Keep Your Head Up

Words by Aliya King Neil

Illustrated by Charly Palmer

Sometimes the advice to “keep your head up” is harder to follow than other days. “D” is having such a day.

The “scrunchy” day begins with D oversleeping and it pretty much goes downhill from there. Readers get the impression that D is familiar with scrunchy days, as he tries to talk himself into turning the day around. But one stumble after another and D’s “Bad Day” face slips out. Eventually, he has a meltdown and off to the principal’s office he goes.

It turns out that D is quite familiar with Miss King, the principal.Her office that seems to be a gentle and safe place for a boy having a bad day. Although Miss King calls D’s parents, there’s no harsh scolding from any of the adults. D is reminded that some days don’t get better, even when you try to keep your head up. This day was particularly scrunchy and D admits that he doesn’t really want to repeat those words. But the adults in his life remind him that it’s okay as long as he wants to try.

The illustrations beautifully enhance the unfolding of D’s scrunchy day. Parents and teachers can use this book to kick off a discussion of bad moods and bad days. I love the word “scrunchy” and adults may encourage children to list words they use to describe days when everything sems to go wrong. On its own, it’s an entertaining book for children as it explores emotions without becoming preachy. I recommend this for 2nd through 5th grade students.

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