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If you’ve ever seen the Oscar-winning Pixar short film Bao (and cried through the whole thing — or was that just us?), you’re familiar with director Domee Shi. She works onscreen magic – and now she’s making her full-length directorial debut with Disney/Pixar’s Turning Red, premiering March 11 on Disney+.
The movie’s main character, Meilin “Mei” Lee, gets an unpleasant surprise when she suddenly begins turning into a giant red panda whenever she experiences strong emotions. Come to find out, it’s a rite of passage for the women in her family, and is the perfect metaphor for the confusing rollercoaster that is puberty.
Taken straight from the memories of her own childhood (with a healthy dose of early-2000s nostalgia to boot), Shi described the movie as being “for that 13-year-old Domee who was struggling with her body and her emotions and fighting with her mom every day and wanting to understand what was going on at that time, but in a fun and unique and magical way.” It doesn’t shy away from embarrassing body changes and the general cringiness of being a tween, but presents the information in a way that feels more comfortable and accessible for kids of all ages.
If you want to bring the onscreen magic of Turning Red to your bookshelf, there are a ton of new books that are absolute perfection for any reader. From a Little Golden Book retelling of the story to a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the art, these are some of our favorite picks for Turning Red books — and we know you’ll love them, too.
Big Red Panda, Little Golden Book
Everybody who’s ever been a kid recognizes the iconic Little Golden Book — and now there’s a retelling of Turning Red that’s perfect for kids ages 2-5!
Turning Red for Kids and Tweens
Bumping it up an age level, this junior novelization of Turning Red is a perfect retelling for kids ages 6 to 9 — and includes a vibrant 8-page insert with pictures from the film.
Turning Red — with Stickers!
This Turning Red storybook is ideal for ages 3 to 7 … or anyone of any age who loves stickers, because there are over 30 of them!
Written by bestselling middle-grade/YA novelist Lily Quan, this novel (geared toward kids 8 to 12) “explores the crazy, amazing, and often-times hilarious experiences of thirteen-year-old Meilin Lee.”
Little Box of Big Feelings
In this series of five adorable hardcover storybooks, each emotion is highlighted — and normalized – no matter how big or small. It’s humorous, relatable, and a must-have for any Turning Red fan.
A Behind-the-Scenes Glimpse
This vibrant book is a fascinating and exclusive look behind the scenes of Turning Red. With storyboards, interviews with the creative team, character designs, and more, it’s a glimpse at the work – and heart — that went into the making of the film.
Turning Red (and Lots of Other Colors Too)
Each page of this Turning Red coloring book features high-quality illustrations with scenes and characters from the movie — and its heavy-weight paper stock means that even markers won’t bleed through onto the next page.
Remember friendship bracelets? Pre-order this book (releasing April 19) and introduce them to your kids! Not only does it tell the tale of Mei’s adventures, it also comes with the materials — and step-by-step instructions — to make two friendship bracelets of your very own.
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