Hello and welcome to Wanda Luthman’s Book Blog!
Today, I’m bringing you a book about emotions and a big one at that…anger!
It’s so difficult to deal with our children’s anger, but so very important for us as parents, grandparents, teachers to teach children how to identify and handle their emotions, especially this one.
Here’s some more information about her, her book, and an insightful Q&A
Critically acclaimed writer, Sandra V. Feder, and award-winning illustrator, Rahele Jomepour Bell, create an artful starting point for conversations about strong feelings
What follows are resonant vignettes of our young girl being faced with hurtful, frustrating and overwhelming situations that feel especially intense to someone who has so little experience with them. The book is an excellent starting point for conversations about anger — important to have at any age.
Feder’s compassionate and gentle prose pairs intimately with vivid illustrations by Rahele Jomepour Bell, holding a powerful space for young readers to accept, reflect and take a breath when this emotion overtakes them.
Angry Me is a quiet antidote for children (of all ages).
Q & A with Sandra V. Feder
What inspired you to write Angry Me?
While each of my own three daughters taught me something about anger, one definitely had easier access to her anger than the others. When she was 4 and misbehaved, I sent her to her room and told her to think about what she had done. She put her little hands on her hips and said, “You think about it, Mommy!” I wanted to giggle and give her a high five — way to stick up for yourself little person — but I also knew I had to be clear about the rules in our home.
After more battles, a wise friend told me something that was one of the inspirations for this book. She said: The thing that can be hardest for you as a parent may be one of your child’s greatest strengths. So true! My child, who did not go quietly and contritely to her room, was a challenge. But her anger has served her well — she sticks up for herself and can’t turn a blind eye to the injustices of the world. I love that about her.
How are you hoping this book will empower kids?
Young children often feel that adults and older siblings rule the world and no one understands how they feel. It can be really frustrating! They lack authority in the family or classroom and may lack the words to express complex emotions. While anger might burst out at a certain moment, there often are underlying feelings like frustration, fatigue, hurt feelings, and even sadness.
For example, in the book the child is frustrated at not being able to finish a puzzle, has hurt feelings because her friends have left her out, and experiences anger at the death of a grandparent. While anger is a normal part of the grieving process, we may not help children develop the vocabulary they need to express it.
What did you learn about helping your kids process their anger?
I tried to get them to use their words. Despite the current cultural climate where angry outbursts lead to more clicks, I think most of us want our children to know how to deal with their angry feelings now and as they grow.
However, words don’t always work. This is especially true for children because of the inherent power imbalance in their worlds and the fact that they don’t have the vocabulary adults or older children possess. So, in the book, I show examples of words working and not working for this angry little girl. And I also show how when words do work — her own words as well as the comforting words of others — she begins to feel better.
Why was it important for you to be involved in your children’s schools and to help found a school?
It has always been important to me to help young people have a voice and to find what forms of expression work well for each individual, whatever stage of life they’re at. That’s one reason I was involved for many years in my children’s schools and helped found a new high school that emphasizes creative problem-solving skills. We all need multiple tools for self-expression.
Was it important that this character be a girl?
Yes, that was very important to me. I’m happy that we’re in a time when gender distinctions are less important, but certainly when I was growing up — and my daughters as well — anger was an emotion more tolerated in boys and men than girls and women.
If a little boy lashed out on the playground — no one thought anything about it. Boys being boys. But if a girl did that, she was told her reaction is too much — that it’s not OK to be angry. I think we’re still, as a society, grappling with gender differences when it comes to expressions of anger, and I think feminine anger is still less tolerated.
Do you have a favorite part of this book?
As a writer for children, I wanted to make sure that this book ended on a hopeful note. So, my favorite part of this one is the final spread, when our angry protagonist is shown drawing angry scrawls on a paper and she talks about anger bursting out. “But then, it’s gone,” she says, “And then, I have room for a new feeling. One that feels much better.” And here, the illustrator has shown her happily dripping paint onto a paper — her face and body language full of joy again.
That’s really the message I wanted to convey — that anger is real and normal — but like other feelings it, too, passes and then we have room for a new feeling.
SANDRA V. FEDER is the author of two picture books and three early chapter books. Angry Me is her sixth book.
Bitter and Sweet, illustrated by Kyrsten Brooker, was a PJ Library selection and was chosen by the New York City Board of Education for inclusion in its Mosaic Diversity Program. The Moon Inside, illustrated by Aimée Sicuro, has been translated into multiple languages. Sandra is also the author of the early chapter books Daisy’s Perfect Word, Daisy’s Defining Day and Daisy’s Big Night, illustrated by Susan Mitchell.
Sandra is a graduate of Stanford University and is an MFA candidate in the Writing for Children and Young Adults program at the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She is a black belt in Taekwondo, likes to paint, and has a sweet tooth — particularly for dark chocolate. Sandra lives with her husband in Northern California.
I think this book has incredible value for everyone with children. I hope you will pick one up for the child in your life! You can pre-order the ebook from Amazon here
As always, likes, comments, and shares are appreciated!
Stay safe, everyone