Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to emotions. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about emotions.
Our list includes board books, picture books, and chapter books. Board books are best for babies and toddlers from ages newborn to 2 or 3. Picture books are generally great options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. Picture books are especially enjoyable for adults to read aloud with young kids. The chapter books on our list are generally best for elementary through early middle school age tween kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid.
We hope this list of kids books about emotions can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book!
A playful look at managing tempers for tigers of every age. Little Tiger has a temper! He stomps his paws, cries, and growls when he doesn’t want to do something. But when his mom says, “Hold your temper or else,” Little Tiger has to make some changes. Where will he hold his temper? In his pocket . . . in his underwear?
Perfect for Valentine’s Day, graduation, birthdays, or anytime a hug is required, this beautiful book lets children know their parents will always be there for them!
What are the three little words that make everything better? I Love You! Preschoolers will love snuggling with their families and counting all the ways that the three little words “I love you” can solve most every childhood concern. With warm, cuddly, reassuring illustrations of adorable animal families, this book lets children know that their parents will always be there with lots of hugs and kisses.
“Each time the phrase I love you is introduced, Pearce describes it with a different adjective, such as mighty, friendly, or winning, which emphasizes the myriad ways unconditional love can rescue upsetting moments…. The bouncy rhythm makes it fun to read aloud, especially since little ones will easily catch on to the repeated refrain. Great for any time a kiddo needs a boost of confidence.”—Booklist
Step into the drama filled world of Jane Austin’s Emma: A BabyLit Emotions Primer. Your little one will learn about the meddling Emma Woodhouse, who takes it upon herself to become the village matchmaker, creating all sorts of feelings in others. Her friend’s emotions include Mr. Elton being angry, Miss Taylor becoming happy, while Jane Fairfax is tired.
From the beloved and internationally bestselling author of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, Judith Viorst comes a collection of wry and witty poems that touch on every aspect of the roller-coaster ride that is childhood. Did you wake up this morning all smiley inside? Does life taste like ice cream and cake? Or does it seem more like your goldfish just died And your insides are one great big ache? From school to family to friends, from Grrrr to Hooray!, Judith Viorst takes us on a tour of feelings of all kinds in this thoughtful, funny, and charming collection of poetry that’s perfect for young readers just learning to sort out their own emotions.
Learn how to say “I love you” in ten different languages with this heartwarming board book. “I love you” may sound different around the world, but the meaning is the same. From China, to France, to Russia, to Brazil, and beyond, this charming board book features “I love you” in ten different languages. Tapping into the emotions that parents feel for their children, the rhyming text is accompanied by sweet artwork that depicts different cultures around the world.
Happy Happier Happiest - How are you doing today? This charming pull-tab novelty book explores different feelings! Who’s shy? Happy? Silly? Come to the ocean to see how the animals are feeling—and learn about superlatives, too. No fish in the crowded school is lonely, but a solitary, slow swimmer is. Another fish, even further behind, is lonelier still, and a third, far away from everyone, is loneliest of all. The book ends with the sweetest, sleepiest seal, whose eyes shut as you pull the tab.
The Heart and the Bottle - There is a wonder and magic to childhood. We don’t realize it at the time, of course . . . yet the adults in our lives do. They encourage us to see things in the stars, to find joy in colors and laughter as we play. But what happens when that special someone who encourages such wonder and magic is no longer around? We can hide, we can place our heart in a bottle and grow up . . . or we can find another special someone who understands the magic. And we can encourage them to see things in the stars, find joy among colors and laughter as they play. Oliver Jeffers delivers a remarkable book, a tale of poignancy and resonance reminiscent of The Giving Tree that will speak to the hearts of children and parents alike.
Susan Laughs - Rhyming couplets describe a wide range of common emotions and activities experienced by a little girl who uses a wheelchair.
I Yoga You - Parents and children learn how to say “I love you” through yoga as they move through their day together in a perfectly mindful way. I love you in the morning when we salute the sun. Wiggle and stretch out of bed, our day has now begun. From morning to night, I Yoga You celebrates the love a parent shares with their child while also teaching simple yoga poses. Sun salutations give way to mountain poses, tree poses, and more as families move through their mindful day together. This padded board book teaches little ones a new way to say “I love you”—reveling in those quiet daily moments that shine with energy, delight, and surprises.
All kids have trouble getting a grip on their emotions, sometimes—even young superheroes! But what do they do when they’re having a bad day? Colorful action-packed illustrations and a dynamite rhyming text reveal the many ways superheroes (and ordinary children, too) can resist the super-temptation to cause a scene when they’re sad, mad, frustrated, lonely, or afraid. From burning off steam on a bike or a hike, to helping others, this energetic picture book has plenty of fun ideas to help kids cope when they’re feeling overwhelmed.
