CAMERAY BOOK RECOMMENDATION: MAYA WAS GRUMPY
Maya Was Grumpy is a children’s story written and illustrated by Courtney Pippin-Mathur. As the title suggests, the book is about a girl named Maya who spreads her grouchy mood around the house, affecting those around her. After a while, Maya’s grandma shows Maya all the fun things they could be doing – if only she was in a better mood. This starts to rub off on Maya, after learning she’ll miss out on swinging with the monkeys, bathing baby elephants, and hunting for hippos. Although Maya shrugs it off at first, with an “I didn’t want to do that anyway” growl, she slowly comes around and realizes that she can improve her own mood by doing fun stuff with her grandma.
This story is funny and entertaining, because it mixes fantasy with reality. Maya feels grouchy and grumpy at home, but it is grandma’s ridiculously silly suggestions for play activities that make her laugh and get out Maya out of her grumpy mood. We recommend Maya Was Grumpy for kids aged 4 and up.
How can parents use this book?
Maya Was Grumpy can be used as a jumping off point for talking with your children about their moods, such as how our moods affect us and the people around us. Kids (and adults, too) aren’t immune to waking up on the wrong side of the bed every now and then. What we can change is how we deal with our moods. Having some self-regulating skills can help us know when our mood is upsetting or “rubbing off on” our family members and friends. Some of these skills could be seen as advanced depending on your child’s age; try your best to be patient with the process, or just go in small steps.
Some ideas: suggest something fun and relaxing to take their mind off their morning blues, go for a short walk with your child to clear their mind, or try some deep breathing. All of these can be done at home and don’t require materials. Being present and validating your child’s feelings can go a long way, too. For example, “Looks like you’re feeling pretty crabby today. Want to go play outside?” could be one easy way to stop the poor mood from lasting the rest of the day. It won’t always be so simple, but it can be a good start.