This week we’ve compiled a collection of books that feature stories that show how different characters talk about their feelings, deal with various circumstances in life, and utilize different strategies to cope when difficult emotions arise. How are you feeling right now and what do you do to take care of yourself?
The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle (Ages 0-4)
As children follow the Grouchy Ladybug on her journey, they will learn the important concepts of time, size, and shape, as well as the benefits of friendship and good manners.
For generations, The Grouchy Ladybug has delighted readers of all ages with the story of a bad-tempered bug who won’t say please or thank you, won’t share, and thinks she is bigger and better than anyone else. Readers will love how this testy ladybug introduces them to many new animals and learns that maybe being grouchy isn’t always the best option.
Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anna Dewdney (Ages 2-5)
Strange new teacher.
Strange new toys.
Lots of kids and lots of noise!
What would Llama like to do?
Llama Llama feels so new . . .
It’s Llama Llama’s first day of preschool! And Llama Llama’s mama makes sure he’s ready.
They meet the teachers. See the other children. Look at all the books and games. But then it’s time for Mama to leave. And suddenly Llama Llama isn’t so excited anymore. Will Mama Llama come back?
Of course, she will. But before she does, the other children show Llama Llama how much fun school can be!
Pilar’s Worries by Victoria M. Sanchez, Jess Golden (Ages 3-5)
Pilar loves to dance. She pliés while brushing her teeth. She leaps when hurrying to ballet class. But when tryouts for her favorite ballet are held, Pilar is anxious. Auditioning makes her whole body feel scared. But by using some of the coping techniques she’s learned and focusing on her love for ballet, she is able to persevere. This gentle story is a great tool for children dealing with anxiety.
Ruby Finds a Worry (Big Bright Feelings) by Tom Percival (Ages 3-6)
Meet Ruby–a happy, curious, imaginative girl. But one day, she finds something unexpected: a Worry. It’s not such a big Worry, at first. But every day, it grows a little bigger . . . And a little bigger . . . Until eventually, the Worry is ENORMOUS and is all she can think about. But when Ruby befriends a young boy, she discovers that everyone has worries, and not only that, there’s a great way to get rid of them too… This perceptive and poignant story is the perfect springboard for talking to children about emotional intelligence and sharing hidden anxieties.
Ravi’s Roar (Big Bright Feelings) by Tom Percival (Ages 3-6)
Ravi never minded being the smallest in his family. Until one day, his short arms can’t reach the monkey bars, he can’t find anyone during hide-and-seek, AND he’s too little to ride the big slide. Ravi is so mad–so furious–that he can’t control his temper anymore . . .
. . . and he becomes a ferocious, roaring TIGERBeing a tiger is great. Tigers can do anything they want But who wants to play with a growling, wild tiger who won’t share or behave? Ravi is about to discover something very important about voicing his feelings.
My Cold Plum Lemon Pie Bluesy Mood by Tameka Fryer-Brown, Shane Evans (Ages 3-7)
What color is your mood?
On a really good day, Jamie feels purple like the first bite of a juicy cold plum. And with a crayon in his hand, Jamie eases into a green feeling–like a dragon dancing through a jungle made of green jello.
But when his brothers push him around and make fun of his drawings, Jamie feels like a dark gray storm brewing.
What will it take to put Jamie back in a bright-feeling mood?
Through Jamie, young readers will learn to describe how they’re feeling in a unique way.
The Many Colors of Harpreet Singh by Supriya Kelkar, Alea Marley (Ages 4-8)
Harpreet Singh has a different color for every mood and occasion, from pink for dancing to bhangra beats to red for courage. He especially takes care with his patka—his turban–smoothing it out and making sure it always matches his outfit. But when Harpreet’s mom finds a new job in a snowy city and they have to move, all he wants is to be invisible. Will he ever feel a happy sunny yellow again?
Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes (Ages 3-7)
Wemberly worried about spilling her juice, about shrinking in the bathtub, even about snakes in the radiator. She worried morning, noon, and night. Worry, worry, worry, her family said. Too much worry. And Wemberly worried about one thing most of all: her first day of school. But when she meets a fellow worrywart in her class, Wemberly realizes that school is too much fun to waste time worrying.
I Am Human by Susan Verde, Peter Reynolds (Ages 4-8)
Being human means we are full of possibilities. We learn we dream, we wonder at the world around us. But we also make mistakes and can feel fearful or sad.
From the bestselling team that created I Am Yoga, I Am Peace, I Am Love, and I Am One comes a hopeful celebration of the human family. I Am Human affirms that we can make good choices by acting with compassion and having empathy for others and ourselves. When we find common ground, we can feel connected to the great world around us and mindfully strive to be our best selves.
A Place Inside of Me by Zetta Elliot (Ages 4-8)
In this powerful, affirming poem by award-winning author Zetta Elliott, a Black child explores his shifting emotions throughout the year.
There is a place inside of me
a space deep down inside of me
where all my feelings hide.
Summertime is filled with joy–skateboarding and playing basketball—until his community is deeply wounded by a police shooting. As fall turns to winter and then spring, fear grows into anger, then pride and peace.
B is for Breathe: The ABCs of Coping with Fussy & Frustrating Feelings by Melissa Munro Boyd (Ages 4-10)
From the letter A to the letter Z, B is for Breathe celebrates the many ways children can express their feelings and develop coping skills at an early age. Fun, cute, and exciting illustrations, this colorful book teaches kids simple ways to cope with fussy and frustrating emotions. This book will inspire kids to discuss their feelings, show positive behaviors, and practice calm down strategies.
