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Reviewed by Lois Henderson for Readers' Favorite
In Now I’m Really Mad: A Story about Controlling Anger, a picture book written by J.J. Shegog and illustrated by Muhammad Tahir, a little Black girl, Rita, has a problem controlling her temper. She is reprimanded by her parents for being mean to her younger sister, Mariah, who annoys her by always following her about and wanting to play with her. Expressing her anger by screaming, shouting, and crying doesn’t seem to work, and she is made even more anxious by her guilty feelings about a piece of cake that she has hidden under her bed. After being sent early to bed, Rita’s parents give her sound advice on how to control her outbursts of rage, including that she should count to ten and put good thoughts inside her head. Now I’m Really Mad ends with a list of what kids can do when someone makes them angry and with a list of affirmations to say to help keep calm.
J.J. Shegog’s Now I’m Really Mad: A Story about Controlling Anger is the first in a series of books called Jair’s Collections, with “Water your mind, read” as its guiding principle. Shegog, who used to be a teacher in the Chicago-area charter schools, started the series in response to her growing awareness that the learners whom she encountered at school were often negatively affected by behavioral and emotional issues. I enjoyed the clear way in which Shegog describes the situation and problem involved, with empathy for all concerned, and how tangible and doable the proposed solution is, both for adults and for children. Now I’m Really Mad is, in brief, a practical, hands-on guide to positive living for all, no matter your age, and is well worth acquiring.