It’s been a spring filled with emotions, both for our kids and ourselves. As we begin to explore the changes summer will bring, check out these great picture books that help kids identify different emotions and understand what they are feeling inside.
by Kimberly Gee (Beach Lane Books, 2020)
A companion book to Mad, Mad Bear!, this story for young children shows how Bear feels very glad on the way to his first ballet class as he puts on his leggings, slippers, and tutu. But his feelings change to shy, unsure, and afraid when he arrives at the class. In the end, it’s dancing that makes Bear feel better.
by Todd Tarpley; illustrated by Guy Parker-Rees (Little, Brown and Company, 2018)
Three toy trucks love digging and lifting at the playground. When their owners tell them that their engines are overheating and it’s time to go, the trucks keep asking for more time, until “they honked, they bonked, they threw a fit.” Young readers and parents will see the parallel to times when children don’t notice their elevated emotions until they reach a breaking point, through a humorous story written in verse.
by Andy Rash (Viking Books for Young Readers, 2019)
This story begins with one happy camper and one happy clam in a sunny yellow world. But when they go through a “door” on the page, the book turns blue and sad, then red and angry, then green and scared, and the boy and the clam have a hard time finding their way back to happiness. In the end, the friends wind up in a place where all the emotions coexist together.
by Laura Renauld; illustrated by Brigette Barrager (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2020)
Through the life story of children’s television host, Fred Rogers, the author shows how feelings—and the ability to identify and express them—can impact others and change lives. It was Fred’s big feelings as a boy that spurred him to teach children about feelings through his show, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, which aired from 1968 to 2001.
by Suzanne Chiew; illustrated by Sean Julian (Tiger Tales, 2018)
Murray Bear is worried about visiting the waterfall with his sister Molly. “What if it’s too loud?” and “What if I get swept away?” he wonders. Molly tells Murray about her worry box: When she is worried, she writes down her concerns and places them inside the box. She helps Murray make his own box to take on his journey.
by Lory Britain; illustrated by Matthew Rivera (Free Spirit Publishing, 2019)
Inspired by a conversation with her granddaughter, early childhood education expert Lory Britain wanted to write a book that validated kids’ mixed-together feelings, such as happy and sad, scared and brave, nervous and excited. The book gives kids researched-based strategies to help them cope with their challenging emotions, like talking to a grown-up or playing pretend with stuffed animals.
by Sarah Lynne Reul (Sterling Children’s Books, 2018)
When Allie breaks a crayon, she turns into a monster—literally. Page by page, her patient older brother prompts her to stomp her feet, punch a pillow, and more until she becomes Allie again. The story will give young readers a concrete way to visualize their angry feelings.
Librarians and book experts also recommend:
- Sorry (Really Sorry) by Joanna Cotler; illustrated by Harry Bliss
- It Will Be Okay by Lysa TerKeurst; illustrated by Natalia Moore
- I’m Sad/I’m Bored/I’m Worried series by Michael Ian Black; illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi
- Everyday Mindfulness series by Paul Christelis; illustrated by Elisa Paganelli
- Hangry by Drew Brockington
- Feelings by Libby Walden; illustrated by Richard Jones
- Kindness Makes Us Strong by Sophie Beer
- The Big Angry Roar by Jonny Lambert
- I’m Not Grumpy! by Steve Smallman; illustrated by Caroline Pedler
- Weasel is Worried by Ciara Gavin; illustrated by Tim Warnes
- Lion Needs a Haircut by Hyewon Yum
- Good Guys, Bad Guys by Joanne Rocklin and illustrator Nancy Carpenter
- How I Learned to Fall Out of Trees by Vincent Kirsch
- The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld
- Me and My Fear by Francesca Sanna
- The Invisible Web by Patrice Karst; illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff
- The Magical Yet by Angela DiTerlizzi; illustrated by Lorena Alvarez
- Smug Seagull by Maddie Frost
- Foodie Faces by Bill and Claire Wurtzel
- Bear Feels Scared by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman
Three Grumpy Trucks: Little, Brown and Company. Glad, Glad Bear! and Fred’s Big Feelings: Simon & Schuster. The Happy Book: Penguin Random House. The Worry Box: Tiger Tales. I’m Happy-Sad Today: Free Spirit Publishing. Allie All Along: Sterling Publishing.