Feelings. We all have them, and if you’ve ever been around kids, you know they can have BIG feelings — and that’s great! Feeling our feelings is healthy, and what is also healthy is identifying those feelings, acknowledging them, and if need be, sitting with them or working through them. Recognizing what someone else is feeling is also an important part of development.
These don’t always come naturally, though. Sometimes, even as adults, we have a hard time pinpointing exactly what we are feeling or why we might be feeling a certain way. Kids don’t know what a feeling is until they are given a name for it. They can be overwhelming at times (come on, how many of us as adults have been overwhelmed with an emotion, too?) and helping your child identify feelings and manage them is part of healthy, well-rounded development and maturation. Doing so can help give them the building blocks they need for emotional regulation, coping in the face of adversity, and building relationships with others.
Books can be a great way to help show children facial cues about emotions or illustrating what an emotion consists of or what it can look like. Coping techniques can be discussed, and they can be a great conversation starter about our emotions.
Here are some books about feelings to check out.
The Feelings Book by Todd Parr
Parr’s books are always a favorite of kids because of their friendly text and colorful pages, and this is a fun book to introduce feelings in a straightforward way. He talks about basic emotions like feeling brave or angry, but also funny ones like “eating pizza for breakfast.” It’s a good book to generate discussion while also being visually appealing and fun for children at the same time.
The Many Colors of Harpreet Singh by Supriya Kelkar & Alea Marley
This is a more subtle picture book about feelings, but it’s a delightful read. Harpreet loves to match his patka (turban) to his outfit, choosing the colors based on his mood and how he feels. He loves being colorful — but when he moves to a new place and new school, everything feels blah and he wants to disappear. It’s a beautiful story about emotions, how we feel, and how this can change.
All About Feelings by Felicity Brooks, Frankie Allen, & Mar Ferrero
What I love about this book is how comprehensive it is, and that it really shows facial expressions along with the emotions and feelings. Text explains when and why a person might feel one sort of way at a certain time, and there are questions on each part to stimulate discussion about feelings and experiences they might have had with accompanying emotions.
A Little Spot of Feelings: Emotion Detective by Diane Alber
There are a bunch of Little Spot books focusing on different feelings, and I really like this one. This book discusses a variety of different feelings, and how to identify the feeling not only in yourself, but also in others — there’s a cute emotion chart, and the text explains how to be a “detective” in figuring out the emotions.
Find Your Calm: A Mindful Approach to Relieve Anxiety and Grow Your Bravery by Gabi Garcia & Marta Pineda
The thing with anxiety is that it’s not just a feeling — it can also translate to a physical experience. Kids can feel it and be affected, even if they’re not entirely sure what they’re feeling. This book has age-appropriate tips and tricks for kids to take note of how they’re feeling, both mentally and physically, how to calm themselves down physically, and be mindful of what they feel.
Big Feelings by Alexandra Penfold & Suzanne Kaufman
If you’re familiar with their other book, All Are Welcome, this book is very similar in terms of inclusion and diversity, which is really nice to see while reading. The book touches on various emotions kids can feel and recognizes that they can feel really BIG to kids, but they’re never alone in their feelings, and there are ways to acknowledge and work through the emotions.
The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson & Rafael López
This quietly powerful book explores what it feels like to be different, alone, and a little scared. It’s about feeling the fear and uncertainty and still having the bravery to try and connect with someone. Woodson manages to pack a lot of emotion into this picture book, and the text comes to life with the warm, vibrant illustrations.
A Kid’s Book About Emotions (a coloring book experience) by Nakita Simpson
If you’re familiar with the A Kid’s Book About series, you know that they tackle a wide range of topics: racism, disability, anxiety, gratitude, money, and much more. This book is a little different because Simpson has created a book where kids can color the pages to express how they feel — she asks what emotions look like, or asks prompts about how they would feel in a certain situation, followed by a coloring opportunity. Emotions are complicated, and this book acknowledges that and gives your child ample room to express themselves with the book.
If you’re looking for more great books for children’s social-emotional learning, check out these children’s books about empathy, then use these tips to create a reading nook for your kids and have a place to read with them!