Free Friday: Animals with Insecurities


Again, I know it’s not Friday, but alas, my blogs haven’t been posting.


When I came into Vanderbilt, I came in with the intention of double majoring in elementary education and psychology, as I believed that combination would make me more valuable as a teacher. At some point, I may pursue an advanced degree in psychology to help better understand how psychology can be applied to education. In my career, I’d like to explore what early intervention or screening for mental health issues could look like in the public school system. While I don’t think requiring all teachers to be psychologists is the answer, I think that teaching the importance of social-emotional learning should be a critical part of a child’s educational experience. While academic learning is important, there needs to be a focus on mental health in order to further academic success as well as provide tools for trauma-affected individuals. In my own experience coming into middle school and high school, I was entirely unprepared for dealing with my emotional and mental well-being, and struggled a lot with the trauma I faced in my younger years. I hope to combat some of these consequences for pre-adolescents, so that they aren’t forced to face the same issues that I did in a period of such difficult transition. 

While my goal of double majoring in education and psychology has since changed, I still believe that books like Animals with Insecurities by Nathan Catlin, can be utilized both within and outside of the classroom. I would certainly use this book in my own office as a licensed psychologist. If this class has given me one thing, its an exposure to books that address mental health issues.

The book goes through a series of animals, who all have various insecurities that very distinctly make that animal what it is. For example, the elephant hates his large ears and the hippo complains about how large he is.


While the reader can clearly tell that these traits are what make these individual animals so great, the animals themselves cannot see why they are so amazing. This could very well be relatable to many children, especially those with low self-esteem. Especially since the animals eventually come to terms with their unique traits and abilities, it is a great lesson to children to embrace what makes them special. For example, the elephant realizes that his large ears release heat, which keeps him cool on warm days. The hippo makes a similar realization that his blubber keeps him warm so that he can swim all day.


The book prompts these animals to their eventual acceptance of themselves, and could be an amazing tool to use in a classroom or therapy situation.



I recommended this book to my older sister to read to her Kindergarten class, and she has since ordered it on Amazon and added it to her personal classroom library.


-Julia Ham

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