Magination Press’s new series of activity books, The Find Out Files, help kids explore emotions and relationships.
Magination Press interviewed authors, Isabelle Filliozat and Virginie Limousin, about creating My Anger, one of the books in The Find Out Files.
Magination Press: In another Find Out Files book, My Emotions, you identified seven different emotions to explore. Why did you decide to write a whole book about anger?
Isabelle Filliozat: We wanted one on each and every emotion. Anger was the first, because it’s the first thing parents are concerned about and we wanted to arm parents with empathy rather than unhelpful responses when their child gets angry or has a tantrum. People tend to have a moral judgement about anger, because many confuse it with violence or a power play.
Virginie Limousin: Children are immature and often respond with tantrums that are often misinterpreted by adults, who may respond clumsily. Parents may find themselves overwhelmed by their own emotional reactions. So this book provides parents with an understanding of anger (provides a certain emotional literacy to anger). The idea of the activity book is both simple explanations of anger—this natural physiological reaction of our body—and easy techniques for children to tame this emotion while allowing them to express it because it is very useful in our lives.
MP: Why did you choose Parrot to be the animal guide for My Anger?
VL & IF: There is the parrot and the professor Angrius to give information. The parrot is coming from the air, he is non judgemental.
Professor Angrius (Colérius) is the main guide throughout the find out file. He is small and has hair like Einstein’s and wears large glasses to suggest he has read books and knows a lot. The parrot is one of his collaborators. The parrot has worked with him for so long that he can repeat everything the Professor has discovered during his research 😉
MP: Tell us about the oxygen cloud elevator tool. What inspired it?
VL: Anger is an emotion that can be difficult to regulate. Sometimes it makes us want to hit, throw, or scream. Focusing a few moments on our breathing allows us to oxygenate our brain and not react impulsively. An emotion is like a cloud passing in the sky, it is temporary. And just as we contemplate the clouds, we need to be able to observe our emotion to understand what they are telling us.
MP: You include lots of activities in the book: crafts, quizzes, drawing opportunities. Why did you incorporate stickers in all The Find Out Files books?
IF: We wanted to get children as active as possible and offer them fun tools. Children learn when they are enthusiastic and feel in control of their learning. Most children love stickers. And those are colorful and fun. We wanted children to be able to associate anger with love, colors, and fun, so that they stop thinking it is a bad emotion and can make friends with it.
What is your favorite activity in My Anger?
VL: I particularly like the activities offered by Miss Mov, the octopus, because they work best with younger children to express and release their anger. Talking about emotion takes more skill and is therefore the next step. The more we offer young children tools adapted to their physiology, the more we offer progression in the expression of emotion, and the more we allow them to integrate emotional regulation into their present and future lives.
MP: Our culture teaches boys and girls to express anger differently, boys with aggression and girls not at all. How does that make it hard for kids and adults to express their anger in a healthy way?
VL & IF: Neither aggression nor repressing anger is good for the health. Our bodies naturally seek balance and good health, calming down to restore and rebalance internal systems. Expressing emotion is part of the natural process of solving problems and learning to calm down. But, yes the social image is powerful and we all have a tendency to submit ourselves to social standards. Even if we don’t want to make a difference between boys and girls, we often unconsciously comply with societal expectations. That is why we have to learn about the natural flow of the emotion and how to welcome it naturally regardless of gender.
MP: Why is it important for kids to be able to identify anger and understand the difference between anger and aggression?
VL & IF: Anger helps dealing with frustration. We use anger to fight for justice, to set our limits, to defend our properties, our territory, our physical and emotional bodies, and to install our values.
When there is violence, it is often because the anger hasn’t come to awareness or has no room to be expressed or heard.
Being angry means assuming one’s responsibility.
Being violent starts by projecting on others the responsibility of the problem.
When you are aggressive, others don’t listen to your feelings, they protect themselves.
MP: Sometimes we feel angry as a result of feeling another powerful emotion like fear, disappointment, or sadness. That mix of emotions can be overwhelming. How can people sort out and manage all those big feelings at the same time?
VL & IF: It’s a whole life training! That is why we want children to start early to develop their emotional intelligence.
Emotional intelligence allows us to step back and sort out our emotional reactions and what triggers them. Dr. Lisa Feldman Barrett underlines how we don’t regulate our emotions by ourselves. Our parents first, then other people around us help us regulate our emotions. Our brains are interconnected and contact with a loved one lowers pain, and tempers and regulates stress. Empathy is really the key. We humans deeply need to be welcomed into our emotional lives by others. This is what will move us forward in our emotional process. If I am accepted unconditionally with what I am going through, it will bring me a kind of relief from the tension that will allow me to go through the first emotional reaction to access the next, and so on.
Watch Isabelle Filliozat describe all the books in the Find Out Files in this video.
Related Books from Magination Press
The Find Out Files: My Anger
This useful activity book will help kids understand that getting angry is a normal part of life. It may be a bit uncomfortable at times, but it’s OK if kids need to be mad!
Children will explore anger through fun activities coupled with humorous illustrations and will discover what it means to be angry, why it happens to everyone, and how to better handle it.
Allowing children to work through their anger will help them better understand themselves, others, and the world. It will help them establish their sense of self and self-confidence.
Includes Readers Note written for adults with information tools and tips for exploring the topic with their children.