With so much focus on getting the best grades and being good in everything, along with running from activity to activity, kids today are under a lot of stress. Our top 10 favorite books for helping kids navigating emotions will help children learn how to understand, connect with and manage what often can feel like very big and overwhelming emotions.
From offering beautiful illustrations to encouraging children to doodle and explore their feelings, these picture books and workbooks have proven to be wonderful resources for my family. I hope they are for yours too!
My Top 10 Favorite Books for Helping Kids Navigate Emotions
Visiting Feelings, Lauren Rubenstein
Beautiful illustrations and catchy rhyming verses take children on a magical journey that gently encourages them to recognize, listen to, feel and explore their emotions: Vibrant and whimsical illustrations show readers how to acknowledge and welcome their feelings with open arms.
Kevin’s Big Book of Emotions, Liesbet Slegers
This story is about Kevin, a typical little boy who experiences the very big feelings life throws at him throughout his day. Colorful and cute illustrations show all of Kevin’s very common daily activities, which leave him feeling very common emotions: happiness, anger, sadness, and fear. Slegers playfully invites children into Kevin’s day to see how he works through his feelings.
Who Loves the Little Lamb? Lezlie Evans
This delightful story shows our little ones that even when they are fussy, messy and clumsy, their mamas will love and be there for them no matter what. Engaging illustrations and sweet rhyming verses give children and their parents a wonderful way to remember and be reassured that they are loved.
The Kissing Hand, Audrey Penn
This classic tale introduces us to Chester Raccoon, who is scared to go to school for the first time and wants to stay home with his mother. But she tells him an old family secret that we can all take heart in. Knowing we are loved gives us all the comfort and reassurance we need.
Learning to Feel Good and Stay Cool, Judith M. Glasser, Ph.D., and Kathleen Nadeau, PhD
This handbook offers practical and engaging tips for regulating the challenging feelings that children may experience with ADHD. Clinical psychologists Glasser and Nadeau walk through 20 of the most common emotions. A “feelings toolbox” along with word searches, a maze, a secret message, actions plans, spaces to draw their feelings and a progress chart give children tangible ways to think about and explore their feelings.
When My Worries Get Too Big!, Kari Dunn Buron
This interactive workbook provides tools to help kids learn how to manage what can be very overwhelming emotions. In particular, a five-point scale offers a tangible way for children to define how they’re feeling. Buron gives kids practical and fun ways to learn how to calm down and focus when they are faced with very challenging emotions.
How Do You Doodle?, Elise Gravel
Over 40 fun, thought-provoking and creative “doodle games” in this 96-page workbook inspire kids to write and draw out their thoughts and feelings. Three silly and whimsical characters–Otti, Ugga and Flibb—narrate the book with fun exercises to help kids connect with feelings of being scared, annoyed, frustrated, angry, sad, embarrassed, worried and lonely.
School Made Easier: A Kid’s Guide to Study Strategies and Anxiety-Busting Tools, Wendy L. Moss, Ph.D., and Robin A. Deluca-Acconi
This study skills guide published by the American Psychological Association gets to the heart of kids’ anxieties at school by offering step-by-step strategies for finishing their work and feeling confident. It’s a must-have toolkit for understanding and tackling stress and provides great skill sets for coping with external stresses, organizing and preparing, studying, managing time effectively and doing homework.
I Love You Because You're You, Liza Baker
A cute little fox experiences many different feelings and may act out, but he is comforted in knowing his mother always loves him no matter what–just the way he is.
Armond Goes to a Party: A book about Asperger’s and Friendship, Nancy Carlson and Armond Isaak
This book is about a boy named Armond, who overcomes his anxiety about being at a noisy and disorganized birthday party to be there for his friend Felicia on her special day. Isaak, who himself has Asperger's, reached out to Carlson so they could collaborate on this story and help others know they aren't alone. The book portrays what children with Asperger's may be thinking and be feeling, and how they can navigate what can be very difficult and overwhelming social situations and feelings.
Do you have a list of favorite books for helping kids in your library? List the in the comments below. I would love to add more to my family's toolbox!