The Sad Book chronicles Michael’s grief at the death of his son Eddie from meningitis at the age of 19. A moving combination of sincerity and simplicity, it acknowledges that sadness is not always avoidable or reasonable and perfects the art of making complicated feelings plain.
Teaching Ideas and Resources:
- Could you write your own ‘Sad Book’ that shares things that make you sad and how you deal with this… could you make a book about a different emotion that you feel?
- Can you think of different words / phrases that describe emotions? In the book, the author describes ‘sad’ as ‘big, everywhere, all over me’. He also says that sad is ‘just a cloud that comes along and covers me up’.
- Can you write a story with a sad ending? Could you write an alternative sad ending for a story that usually ends happily? Which do you prefer?
- Look at the illustrations in the story. How has the illustrator shown ‘sad’ things?
- Can you draw a picture to show what ‘sad’ looks like? Can you draw other emotions?
- Look in the mirror and look at your different facial expressions. Can you draw some of these?
- Can you find (or compose) some music that is ‘sad’? Can you explain (using musical language) what makes it sad?
- Can you find out the translations for different emotions in other languages?
- How many different emotions can you think of?
- The first illustration shows a person who is sad but pretending to be happy. How can you tell if someone is really feeling sad?
- How can we try to make others happy if they are feeling sad?
- What things make you feel sad? What things make you happy? What things do you do when you are sad / happy?
- Carry out some role-play activities in which friends use body language and facial expressions to show different emotions. Can you tell what emotion they are trying to portray?
- Every day the author thinks of one thing that he is proud of and one thing that means he has a good time.
- Can you write a diary for a week (or longer) that records similar information about each day?
- The author remembers lots of happy times in the story. Can you tell a friend about some of your own happy memories?
- Use the resources below to discuss facial expressions that show different emotions.