Ups and Downs

An important, engaging, practical book for young people (and their important adults).

All feelings are important – the magical, the messy, and the in-between. Sometimes though, big feelings can have us behaving in ways that aren’t so, let’s say … shiny. This happens to all of us. The more young people understand how and why, the more they can build the capacity to feel their feelings and manage them in positive ways.

‘Ups and Downs’ draws on Polyvagal Theory, a widely accepted neuroscientific theory, to support young people to understand why they feel and do as they do, and how to do differently when they need to. Driving brains and bodies isn’t easy! It takes time, experience, and the right information – so let’s give them that.

Who is ‘Ups and Downs’ for?

  • Kids 5-12.
  • Teens 13 and up.
  • Parents.
  • Teachers.
  • Counsellors, psychologists, therapists.
  • Any adult with a young person in their life.
  • Anyone who loves picture books.
  • Anyone who thinks they’re too old for picture books.
  • Anyone who gets anxious, angry, sad, happy and who wants to understand (and better manage) feelings and behaviour.
  • Anyone with a head.
  • Everyone else.
(27 customer reviews)

From: USD $13.98

From: USD $13.98

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27 reviews for Ups and Downs

  1. Sarah 🐴😁🐴 (verified owner)

    A beautifully written and illustrated book which expressively explains feelings and changing moods. Bought this beautiful book as a resource for my Equine Assisted Learning business.

  2. Tammp (verified owner)

    Great incorporation of the Polyvagal Theory both through explicit instruction and illustrations. Thanks!

  3. Kate (verified owner)

    Another beautifully written and illustrated book to add to our collection! I bought this to help my 10yr old and to see her lightbulb moment when she read the book was amazing. She could not only express and identify the floor she has been living on but could see what strategies she could use and how everything she has been feeling is normal. Highly recommend this book and the others in the series.

  4. Pippa

    As always a great book from Karen Young. The perfect addition to the Hey Sigmund family.

  5. SandyP (verified owner)

    Karen’s books are always favorites with my child clients and their families, and this is no exception. What a fun way to learn about our brains and self-regulation!

  6. Niki (verified owner)

    We are truly enjoying the approach of the polyvagal theory! Our son is 10, and I thought the book may be a little too young for him. However, he’s loving the scientific explanations. He’s emotionally intelligent and is able to relate to so many of the ‘triggers’. I found this book online from Canada after some research into resources to help support my son with emotional regulation – particularly anger. After reading the book once, we’ve confirmed we are very similar when it comes to sliding down to the middle floor. It’s been an enlightening and bonding experience – I’m so pleased to have come across this incredible resource!

  7. Leah T (verified owner)

    This is a beautifully, explained and illustrated book building on emotional regulation and polyvagal theory. This is an incredible resource for educators of primary aged students and families with younger children. Though, I honestly have been using the images of Karen Young’s house model with my older students as well. In addition, the tools for managing big feelings are skills that work for everyone! I recommend this book any classroom or bookshelf at home.

  8. Miriam L (verified owner)

    Great for younger and primary-aged children. Not so sure about teens and adults. Love the visual depiction of moods. A potentially complex subject simplified in this presentation – and it IS possible to choose to move from one level of emotion to another – this book helps understand how.

  9. Lori O

    Ups and Downs does an amazing job explaining the complexities of polyvagal theory through text and illustrations. This resource is a wonderful tool to for children (and adults) to help understand the human experience and the big feelings that go along with being human. The book offers common language for children to use to help normalize what they are experiencing and offers tools to help navigate this vast world of emotions.

  10. SHARON L B (verified owner)

    This is a great book which we use all the time – kids really relate to the brain and a three story home – love it

  11. Bev M (verified owner)

    Wonderful resource thank you 😊

  12. Kerrie (verified owner)

    Another great resource that is beautifully written and illustrated. This book will be used with a range of ages for different context.

  13. Gay G (verified owner)

    This is a book that could be revisited so many times for so many different reasons. Beautifully presented with very pertinent understandings for not only young people but for us all.

  14. Erin (verified owner)

    Fabulous, easy to read and understand. Just read with my Mr 10 year old who struggles with some big feelings. He seemed to love the book, loved the illustrations, engaged with the reading and examples. Thanks heaps as it is something I can also use to help adults understand their feelings too.

  15. Melody

    My 8 year old AuDHD child received this book along with the plushy from Santa because when books come from me, I must be trying to ‘teach’ 😉 so they’re often rejected. This book was requested to be read tonight and was so well-received. The science of the brain and amygdala kept my child interested. The discussion points to talk about how things feel in our own bodies and what we can do to return to the top floor were such good conversation starters. I love the notes at the back for parents and educators and the message throughout the book that all feelings are important and valid and that everyone experiences those feelings. I work with many children and families who experience big emotions and I’ll be recommending this book to everyone.

  16. Carla (verified owner)

    A beautifully, illustrated book that provides readers with a helpful way to give context to the important role feelings play. I love that it normalizes feelings and highlights the role the amygdala plays in interpreting danger. The analogy of the floors drives home the importance of context and empowers readers to be curious about their feelings rather than fear them.

  17. Terressa H (verified owner)

    Another fantastic book from Karen, reminding us that all feelings are important! And, Norvile has yet again amazed me with awesome illustrations!

  18. Melanie

    Another awesome book for our little city library! The children & parents are getting a lot out of your amazing books! Thanks so much for helping a time where your books are greatly needed🙏❤️🪽

  19. Helene van R (verified owner)

    This book has been life changing for many children, the light goes on as they better understand how their amygdala works and takes them to different levels. Using the Polyvagal theory aligns with my therapy approach and I have used it multiple times since it arrived in the post 2 weeks ago. I have bought a further 3 copies for my own adult children to support them in their parenting. Well done and thanks Karen Young!

  20. Geraldine S (verified owner)

    Another great book by Karen exploring the emotions and how the brain works, I like the analogy of floors.

  21. Lisa M (verified owner)

    Well written, beautifully illustrated book that presents feelings as a totally normal part of life, and gently explains a little bit about the brain. I plan to use this for a “emotion station” for 3-4 graders. It will be perfect!

  22. Ricky W (verified owner)

    A great book to explore emotions with older children. I like the questions between the floors to stimulate conversations. I like the consistency between the images from the other Hey Sigmund books. It felt predictable to the children I work with. A great resource and I love that the colours of the floors tie in with the zones of regulation.

  23. J Candy

    This is another fantastic book by Karen Young. I work in a primary school and see children increasingly struggle with anxiety and emotion control. This book is a must-have, along with Karen’s other books.

  24. Natalie R (verified owner)

    I love, love, love this book. I have read it to a few children. They have remained engaged while I read it. I love the questions of what each room feels like and how they get there. After reading the book, I am able to continue the same language of Top Floor, Middle Floor and Bottom Floor. Thank you for making such a great resource.

  25. Marisa (verified owner)

    A magical book that helps kids learn about and process their BIG feelings. Perfect for any SEL library. Beautifully written. Gorgeous illustrations. An important tool for kids social emotional tool kits.

  26. Marisa

    Another beautifully written book. Helps kids understand and process their BIG feelings. Perfect for any SEL library. Beautifully written. Gorgeous illustrations. An important tool for kids social emotional tool kits.

  27. Geraldine L

    Looks great!

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