Favorite Books To Help Teach Kids About Feelings
Feelings are something that I’ve struggled with for a LONG time – understanding them, feeling them, expressing them, etc. It’s something I have to continue working on to this day and it requires a lot of learning and unlearning on my part. Because it’s something I struggle with, I knew it was something that I wanted to start teaching my kids early on. I did a lot of research on books to help teach kids about feelings and bought the ones that I thought would be most helpful. I’m an avid book buyer, and that seems to have translated into buying them for my children as well.
Here are some of my favorites. Some I’ve had since before Miles could talk and some are recent additions, but I think all of them teach valuable lessons in identifying, feeling, and processing emotions.
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When Miles Got Mad: I’m not sure if Miles likes this book so much because the main character has the same name as him or what, but it’s one that he asks me to read over and over. It tells the story of Miles, who when he gets mad, sees himself reflected in the mirror as a big red monster. The monster helps him talk through his mad feelings until they get smaller and smaller and it’s just Miles in the mirror again.
The Rabbit Listened: This book is simple, but so, so important. It’s one of my favorite books to help teach kids about feelings. When someone is upset, we often try to fix the problem in order to make them happy again. When Taylor’s blocks fall over, animals come from all over to tell him what he needs to do. Taylor doesn’t want to do any of the things they suggest, and the animals get mad and leave. The last animal is a rabbit, who says nothing, but sits with Taylor as he goes through all the emotions he feels from his blocks falling over. It’s a powerful example of simply sitting and holding space for someone to feel what they are feeling.
A Boy Like You: This book not only talks about emotions, but also breaking gender stereotypes. It’s such a thoughtful expression of allowing boys to be themselves and to embrace the things that make them happy. It has tons of diversity examples and really just emphasizes the importance of humanity. There is also a girl version — A Girl Like You that I have for Remy.
The Color Monster: A Story About Emotions: This is a very simple way of explaining emotions by grouping them into colors. One day, the color monster wakes up and realizes that he is all jumbled up with feelings. The girl in the book helps him sort his emotions into different colors so that he can make better sense of them. It’s a good way to introduce kids to feelings so that they can associate them with colors vs. different words and labels that may be harder for younger kids. I bought the hardcover version, but apparently the pop-up one is a big hit too!
The Invisible Boy: Brian is an invisible boy — one that no one seems to notice. He doesn’t get picked to play sports at recess or invited to birthday parties. It isn’t until a new kid comes to class and Brian reaches out that he is slowly able to get others to see him. It’s an emotional read for those who ever identified as an invisible kid and also a good way of teaching kids to make sure that everyone feels included.
My Heart: This book feels poetic in its description of the emotions of the heart. It talks about the ability of your heart to open and close depending on the situation and that ultimately, you have control over that decision.
Jack’s Worry: This book was recommended to me by a friend and it’s so sweet. Jack is about to perform in his first trumpet concert, but he wakes up with a big worry on his chest. As much as he tries to ignore it or run away, it continues to follow him. As it gets closer to the concert, Jack doesn’t know how to tell his mom what’s wrong and breaks down, telling her he doesn’t want to go. As she talks to him, he finally faces his worry and finds the words to tell her how he is feeling.
The Boy With Big, Big Feelings: This is another book that Miles asks me to read over and over. It’s beautifully illustrated and describes a boy with big feelings who thinks that he is the only one who feels the way he does. He’s worried about what other kids may think of him, but one day on the playground he sees another girl who has them too. They become friends and soon realize that many other kids feel the same way. This is one of my new favorite books to help teach kids about feelings.
My Body Sends A Signal: I was surprised at the length of this book and it’s one that will actually be useful in different stages as the kids get older. The first part is a story that emphasizes different emotions and how they feel in your body. After the story, there are pages of drawings of emotions to show kids, as well as drawings of the body feelings. There are example scenarios that you can discuss to figure out what feelings the kids are having (definitely need to be older for this) and black and white drawings of situations from the beginning story to color. There’s a lot of valuable stuff in here and my only complaint is that there are some grammatical errors in the story that threw me off a bit, but overall it’s a good choice.
My Moods, My Choices: This is a flip book I got for Miles with pictures of different monsters feeling different feelings. He hasn’t been as interested as I thought he would be, but this is a great resource for kids who are neurodivergent or have a hard time with language. There are also suggestions on what to do if you’re feeling a certain feeling, and a lot of them are repetitive, but they could be helpful.
Grumpy Monkey: This is one of my favorite books and the illustrations are so colorful and beautiful. Jim is a chimpanzee and one morning he wakes up grumpy. Everyone asks him why he is so grumpy when it’s such a nice day out and tries to tell him what to do to cheer up and feel better. He doesn’t feel like doing any of those things and eventually yells and storms off. He runs into his friend Norman, who has gotten stuck by a porcupine and the two of them realize that it’s ok to feel grumpy sometimes. There are a couple other titles in this series, and I’m looking to order this one that helps talk about social anxiety when Jim is invited to a party.
The Way I Feel: I’ve had this book since Miles was small and it’s a pretty straightforward description of feelings like happy, sad, scared, proud, and excited. The language is easy to understand and he still asks me to read it to him some days.
Which ones did I miss? Let me know some of your favorite books to help teach kids feelings in the comments below!
If you liked this post and utilize social media, I also have a list of some of the best Instagram account for raising emotionally healthy children.