You know that feeling. The one that keeps you up at night, the one that has you CONVINCED something awful has happened, the one that occupies every waking moment; it goes BEYOND worried. It is a situation that you are so concerned about that you just can’t get it out of your mind and you need help processing the situation in order to feel better. As adults, we can all relate to this feeling. In Way Past Worried, Hallee Adelman explores this feeling with children. The realistic illustrations by Sandra de la Prada help students connect to Brock, his family, and his friends.Brock, the main character, is worried about going to his friend’s birthday party because he isn’t sure if he will know anyone. He has a variety of anxiety inducing thoughts as he walks to the party and gets himself very stressed, saying that his worry, “keeps getting in the way.” After hiding from his friends at the party, Brock meets Nell, who is hiding in a tree and is experiencing the same worried feelings. They talk it out and end up having a great time together. All of my fourth graders could relate to the feeling of being “way past worried,” whether it was about a birthday party, joining a new club or activity, going to the emergency room or any other number of situations that can lead to worry for students. We spent time discussing ways that they can handle their worry and how to avoid getting, “way past worried,” in similar situations in the future. This book is a great addition to social/emotional text sets and is appropriate for all age groups.
- When I’m worried, I take a sip of water.
- I breathe in and out when I am worried.
- I like to read a good book to take my mind off my worries.
- If I am worried about something, I pet my dog.
- Going to the bathroom or asking to take a break is a good way to handle worries.
- I like to lay down and listen to music, it relaxes me when I’m worried.
- I talk to my parents or an adult when I am worried.
- When I get worried I take a deep breath and stop thinking about it so I won’t worry about it anymore. Also, I think, “what is the worst thing that could happen?” and then I realize it’s not so bad.
We have been working diligently on improving the social/emotional well being of our students and on giving them strategies for how to handle stress and worry. These fourth graders have demonstrated that they have many tools in their tool box for handling stress and worry. They can access strategies better than some adults! They also know how to help others when they are feeling down or worried. They know that sometimes all you need is a friend! These are skills that will last them a lifetime.