Teaching kids about emotions helps them develop the skills to understand and manage their emotions throughout their lives. This is why it is so important to teach to kids. I use children’s books about emotions as a gateway for opening up discussions in the learning environment. Whether you are a teacher, counselor, or parent, using books to help illustrate a topic is a great way for kids to learn. As you are reading, ask questions and engage the reader.
I often cover emotions in my lessons, I use this Monster Emotions activity bundle that includes everything you need to teach emotions in your classroom. I also use this My Emotions Book resource to decorate my office with emotions pictures and descriptions, and I use the activities to reinforce the learning. Looking for more ideas on how to teach emotions in the classroom? Check out this blog post on Teaching Emotions in the Classroom. Here is a list of some of the awesome children’s books about emotions out there that I use to help teach this topic to students.
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Title of Book and Author: The Color Monster by Anna Llenas
A short summary of the book: The Color Monster wakes up one morning feeling confused. His feelings seem to be all over the place. He feels lots of different emotions all at the same time. A little girl uses colors to show the Color Monster what each of his feelings means. As the Color Monster learns to interpret and sort through his emotions, he gains self-awareness. He also begins to feel peace. The Color Monster learns to associate colors with each of his different feelings.
Why I like the book: Young children are sure to enjoy this book by Anna Llenas as they see 3-D pop-ups on each page! This book does a great job introducing emotions at an easy-to-understand level. It is so important for toddlers and preschoolers to learn to identify their emotions and feel comfortable with sharing these with trusted adults.
The moral of the story: It is important to learn to identify and define your emotions.
Topics covered: Emotions; Socio-emotional Growth; Helpfulness; Self-awareness; Self-confidence
Where can I purchase this book (affiliate link): The Color Monster on Amazon
Title of Book and Author: In My Heart: A Book of Feelings by Jo Witek
A short summary of the book: In this story, a little girl explains how different emotions make her feel inside. The little girl explains that her heart feels heavy like an elephant when she is sad and feels shiny and bright like a star when she is happy. She also discusses other emotions such as calm, brave, broken-hearted, afraid, and more. A cut-out heart is found on each page, and the reader sees how the heart changes size as the story progresses. The last page of this book asks the reader, “How does your heart feel?” which opens an opportunity for conversation about feelings.
Why I like the book: Jo Witek helps children learn that feelings can manifest in physical ways. Children can learn to identify and describe their feelings as they listen to and enjoy the colorful artwork from this book.
The moral of the story: Having a variety of feelings is totally normal!
Topics covered: Emotions; Feelings; Emotional Intelligence
Where can I purchase this book (affiliate link): In my Heart on Amazon
Title of Book and Author: The Way I Feel By Janan Cain
A short summary of the book: Feelings are not solely good or bad; they just are. Janan Cain gives examples of different emotions such as scared, shy, bored, and jealous throughout this story. Each page includes a picture with a child’s face depicting the emotion along with an example of why one would feel that way. The color palates on each page reflect the individual emotions as well.
Why I like the book: The Way I Feel is a colorful picture book that highlights various emotions in a fun, engaging way while using clear language. This book is a great tool to help young children or children struggling with social language learn to identify and express their emotions.
The moral of the story: I can name my feelings just like I name everything else in my world.
Topics covered: Emotions; Feelings; Social-Emotional Learning
Where can I purchase this book (affiliate link): The way I feel on Amazon
Title of Book and Author: The Boy with Big, Big Feelings by Britney Winn Lee
A short summary of the book: This book is about a boy whose feelings are so big that they radiate from his face and go down to his chest. He cries when he hears loud noises and bursts with joy when hearing a funny joke. He feels other people’s emotions as his own. He tries to cope with these big feelings by stuffing them down. With some help, the boy begins to learn that his big, big feelings are actually amazing and can be celebrated instead of hidden away. His special gift can also be helpful in making friends!
Why I like the book: Britney Winn Lee uses a fun storyline to help young children learn that their emotions matter and should be recognized. This book is especially helpful for children who deal with anxious feelings or extreme emotions.
The moral of the story: Feelings are nothing to be ashamed of!
Topics covered: Feelings; Friendship; Anxiety; Sensitivity; Emotions
Where can I purchase this book (affiliate link): The boy with big, big feelings on Amazon
Title of Book and Author: Big Feelings by Alexandra Penfold
A short summary of the book: In Big Feelings, a diverse group of children have plans for lots of fun. The inclusive group’s large feelings get in the way. Throughout the story, the children learn to value each others’ feelings and compromise in order to have the best time together.
Why I like the book: Big Feelings is inclusive and brightly colored which is a fun touch for young readers. This book helps children learn to identify different kinds of feelings and respond with empathy. The repetition and illustrations help children understand the various vocabulary words and messages.
The moral of the story: Talking about our emotions with others and taking time to see them from others’ points of view can help us face emotional challenges in a positive light. Emotions can be celebrated!
Topics covered: Emotions; Friendship; Cooperation; Understanding; Inclusivity; Diversity
Where can I purchase this book (affiliate link): Big Feelings on Amazon
Title of Book and Author: I’m Happy-Sad Today by Lory Britain
A short summary of the book: I’m Happy-Sad Today follows a little girl who is learning how to understand her mixed-up feelings. She experiences emotions such as happy and sad, excited and nervous, and more. The author uses silly words such as “smappy” and “braverous” to describe the mixed-up feelings while giving examples of situations when the little girl felt these ways. The little girl is confused at first but learns that she does not have to choose just one emotion to feel at a time; she realizes that it is fine to experience all of her feelings at the same time.
