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My No No No Day

by Rebecca Patterson


My No No No Day by Rebecca Patterson is a story that follows Bella as she struggles through a bad day.

Bella’s day starts off bad when she wakes up to her brother in her room licking all of her jewelry. Her day only gets worse as she interacts with her friends, family and neighbors. Bella reacts poorly. At the end of the day Bella’s mom lays her down, and reads her a bedtime story. Bella apologizes for her bad day, and her mom tells her everyone has those days. The book raises questions about emotions and our responsibilities to friends and family.

Read aloud video by Emma Grace

Guidelines for Philosophical Discussion

My No No No Day by Rebecca Patterson is a story about a young girl named Bella, and her “no no no” day. The story starts off with Bella’s little brother, Bob, in her room licking all of her jewelry. This is the start of her horrible day. Bella then has an egg for breakfast that she doesn’t like, has a meltdown at the grocery store, and upsets her playdate. Bella’s day keeps getting worse, and there doesn’t seem to be anything she enjoys on her “no no no” day.  Eventually it’s time for Bella to go to sleep, and her mother reads her a bedtime story. Bella apologizes to her mother for her bad day, and Bella’s mother tells her that we all have those days sometimes. This story deals with emotions, relationships, and the responsibilities we have to others.

In the book, Bella deals with difficult emotions. She has a whole day in which she is upset, and she is not able to handle her emotions well. This brings up questions about how to properly handle feelings of anger, and whether it is ever okay to be angry. Society often looks at anger in a negative light, but perhaps anger can sometimes be the right emotion and a good reaction to an event. And perhaps anger, or emotions more generally, are not the problem, but how we act while we feel them. Bella’s anger and emotions may not be the problem in the story. The problem may be how she handles them.

My No No No Day also highlights different relationships and responsibilities we have to each other. Bella is upset throughout the story, and it leads her to mistreat those around her. Bella gives her mother and brother a headache, and she is mean to her playdate. This brings up questions about our duties to others. Should we put others’ feelings before our own? Is it ever okay to be upset with other people? How should we behave towards people who upset us and why? In contrast, throughout the book, no one tries to comfort Bella, or help her with her bad day. It raises the opportunity to discuss duties to comfort friends and family. Was it the duty of the other characters in the story to help Bella?

Questions for Philosophical Discussion

Relationships/ Responsibility

  1. How do you know if someone is your friend?
  2. What makes someone your family?
  3. How should we treat our friends and family? Should we treat them differently than strangers?
  4. Should Bella be nice to her friends and family even though she is upset? If so, why?
  5. Should Bella’s mom, family or friends have tried to make Bella feel better? Why or why not?
  6. Why is it important to apologize? 
  7. Have you ever had to apologize to friends or family? Is it different than apologizing to a stranger?
  8. What happens when you apologize to someone? Does it fix a mistake? Does it fix a relationship? Does it show respect to someone? 


  1. What is Bella’s no, no, no day? Is the day bad because of what happens in the day or how Bella reacts to the day?
  2. How do we act when we are angry? How should we act when we are angry?
  3. Is it ever okay to be angry? If so, when? If not, why not?
  4. Is it okay to act angrily towards someone who didn’t do anything to you? Why or why not? 
  5. Can we control our emotions? If so, are some emotions easier to control than others?
  6. Should we let others know when we are upset?
  7. Have you ever had a bad day? What would cause you to have a “no no no” day? How can you avoid having a “no no no” day?
Download & Print Email Book Module Back to All Books
Back to All Books Cover image of the book My No No No Day by Rebecca Patterson featuring an illustration of a small white child with a brown bob. She has only one shoe on and her mouth is open in a yelling face. A small gray bunny toy sits on the floor next to her. Download & Print Email Book Module

About the Prindle Institute

As one of the largest collegiate ethics institutes in the country, the Prindle Institute for Ethics’ uniquely robust national outreach mission serves DePauw students, faculty and staff; academics and scholars throughout the United States and in the international community; life-long learners; and the Greencastle community in a variety of ways. In 2019, the Prindle Institute partrnered with Thomas Wartenberg and became the digital home of his Teaching Children Philosophy discussion guides.

Further Resources

Some of the books on this site may contain characterizations or illustrations that are culturally insensitive or inaccurate. We encourage educators to visit the Association for Library Service to Children’s resource guide for talking to children about issues of race and culture in literature. They also have a guide for navigating tough conversations.  PBS Kids’ set of resources for talking to young children about race and racism might also be useful for educators.

Philosophy often deals with big questions like the existence of a higher power or death. Find tips for leading a philosophical discussion on our resources page.

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