations when anger is involved pan out. So far, I’ve found that it has helped my son not only understand what anger is but also learn several different ways to express himself in safe ways. As each character’s story unfolds, we discuss what is happening and go over what worked and what didn’t. We also have him practice what we learned. This allows him to get into the habit of using these tools. For example, when he is at school, he’s better equipped to express his anger in ways beyond hitting or throwing. Here are 11 books to aid parents in discussions with their kids about anger and how to handle it.
George has a pet dragon named Joe, who throws tantrums when things go wrong, so George uses this as an opportunity to teach Joe the importance of patience. With beautiful illustrations and a rhyming text, this picture book is a great introduction for younger children learning about anger for the first time.
This book covers a variety of emotions and is a perfect way to help children identify emotions and feel more in control. The color monster feels confused, angry, happy, and scared all at once, and to help him, a little girl shows him what each emotion means through color. As the monster understands his feelings, he feels more peaceful and self-aware.
In this adorable picture book, a dragon named Fergal does not like being told what to do and starts to snort fire when he gets angry. After one particularly difficult day, his friends and family help teach him to calm down. I love that this book shows how Fergal feels bad for losing his temper and the people around him offer a way for him to cope with his big feelings.
Also available in Spanish: Fergal Echa Humo!
Devy the monster has epic tantrums when he gets angry and frustrated when his sister has a toy he wants. It is a great way to teach children how it is normal to get angry in these relatable moments, and most importantly, it teaches them that being angry doesn’t make them bad.
Many parents need a little help with guiding their children to manage emotions like anger. I Am Stronger Than Anger has a rhyming storyline involving zoo animals that helps teach children how to recognize anger and teaches calming techniques and self-regulation in a humorous way.
Sometimes, emotions can be so big they are difficult to manage. Children experience frustrating situations every day, and this book shows them that there are fun ways to help them stay calm instead of yelling or stomping their feet. Angry Spot models breathing techniques and counting and visibly shrinks down as he manages his emotions. It is perfect for children ages 2 to 6 years old but can be helpful for older children as well.
This Little Unicorn is no ordinary unicorn—its rainbow-colored mane changes to a different color when he’s feeling a strong emotion. After his mane turns bright red when he gets angry, he remembers to do his three-step breathing exercise to help clear his mind. This book is great for children 4 to 8 years old.
This fun workbook with over 50 exercises normalizes anger and acknowledges that it can be difficult to express this emotion in a good way. It teaches kids what anger is and how it feels and provides anger-management tools and healthy habits that will help children learn how to react better in situations that upset them. This is an ideal workbook for kids ages 6 to 11.
How to Take the Grrrr Out of Anger helps children understand that anger is a normal emotion and provides sound advice using humor to teach children how to express it in healthy ways. Using illustrations and a very engaging text, it also addresses anger related to social media, texting, and societal violence. This book is perfect for children ages 8 and up.