Even Superheroes Have Bad Days by Shelly Becker, Eda Kaban (Agest 5-9)
Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School and Other Scary Things by Lenore Look, LeUyen (Ages 6-9)
Alvin, an Asian American second grader, is afraid of everything–elevators, tunnels, girls, and, most of all, school. He’s so afraid of school that, while he’s there, he never, ever, says a word. But at home he’s a very loud superhero named Firecracker Man, a brother to Calvin and Anibelly, and a gentleman-in-training, so he can be just like his dad.
Bird by Zetta Elliott and Shadra Strickland (Ages 7-10)
Young Mekhai, better known as Bird, loves to draw. With drawings, he can erase the things that don’t turn out right. In real life, problems aren’t so easily fixed.
As Bird struggles to understand the death of his beloved grandfather and his older brother’s drug addiction, he escapes into his art. Drawing is an outlet for Bird’s emotions and imagination and provides a path to making sense of his world. In time, with the help of his grandfather’s friend, Bird finds his own special somethin’ and wings to fly.
Told with spare grace, Bird is a touching look at a young boy coping with real-life troubles. Readers will be heartened by Bird’s quiet resilience and moved by the healing power of putting pencil to paper.
The Science of Breakable Things by Tae Keller (Ages 8-12)
Eggs are breakable. Hope is not.
When Natalie’s science teacher suggests that she enter an egg drop competition, Natalie thinks that this might be the perfect solution to all of her problems. There’s prize money, and if she and her friends wins, then she can fly her botanist mother to see the miraculous Cobalt Blue Orchids–flowers that survive against impossible odds. Natalie’s mother has been suffering from depression, and Natalie is sure that the flowers’ magic will inspire her mom to love life again. Which means it’s time for Natalie’s friends to step up and show her that talking about a problem is like taking a plant out of a dark cupboard and giving it light. With their help, Natalie begins an uplifting journey to discover the science of hope, love, and miracles.
Silhouetted by the Blue by Traci L. Jones (10-12)
Seventh-grader Serena Shaw is trying to keep up at school while rehearsing for the lead role in the spring musical and dealing with a father so blue he is nearly catatonic. With the aid of a not-so-secret admirer, as well as a growing sense of self-confidence, she faces the challenges of caring for herself and her ball-of-charm younger brother–all while attempting to lead the life of a normal pre-teen.
Readers will be drawn into this convincing portrait of a vivacious young person who is on a path to discovering that taking on responsibility sometimes means finding the best way to ask for help.
As Brave as You Are by Jason Reynolds (Ages 10+)
Genie’s summer is full of surprises. The first is that he and his big brother, Ernie, are leaving Brooklyn for the very first time to spend the summer with their grandparents all the way in Virginia–in the COUNTRY The second surprise comes when Genie figures out that their grandfather is blind. Thunderstruck, Genie peppers Grandpop with questions about how he hides it so well (besides wearing way cool Ray-Bans).
How does he match his clothes? Know where to walk? Cook with a gas stove? Pour a glass of sweet tea without spilling it? Genie thinks Grandpop must be the bravest guy he’s ever known, but he starts to notice that his grandfather never leaves the house–as in NEVER. And when he finds the secret room that Grandpop is always disappearing into–a room so full of songbirds and plants that it’s almost as if it’s been pulled inside-out–he begins to wonder if his grandfather is really so brave after all.
Then Ernie lets him down in the bravery department. It’s his fourteenth birthday, and, Grandpop says to become a man, you have to learn how to shoot a gun. Genie thinks that is AWESOME until he realizes Ernie has no interest in learning how to shoot. None. Nada. Dumbfounded by Ernie’s reluctance, Genie is left to wonder–is bravery and becoming a man only about proving something, or is it just as important to own up to what you won’t do?
Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson (Ages 10+)
When Lonnie was seven years old, his parents died in a fire. Now he’s eleven, and he still misses them terribly. And he misses his little sister, Lili, who was put into a different foster home because “not a lot of people want boys-not foster boys that ain’t babies.” But Lonnie hasn’t given up. His foster mother, Miss Edna, is growing on him. She’s already raised two sons and she seems to know what makes them tick. And his teacher, Ms. Marcus, is showing him ways to put his jumbled feelings on paper.
Told entirely through Lonnie’s poetry, we see his heartbreak over his lost family, his thoughtful perspective on the world around him, and most of all his love for Lili and his determination to one day put at least half of their family back together. Jacqueline Woodson’s poignant story of love, loss, and hope is lyrically written and enormously accessible.
What Mama Left Me by Renee Watson (Ages 10-14)
Serenity is good at keeping secrets, and she’s got a whole lifetime’s worth of them. Her mother is dead, her father is gone, and starting life over at her grandparents’ house is strange. Luckily, certain things seem to hold promise: a new friend who makes her feel connected, and a boy who makes her feel seen. But when her brother starts making poor choices, her friend is keeping her own dangerous secret, and her grandparents put all of their trust in a faith that Serenity isn’t sure she understands, it is the power of love that will repair her heart and keep her sure of just who she is.
What are some other books you like that deal with our emotional health? Leave a message in the comments.