The Way I Feel by Janan Cain - Teaching Ideas

The Way I Feel is a fabulous book for exploring feelings. Why do you get sad or scared? What makes you happy or excited? What do you do if you become shy or angry? This book will help students recognize these feelings, and to see that everyone has the same feelings, and probably for the same reasons.

This is a must have book for every library!

Because this book is not a story, there are not many skills and strategies to use, but there are a few. The main focus of this book is feelings, who has them, how do you get them and what do you do with them. 

Reading level: 2.9 
Theme/subject: feelings/emotions
Genre: fiction

Reading skills and strategies:
  • Author's point of view – First person. Be sure to find 3 pieces of evidence to support this.
  • Author's purpose – entertain/inform {evidence} The book give examples of different feelings and reason why you might feel that way and how you might deal with that feeling.
  • Cause and effect – Why did she feel silly? Because she made a funny face and wears goofy clothes. Why does she feel scared? Because of the thunder and lightning. Why is she disappointed? Because her friend couldn’t come play. Why does he cry? Because he is sad. Why does she frown and growl? Because she was angry. Why was the boy thankful? Because someone fixed his truck. Why does she feel like giving up? Because she is frustrated. Why does she suddenly feel shy? Because someone waves and says hello to her. Why is he bored? Because there is nothing to do. Why is she jealous? Because she doesn’t want to take turns.
  • Classify & categorize – Classify feelings – categorize feelings that put you in a good mood and ones that put you in a bad mood.
  • Connections - {possible text-to-self connections} Connecting to any of the feelings or moods that are in the book.
  • Main idea & details - {main idea} The story is mostly about your feelings. {details} happy, sad, loud, frustrated, etc.
  • Strong thought – The book shows many feelings and reasons why the characters feel that way. Pick a feeling from the book and write about something that makes you feel that way.
  • Theme – feelings change all the time. 
  • Visualize – The characters in this story showed many different feelings and moods. Visualize yourself being stressed out. What makes you feel stressed and what do you do to “de-stress”.

I created a packet of activities to go with this book that focus on feelings.

Happy Reading!


  1. I love this book and just used its sequel - The Way I Act - in small group counseling yesterday. The illustrations in both are delightfully colorful and engaging. Your follow-up enrichment activities and suggestions are fabulous as always!


    1. Thanks Barbara! I don't have The Way I Act, but it is on my wish list now. I love the illustrations in this book, they really are what drew me to it, and the kids love them too!
      Enjoy your week!

  2. I am your newest follower and I wish I could have been at the meet-up yesterday to meet you. I love this book and can't wait to get it. I am always looking for books because it is an easy way for kids to make connections. Thanks for suggesting ways to use it also.
    First Grade by the Sea

    1. Hi Pauline,
      I am so sorry you couldn't make it to the meet up :( There is always the next one. I think the illustrations help the kids connect, they are so bright and colorful.
      Enjoy your week!

  3. Hi Shawna,

    I want to thank you for the wonderful review you wrote of my book, The Way I Feel! The activity packet you created to accompany the book is a great idea. I imagine your students are learning quite a bit about expressing their emotions.

    I recently created a set of emotion posters based on The Way I Feel. I feel it's important to remind children that feelings are always present, that they can't be "put back on the shelf."

    Thanks again for the wonderful review. I'm honored you chose my book!

    My best,
    Janan Cain

    1. Hi Janan,

      Thank you so much for taking the time to comment on my blog. I must say that I am completely surprised and thrilled that you found me.

      I love this book, it really is a great one for helping students know how to deal with all of their feelings. Books that show feelings, character traits, and values are my favorite books to teach with. If I can get a character lesson in while teaching cause and effect, beginning, middle, end, and sequencing, I am one happy girl.

      Please keep the books coming! :)

      Your forever fan,


Thoughts and comments are always welcome!