The other night I read a new book called When Miles Got Mad to my children, ages 6 and 3. During our nighttime reading routine, we’re mostly used to titles that have to do with stories from mystical, magical fairylands, Disney princesses and cars, and one or two Clifford or Curious George books from our local library. But with this new book, I realized right away that it was something different and definitely not a story that my children and I are used to reading.
In When Miles Got Mad, the center character, Miles, gets angry and frustrated when playtime with his little brother Max doesn’t go his way. Even though he’s just a little toddler, his anger swells uncontrollably and to the point where a little red monster helps him “talk through it” until he calms down.
Sound familiar? It sure does in my household.
While my children have expressed anger in the past, it was never to the point where they would curl their fists or their cheeks would get burning hot (not yet, at least). However, I do appreciate how this book helps kids identify their own feelings and helps them figure out the cause of their anger. I can’t help but wonder though if this is the future of child literature? And if so, will we be reading more books to our young children where their emotions are personified in real-life situations rather than through fictional settings and stories?
Take a look below at other titles that also help teach children about their feelings and what to do during less-than-desirable moments (AKA those meltdowns!):
When Miles Got Mad by Sam Kurtzman-Counter 1 of 8
As mentioned above, When Miles Got Mad is a book about how young Miles tries to calm his anger down with the help of a little red monster by his side. A story that not only children can relate to, but parents too, especially during those super emotionally charged days that we encounter all too often during our parenting jaunts.
Taking a Bath with The Dog … and Other Things That Make Me Happy by Scott Menchin 2 of 8
When my children first saw the title of this book they immediately wanted to take a bath with our own dog, but I had to say, "Sorry, that's not going to happen." (And this, of course, is no matter how happy it might make them!) This book tells the story of a little girl who feels sad until she realizes that there are so many things in her life that give her complete joy and happiness. The message of this book also tells kids that yes, it's okay to feel sad sometimes, but there's always something in our lives that makes us feel happy, too.
Grumpy Bird by Jeremy Tankard 3 of 8
Forget Angry Birds because we've got one very grumpy bird here! This story is about a bird who isn't having the best of days, but luckily he's got good friends on his side to help him get rid of his grumpy state-of-mind.
Sally Simon Simmons’ Super Frustrating Day by Abbie Schiller 4 of 8
Forget toddlers, this is a book I wouldn't mind reading on those "off" days I often have myself. Surely we all have super frustrating days, but what happens when children have a hard time registering those feelings of frustration that seem to have no end? Sally Simon Simmons teaches kids that yes, days can be tough while "life doesn't always go your way, but it doesn't mean you have to break down about it." A lesson for us all.
A Little Book About Feelings by Abbie Schiller 5 of 8
Not only are the illustrations super-cute with this book, but the message behind it is meaningful and powerful as well. A Little Book About Feelings teaches toddlers about the different emotions they feel when they are sad, mad, and even happy. My 3-year-old especially loved the felt-like characters in this book.
When Sophie Gets Angry — Really, Really Angry… by Molly Bang 6 of 8
When Sophie Gets Angry — Really, Really Angry... is another book similar to When Miles Got Mad which teaches children about controlling their anger and emotions, especially when situations arise with their siblings and friends that lead to battles over sharing toys and other belongings.
A Little Book About Friendship by Samantha Kurtzman-Counter 7 of 8
I'll admit that book wasn't really my favorite, although my children enjoyed it thoroughly. A Little Book About Friendship is about an animated lion and sheep and the different stages of their friendship which include sharing, caring, and of course apologizing to each other when things go wrong. From an adult perspective, I think the book could have done better with an actual plot about friendship, but my children loved reading it nonetheless.
Casey Caterpillar Feels Left out by Samantha Kurtzman-Counter 8 of 8
I'll admit that the title of this book struck a particular cord with me personally because really, how many times as a parent have you felt left out in adult situations? "Fitting in" is a daunting task that we have to deal with as both professionals and parents. Casey Caterpillar Feels Left out teaches our children that hurt that comes from being left out, and the only way we can overcome this is if we share our feelings about it. The book does an excellent job of teaching empathy through relatable characters and situations.
Photos via Author’s Own/Amazon
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