Grin and Bear it

Grin and Bear It

Title:  Grin and Bear It

Author:  Leo Landry

Description:  Bear wants to be a comedian but suffers from stage fright.  He and his friends come up with a creative solution to his dilemma.


  • understanding humor
  • reading non-verbal communication through body language and facial expressions
  • gaining comfort in learning that many people get nervous
  • problem solving
  • inferencing and predicting
  • handling discouragement and failure
  • valuing friendship from giver and receiver perspectives
  • understanding theory of mind

Why I liked this book:  The bear with stage fright is relatable to kids and adults of all ages.  When Bear is embarrassed, his friends help him problem solve rather than laugh at him.  The first four chapters are titled:  A Dream, A Plan, Ready, and Showtime depicting steps we want our kids to follow for any challenging assignment or task.  The illustrations make me want to hug this book!

Ideas for this book: 

  • Read the 7 short chapters over a period of several days to allow time to explore all this book has to offer.  Discuss the steps to accomplishing something that the kids want.  Have them create the idea, make a plan, and prepare before diving in.
  • Discuss words and terms like “stage fright”, “embarrassed”, “rehearse”, and “nervous”.  This is a great opportunity to also discuss physiological responses to anxiety and ways to help decrease it through deep breathing, yoga, visualization, and other ideas.
  • When Bear falls apart, ask the kids to offer suggestions on how to solve his problem.  What should he do?  Give up?  Try again?  How could he be more successful the next time?
  • Discuss what good friends would do if they saw someone struggling like Bear.
  • Have kids practice and tell jokes to one another.  It’s a great way to help them understand humor both through spoken words and body language.  What makes a joke funny?
  • As always, I love having kids act out stories and this is a great one for that.

Submitted by:  Jill Perry, MHA, MS, OTR/L

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The Bear Next Door

Book:  The Bear Next Door

Author: Ida Luttrell

Age: Early Elementary, Elementary

Description: This early reader chapter book consists of 3 chapters depicting the relationship of a gopher and his new next door neighbor who is a bear. Gopher and bear learn how to be good neighbors and friends to each other, but have some bumps along the way.


  • Perspective Taking
  • Theory of Mind
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Social Language
  • Trickery

Why I like this book: For struggling readers, this is a great “chapter book” with pictures to break up the text.

Ideas for use:

  • A great story for perspective taking. Chapter 3 provides a perfect “theory of mind” opportunity. Help children understand what 1 characters knows, that the other doesn’t. Use thinking bubbles (cut out of paper, use a white board, etc.) above characters heads to discuss their thoughts and why. If this is really challenging, “act out” the story to help with understanding.
  • A great story for reading comprehension when you want somewhat lengthier level text. Read to children and follow up with comprehension questions. Can try with and without pictures support.
  • Have a discussion about how to be a good neighbor. What is important to think about? Chapter 1 would be a good example of how behavior affects others. Tie in with Michelle Garcia Winner’s Social Thinking © curriculum (, and use the Social Behavior Maps. What was “unexpected” that the Gopher did (i.e. put his sprinkler on right by Bear’s furniture), how that affected others (Bear’s furniture was wet, he was covered in mud, etc.), how that made Bear feel (frustrated), the conquences (Bear is angry, doesn’t want to spend time with Gopher, etc.), and the affects on Gopher himself (feels terrible).

Submitted by: Meghan G. Graham M.S. CCC-SLP

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