When I start visiting classrooms to read books aloud this fall, Allie All Along by Sarah Lynne Reul will be one of my top choices. It fits right into our social-emotional learning curriculum. We teach our students that however they are feeling, it’s ok to feel that way and they can use strategies to help themselves feel better. When Allie’s crayon breaks and she is suddenly “furious, fuming, frustrated, and so, so, sooo angry” her brother helps her calm down. He gives her a pillow to punch, a favorite toy to squeeze, and suggests she take deep breaths. Eventually with her brother’s help, the angry falls away and there’s just Allie, feeling sad about her crayon and asking for a hug. Many students are going to be able to relate to Allie and hopefully use her strategies when they feel angry too.
Another reason I’ll choose this book in the fall is to spotlight characters of color dealing with everyday kid things. Too often, the books we read that feature characters of color focus on issues of race and civil rights. It has become a mission of mine to find more books like “Allie All Along” so that all of my students see themselves reflected in the literature I choose to share with them.
Kids will say that they can relate to Allie. Kids will say they know how it feels to get upset and to need help calming down. Kids will say Allie’s got a great big brother, and hopefully they will say that they’ll help their friends use strategies when they need it.