Book Review: The Way I Act

Author: Steve Metzger
Illustrations by Janan Cain
Publisher/Book Website: Parenting Press
Companion Book: The Way I Feel
Interest Level: Ages 5-9

From the Book Jacket:

Dancing! Prancing!
Running! Jumping!
Spinning like a top.
When I'm active, I feel GREAT!
And never want to stop.

So exclaims a child alive with joy in her physical self. Some children, like this one, rush headlong into their world; others, equally joyous but perhaps a little more cautious, hang back and watch for a bit. All of them, regardless of their temperament, have to choose how they will respond to the events and people in their lives.

Young school children are eager to figure out how their world works and what its "rules" are. The Way I Act is an enjoyable exploration of what it may be like to behave in certain ways. The door is opened for discussion about the consequences of behavior. In the companion book, The Way I Feel, children learned that feelings come and go and simply are. A little older now, they are ready to think about the ability they have to control how things turn out.

The Way I Act explores thirteen ways of behaving. The friendly verses and bold illustrations convey to the reader many positive ideas of how to act in a variety of situations.

Why It's On My Bookshelf: I've taken a bigger interest in teaching character education the past couple of years.  I'm noticing kids want to learn about the big behavior words like compassionate, persistent, and capable (and lets not forget it's a great way to increase their vocabulary). Thanks to this wonderful new book, The Way I Act, they also want to apply these words to their daily lives. Just yesterday, a 2nd grade boy came up to me and said, "Mrs. D, I was trustworthy when my brother asked me to stay out of his room." It's also nice to use the language back to kids like, "Thanks for following all the directions. You are very capable." The bond books create between adult and child is pretty powerful if you ask me.

Helping kids improve behavior and grow into wonderful people is something I love to be a part of and watch. I feel so lucky when I have such a fantastic book to help make that happen. The kids will delight in illustrator Janan Cain's vivid depiction of each character trait. Don't pass this one up.

A Link to This Book and Others You Might Find Helpful: 


  1. Thanks so much for spending time on "The Way I Act." Of course we at Parenting Press adore the book, and as a parent who has just survived a very long holiday break, I am so sensitive to both modeling the actions we want to see in our children, and then appreciating what behavior can result from certain traits. Bravery, for example---we like having brave kids, and we recognize that's why our daughter thinks she can take the bus ANYWHERE, at any time of day or night.

  2. Thank you for the kind review! I’m happy that the book is having the kind of response I envisioned while developing its content. Getting kids to envision ‘right’ choices and ‘right’ actions, and the vocabulary to express these ideas, is a tall order. I’m always grateful for feedback and examples of how the book is impacting education!
    Janan Cain

  3. I read "The Way I Feel" with my 3 1/2 year old son and he loves it, I think I will be picking up this book as well! It really helped him deal with his new little sister and has given him the tools to help him understand his feelings.