Thursday, November 22, 2018

I’M SAD by Michael Ian Black & Debbie Ridpath Ohi

A perfect book to help young children understand and deal with difficult feelings! I'm so pleased these books are forming a series – the next to come is I’m Worried (check out the cover reveal on Matthew Winner's blog). I received a review copy of this book from Debbie Ridpath Ohi, who has also been my critique partner for several years now. Debbie is such a kind and generous person in the world of children's publishing and I’m so thrilled to be featuring her book on my blog today!

Summary from the publisher:

Everyone feels sad sometimes—even flamingos.


When Flamingo announces he’s feeling down, the little girl and Potato try to cheer him up, but nothing seems to work. Not even dirt! (Which usually works for Potato.)

Flamingo learns that he will not always feel this way. And his friends learn that sometimes being a friend means you don’t have to cheer someone up. You just have to stick by your pal no matter how they feel.

Even if they’re a potato.

I’m Sad was written by Michael Ian Black and illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi. It was published by Simon & Schuster  Books for Young Readers in 2018.


I’m sad.

Will I always be like this?

My Thoughts as a Writer:

This book has a definite message, but it’s presented in such a fun and matter-of-fact way that it doesn’t come across as didactic. The story connects with readers because of the universal theme of sadness as well as the kid-friendly dialogue and solutions to the problem. It’s so lovely to find a book that doesn’t present an easy solution to wrap up the problem, the way many picture books do, but instead lets the feeling sit with readers.

My Thoughts as an Educator:

I'm so thrilled to have this book as part of my classroom collection. As a kindergarten teacher, I can never have too many books about emotions and this one provides so many opportunities for discussion. It includes a few questions, such as “Why do sad things happen?” and the message that sad feelings are natural and okay. The big, expressive illustrations are perfect for read alouds. Books with a humor that have deeper layers for discussion and thought are always a big hit! 

Ages: 4 - 8

Grades: K – 3

Themes: sadness, emotions, friendship


Share: Draw a picture or tell about a time when you felt sad. Educators could collect the pictures or stories to make a class “Sad Book” or video for students to look at when they are feeling sad.

Design & Build: Could you make a hideout for flamingo and two friends to hang out in when they feel sad? What materials would you use?

Write: Make a list of things that might cheer you up when you’re feeling sad.

For more details about I'm Sad, check out Debbie Ohi's bonus page and this amazing teacher's guide created by Marcie Colleen, which is absolutely packed with great activities.

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