Inside Out

Inside Out is Disney / Pixar’s big mid-year movie release.  This engaging story about a young girl and her five emotions (Joy, Disgust, Fear, Anger and Sadness) has been praised for its accurate portrayal of psychology, and its positive messages about the value of different emotions.

If the children in your life are interested in, or have enjoyed Inside Out, this can be an opportunity to discuss how to recognise and manage emotions.  Here are some additional resources, suitable for different ages, to help you further that conversation.

For the youngest children: 

When I’m Feeling Lonely by Trace Moroney (and other titles)
Trace Moroney has written a series of picture books, each focussing on a single emotion (such as anger, jealousy, kindness, love).  She uses a bunny character and lots of descriptive language to help children understand what each emotion means, and how to deal with it.    Each book also contains teaching notes written by child psychologists for carers / teachers.

My Big Shouting Day by Rebecca Patterson

My Big Shouting Day won the Roald Dahl Funny Prize and it is easy to see why.  Bella is having a Big Shouting Day because nothing seems right – it’s either too hot, too cold, too wet and even too minty!  Luckily, her very patient mum reminds Bella that everyone has those days sometimes, and that things may be better tomorrow.  Parents and children alike may giggle at the all-too-familiar situations and the increasingly frazzled expression on Mum’s face (After reading this book, my friend laughed, then ruefully said “this is not comedy, it’s documentary”).  The ending, with a cuddle and a shy apology, is upbeat and reassuring.

For early- to middle-primary:

Inside Out Driven by Emotions by Elise Allen and the Disney Book Group
This is a novelisation of the movie, aimed at junior readers.  Each of its five chapters is a retelling of the Inside Out story from the perspective of a different emotion – Joy, Anger, Fear, Disgust and Sadness.  A creative way to illustrate how different emotions can change our perception of events.

The Emotions’ Survival Guide
This non-fiction accompaniment to the Inside Out movie aims to be a survival guide for  school-aged children, with expert advice on how to recognise and deal with feelings.  Available for pre-order (to be published September 2015)

For pre-teens and teens:

Understanding Myself: a Kid’s Guide to Intense Emotions and Strong Feelings by Mary C. Lamia

Understanding Myself is written by a clinical psychologist with over 30 years’ experience.  It defines and explores 18 feelings, including love, envy, shame, loneliness and anxiety, in a supportive and non-judgmental way. Not only can this book be used by young people to understand and manage their emotions, its vocabulary offers a framework to help them articulate and discuss their concerns with peers and adults.


Don’t Let Your Emotions Run Your Life for Teens by Sheri Van Dijk

Teenagers often have to deal with new experiences and emotions that leave them feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope. This is a workbook that uses a structured approach to guide teens on how to stay calm in difficult situations, reduce the pain of intense emotions, and manage overwhelming feelings.   The techniques are based on dialectical behaviour therapy, a clinical tool designed to help change unhelpful patterns of behaviour.

About Karen Seligman

Karen Seligman is a librarian working in public libraries. As a lifelong booklover, she loves having access to a library’s worth of books! As a librarian, an important (and fun) part of her work is about connecting people to new ideas and new books. Karen is a literary magpie who can't settle on a single favourite genre – she loves narrative nonfiction, historical fantasies and food writing.