Why I like the book: This book has great child examples of experiencing more than one feeling at a time and is very relatable to the young reader. There is also a special section included in the book that guides adults in helping little ones explore different emotions through avenues such as drawing and talking to others.
The moral of the story: It is okay and normal to feel more than one feeling at once.
Topics covered: Emotional Intelligence; Self-Awareness; Feelings; Coping
Where can I purchase this book (affiliate link): Happy Sad Today on Amazon
Title of Book and Author: Grumpy Monkey by Suzanna Lang
A short summary of the book: Jim Panzee is a young monkey who wakes up in a grumpy mood. He cannot figure out any particular reason why he feels this way and just cannot seem to let these feelings go. His friends try to encourage him by telling him that it is a great day and make suggestions to lift his spirits like smiling, dancing, splashing, and eating–all types of things that make THEM happy. None of these suggestions seem to help Jim’s grumpiness at all! He stomps off and finds another friend named Norman who helps Jim see that it is also a great day to be grumpy and sits next to Jim until his feelings begin to shift.
Why I like the book: This book can help children learn that it is good to let their emotions exist. Instead of suppressing hard feelings like grumpiness it is important to learn to deal with them. The funny pictures in Grumpy Monkey bring a lightness to this potentially difficult learning experience.
The moral of the story: You can feel your feelings!
Topics covered: Emotional Awareness; Emotions; Managing Emotions; Friendship
Where can I purchase this book (affiliate link): Grumpy Monkey on Amazon
Title of Book and Author: I’m Feeling Macaroni and Cheese by Tina Gallo
A short summary of the book: This story from Crayola helps young readers learn to express themselves as they connect emotions to different Crayola colors. Each page shows a different colored crayon and matches it with an emotion. Readers enjoy colorful artwork as they come across common feelings like sadness and anger but are also introduced to less common feelings such as adventurous, cozy, and mysterious. A variety of crayon colors such as tickled pink, midnight blue, and macaroni and cheese keep readers on their toes as they await what each next page will include. Throughout the book, the reader is prompted to reflect and decide which color represents each feeling for them.
Why I like the book: The different colors referenced in this book, such as jazzberry jam and jungle green, are sure to bring an extra level of excitement and silliness to thoughts of emotions. Children learn that emotions vary, can be large, and can even be quite vibrant.
The moral of the story: Colors are a fun way to help us connect to and express our feelings.
Topics covered: Emotions; Emotional Awareness
Where can I purchase this book (affiliate link): Im Feeling Macaroni and Cheese on Amazon
Title of Book and Author: My Magical Feelings by Becky Cummings
A short summary of the book: In My Magical Feelings, Becky Cummings gives many examples of what may cause a child to feel different emotions such as loved, accepted, upset, and lonely. Each page ends with the phrase “I feel ___ and that’s okay” to help children understand that it’s acceptable to feel all of their feelings. The end of the story encourages children to acknowledge their feelings and experience them each as they come. Feelings don’t stay forever, and each person can feel them in their own way.
Why I like the book: This book helps children learn to recognize, name, and truly feel each of their feelings. By helping children learn this skill, we are helping them work towards becoming a conscious adult.
The moral of the story: It is good to acknowledge and accept your feelings. Feelings can be magical!
Topics covered: Social Emotional Skills; Feelings and Emotions; Acceptance; Loneliness; Love; Self-Acceptance
Where can I purchase this book (affiliate link): My Magical Feelings on Amazon
Title of Book and Author: How to Crack your peanut by Allison Edwards
A short summary of the book: Diego is struggling with his emotions. He gets angry on the soccer field, nervous during a test, and frustrated with his little brother. His parents take him to a counselor, Dr. B who teaches him to regulate his emotions. He teaches Diego about the brain, and explains that the Amygdala often kicks into gear when you are scared or mad. Often it can get flooded with so many emotions at once that it makes you feel like you can’t think straight. He explains that he can control this by using some tricks: Breathe, Relax, and Imagine. Diego starts to use these tricks in his life and notices that he does not lose control as much anymore.
Why I like the book: I love how the book focuses on children often feeling like they are “bad” instead they are just making bad choices. The techniques are explained clearly and easy enough for a kid to understand. Once kids learn how the brain words, they can begin to listen to their bodies and control their emotions.
The moral of the story: You can control your mind and your behavior.
Topics covered: Emotions; Impulse Control; Anger; Self-Control
Where can I purchase this book (affiliate link): How to crack your peanut on Amazon
Resources about Emotions
Pair your favorite children’s books about emotions with these SEL activities to make the perfect classroom lessons. Color the Feelings is available as a bundle of 20 products with fun themes like Fall, Winter, Spring, Emoji, Animals, and more! They are also sold separately. The picture below shows the Color the Feelings: Kids Edition which covers the emotions Happy, Sad, Angry, Scared, and Worried. Students learn what each emotion looks like, feels like, and sounds like. They learn to identify the synonyms and antonyms for each emotion in a fun and engaging coloring activity.
Identifying Feelings and Emotions workbook for Google Slides is a fantastic resource! Twenty-five emotions are covered in this resource. Vibrantly colored faces are displayed as a visual to aid students in learning emotions. You can easily review the provided characteristics of each emotion and then guide students through identifying positive coping strategies for each. This resource is also an easy print and go or digital learning tool.