Tough Guys (Have Feelings Too)

Free lesson plan, writing template and printable word-search for kids

tough guys have feelings too

Best suited to:

K – Year 2

KLAs covered:

English, PDH (feelings, empathy)


  • we all have feelings, even men who look really brave and tough;
  • all feelings are ok, including sad, scared and worried feelings;
  • it’s ok to show our feelings, including our difficult feelings;
  • it’s ok for men and boys to show their loving feelings;

Need to know:

  • simple, sparse text describes how even brave, strong, tough men sometimes feel sad, scared, frustrated and worried; 
  • bright, simple, slightly cartoon-like illustrations show a variety of men engaged in (stereo-)typically male activites (driving a racing car, being a ninja warrior, being a cowboy) while experiencing sadness, fear, worry, etc;
  • a wonderful springboard for discussing feelings;
  • a good book for teaching and discussing adjectives like brave, strong, tough;

Discussion Questions (before reading):

I think this story is best shared without too much discussion beforehand:

  • discuss the cover and title: what do you see? what do you think the book will be about?
  • for younger children: point out the title and the name of the author-illustrator;

Tips for reading this book:

  • I suggest reading the book through at least twice;
  • read the text quite slowly the first time, allowing time for the children to look at each of the illustrations;
  • read it through a second time, stopping to discuss each page;
  • on each page, ask the children: what do you see happening here? how do you think this character feels? (record emotions on the classroom whiteboard). How can we tell what a character might be feeling (facial expressions, tears, body language);
  • on each page, invite the children to share a time when they felt the way the character is feeling (text-to-self connections);

Discussion Questions (after reading):

  • ask children what they thought about of the book. Did they like it? Not like it? Why?
  • tell the children that an author always writes a book for a reason. They have a message they want to communicate – something they want to tell readers or make readers think about. What do you think the message of this book is? (write responses on the classroom whiteboard);
  • turn to the last page and ask the children who the characters are (father and son – or uncle?);
  • show children the endpapers of the book (the insides of the front and back covers). Explain that sometimes the endpapers of books are just blank pages but sometimes they are illustrated and it can be interesting to look at those illustrations;
  • look together at the endpapers at the front of the book. Invite the children to describe what they see (the little boy doing things on his own);
  • look together at the endpapers at the end of the book. Invite the children to describe what they see (the same little boy playing with his father/uncle). Why do you think the author-illustrator created the endpapers like this?


  • children write and/or draw a response to the story;
  • children complete a wordsearch using vocabulary from the story;
  • children use the vocabulary in the wordsearch to write sentences about what happened in the story;
  • children write a book review, describing what they liked and what they didn’t like about the story;
  • children write what they think is the message the author is trying to communicate with the book;
  • children write and/or draw about how the story made them feel: happy, sad, hopeful or some combination of emotions. They may like to use the sentence starters: I felt happy when … I felt sad when … I felt worried when …
  • children write and/or draw about a time when they felt sad, scared, worried or frustrated. Why did they feel that way? What happened next?

Your free, printable word-search and writing template

This free, printable word-search puzzle for kids is great for building and reinforcing the vocabulary used when discussing Tough Guys (Have Feelings Too). It’s especially helpful for EAL/D students.

Download and print your free writing template for use with the picture book Tough Guys (Have Feelings Too) here (PDF).

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