The best books about anger

Many authors have picked their favorite books about anger and why they recommend each book.

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Hands Are Not for Hitting

By Martine Agassi, Marieka Heinlen (illustrator),

Book cover of Hands Are Not for Hitting

This book provides simple words and warm illustrations to reinforce the concepts that violence is never okay and that toddlers and preschoolers can learn to manage their anger without hitting. I appreciate the gentle, yet straightforward way it addressed the unacceptable behavior while offering positive things to do with your hands like hugging, helping, and shaking. The illustrations are colorful, playful, and age-appropriate. Young children adore this book and ask to listen to it again and again. As a bonus, at the end, the author included additional tips for parents and caregivers about how to handle unsafe hitting.

Who am I?

As an internationally respected discipline expert, I guide parents in how to get more compliance than defiance from their little ones. I coined the phrase “The Dance of Non-Compliance” between parent and child. In order to change the dance, the parent will usually have to change his/her dance step first. It is often impossible during the heat of the moment, to teach ‘the lesson’ to the child due to the agitated emotional state of both parent and child. A well-executed picture book, appropriately written and illustrated for young children's developmental thinking ability, can open the door for a meaningful discussion regarding their misbehavior and feelings.

I wrote...

The Pocket Parent

By Gail Reichlin, Caroline Winkler,

Book cover of The Pocket Parent

What is my book about?

The Pocket Parent is a classic, trusted A to Z  compendium, with over 200,000 copies in print and 17 translated editions worldwide. Just turn to the misbehavior that's driving you crazy to get some fast, bulleted sanity-saving suggestions to try along with a good dose of humor and compassion from the authors.

Communication is the key to solving all problems. Yet, in the heat of the moment, on one of those really bad days when your child becomes 'parent deaf', you may find yourself losing your mind... yelling, threatening, bribing, and criticizing in a way you’d never speak to your worst enemy. Although a parent’s job is to stop the undesirable/unsafe behavior immediately, that moment is the least effective time for both a parent to teach, or a young child to learn a lesson. 
Calmly revisiting the situation later with appropriate discussion makes way for a successful plan for next time. The Pocket Parent guides you every step of the way ;-)


By Carol Zisowitz Stearns, Peter N. Stearns,

Book cover of Anger: The Struggle for Emotional Control in America's History

Many historians before the Stearnses thought it would be good to study the emotions of the past, but this book on anger was the first to offer a rigorous and satisfying technique for doing so. By carefully researching the advice books offered to middle-class Americans in the nineteenth through twentieth centuries, the authors show how standards for emotional expression changed over time. Emotional standards are in fact key to understanding how different groups at different times evaluate their emotions, understand their uses, and feel their mental and physical impact.

Who am I?

I am a writer, teacher, and researcher who has always been interested in my own emotions and those of others. But I decided to write about the emotions of the past only after I became a historian of the Middle Ages. My discoveries began with the early medieval period. Now I enjoy looking at the full sweep of Western history. I have come to realize that at no time did we all share the same feelings nor evaluate them the same way. Instead, we live and have always lived in “emotional communities” with others who share our feelings—and alongside still others who do not. I hope my booklist will pique your interest in this new and exciting field.

I wrote...

Love: A History in Five Fantasies

By Barbara H. Rosenwein,

Book cover of Love: A History in Five Fantasies

What is my book about?

My book is about love, of course. But I argue that it is not one feeling but many—a welter of emotions that are both complicated and bewildering. We make sense of love with stories, fantasies that help us shape our feelings and give them meaning. In my book, I explore five of our longest-enduring fantasies of love: like-mindedness, transcendence, obligation, obsession, and insatiability.

Understanding the seductive allure of these five fantasies and how they have changed over time helps us see, enjoy, and perhaps better deal with our own feelings.

When Sophie Gets Angry-Really, Really Angry

By Molly Bang,

Book cover of When Sophie Gets Angry-Really, Really Angry

This book is spot-on for children dealing with emotions. (And what child isn’t dealing with emotions??) The story revolves around a relatable situation: Sophie has a tantrum after her sister takes a toy. It doesn’t diminish or sugar-coat Sophie’s anger. Kids will identify with Sophie as she explodes, then runs into the woods. Her anger resolves through mindfulness—very helpful for kids when they have tantrums. The natural world comforts Sophie and she returns home in a calm mood, ready to be with her family, who welcomes her home. Ultimately, this is a reassuring story of unconditional love.

Who am I?

I have always been an artist and avid reader, but my passion for picture books began while reading them with my children. That passion grew into a career as an author/illustrator. For me, the best picture books speak honestly and with integrity. They affirm children’s feelings and help them deal with those feelings. Children are incredibly perceptive and unflinchingly honest. All of my picture books are different, but honest emotions are at their core. After I lost my husband—and my children lost their father—I experienced firsthand how strong and emotionally complex children are. I believe the books on my list effectively and honestly address children’s feelings, and are wonderful resources for caregivers.

I wrote...

Little Grump Truck

By Amanda Driscoll,

Book cover of Little Grump Truck

What is my book about?

When Little Dump Truck is in a good mood, she's the happiest member of her construction crew. But when things don't go her way, she becomes Little Grump Truck. This bright, playful book shows kids that meditation and mindfulness can banish even the most serious case of the grumpies. 

"Should appeal to all the little grump trucks hauling their feelings about." – Kirkus Reviews

How to Take the Grrrr Out of Anger

By Elizabeth Verdick, Marjorie Lisovskis,

Book cover of How to Take the Grrrr Out of Anger

While this book isn’t specifically about anxiety or stress, many kids react to both by becoming more irritable and easily angered. Learning strategies to tame their anger can go a long way to making their relationships more harmonious. Turning anger into positive power by learning to be assertive and resolve conflict is an awesome skill that will serve kids well into their adult years.  

Who am I?

Let’s face it—kids’ anxiety has gone through the roof over the last two years since the start of the pandemic. Not being able to play with friends, participate on sports teams, or even have sleepovers has had an impact. For kids, play is one of their main ways to relieve stress.  Here are my five go-to books for kids dealing with anxiety, worries, and stress. 

I wrote...

What to Do When You're Scared and Worried: A Guide for Kids

By James J. Crist,

Book cover of What to Do When You're Scared and Worried: A Guide for Kids

What is my book about?

I wrote this book back in 2004. My goal was to take what we know about anxiety in adults, its causes, and treatments, and bring it down to a child’s level. Learning about how your brain is wired to react quickly when it thinks you’re in danger has kept us safe for thousands of years. Changing your thoughts, desensitizing yourself to things you fear, and practicing relaxation techniques all help kids feel better and reduce their anxiety.  

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