From a child’s point of view, this lyrical picture book looks at the relationship of nature to the human world and the place we call home.
From the edge of the sea to a high mountain top, everything has its place in the world and all living things are connected. The world around us has a lot to tell us if we take the time to look and listen. This tender and comforting picture book celebrates the wisdom in many of the things great and small that make up our wonderful world.
Boredom: humankind’s age-old adversary. It’s a state that is undesirable, uninteresting . . . and just plain boring. But as one particularly bored boy discovers, there’s actually more to boredom than meets the eye—more questions, more theories, and heaps of humor. This exploration of boredom from acclaimed author-illustrator Shinsuke Yoshitake playfully—and hilariously—unpacks the ways in which a seemingly stagnant state is actually a portal into a dynamic, life-enriching experience. For anyone who’s ever been mind-numbingly bored, this smart, laugh-out-loud picture book just might change your perspective on the state of boredom forever.
For fans of Hilda and the Troll comes PILU OF THE WOODS, a heartwarming and bittersweet story of friendship, loss, exploring complex emotions and finding your way home from debut creator Mai K. Nguyen.
Willow loves the woods near her house. They’re calm and quiet, so different from her own turbulent emotions, which she keeps locked away. When her emotions get the better of her one day, she decides to run away into the woods. There, she meets Pilu, a lost tree spirit who can’t find her way back home—which turns out to be the magnolia grove Willow’s mom used to take her to. Willow offers to help Pilu, and the two quickly become friends.
But the journey is long, and Pilu isn’t sure she’s ready to return home yet—which infuriates Willow, who’s determined to make up for her own mistakes by getting Pilu back safely. As a storm rages and Willow’s emotions bubble to the surface, they suddenly take on a physical form, putting both girls in danger… and forcing Willow to confront her inner feelings once and for all.
With unmitigated honesty, a touch of humor, and sensitive illustrations by Quentin Blake, Michael Rosen explores the experience of sadness in a way that resonates with us all.
Sometimes I’m sad and I don’t know why.
It’s just a cloud that comes along and covers me up.
Sad things happen to everyone, and sometimes people feel sad for no reason at all. What makes Michael Rosen sad is thinking about his son, Eddie, who died suddenly at the age of eighteen. In this book the author writes about his sadness, how it affects him, and some of the things he does to cope with it — like telling himself that everyone has sad stuff (not just him) and trying every day to do something he can be proud of. Expressively illustrated by the extraordinary Quentin Blake, this is a very personal story that speaks to everyone, from children to parents to grandparents, teachers to grief counselors. Whether or not you have known what it’s like to feel deeply sad, the truth of this book will surely touch you.
Gustavo, the Shy Ghost - This winning debut picture book from Mexican artist Flavia Z. Drago about finding the courage to make friends is perfect for the spooky season – or anytime. Gustavo is good at doing all sorts of ghostly things: walking through walls, making objects fly, and glowing in the dark. And he loves almost nothing more than playing beautiful music on his violin. But Gustavo is shy, and some things are harder for him to do, like getting in a line to buy eye scream or making friends with other monsters. Whenever he tries getting close to them, he realizes they just can’t see him. Now that the Day of the Dead is fast approaching, what can he do to make them notice him and to share with them something he loves? With fancifully detailed artwork and visual humor, debut picture-book creator Flavia Z. Drago’s vivid illustrations tell a sweet and gently offbeat story of loneliness, bravery, and friendship that is sure to be a treat for little ghouls and goblins everywhere.
My Friend is Sad - Gerald is careful. Piggie is not. Piggie cannot help smiling. Gerald can. Gerald worries so that Piggie does not have to. Gerald and Piggie are best friends. In My Friend is Sad, elephant Gerald is down in the dumps. Piggie is determined to cheer him up by dressing as a cowboy, a clown, and even a robot! But what does it take to make a sad elephant happy? The answer will make even pessimistic elephants smile.
Curious George's Are You Curious? - Do you ever feel like George? Are you curious? Are you mischievous? Curious kids can read alon with their parents to see if they behave like the monkey best known for getting in and out of mischief.
Home for a While - Calvin is in foster care, and he wants to trust someone, anyone, but is afraid to open his heart. He has lived in a lot of houses, but he still hasn’t found his home. When he moves in with Maggie, she shows him respect, offers him kindness, and makes him see things in himself that he’s never noticed before. Maybe this isn’t just another house, maybe this is a place Calvin can call home, for a while.
When Esperanza finds a heart-shaped rock, she sees it as a reminder to spread kindness and love in the world. But when the school play doesn’t go the way she’d imagined, will she remember to give it to herself?Listening with My Heart reminds us of the importance of being friends to ourselves! A beautifully illustrated book that touches on the universal themes of friendship, empathy and self-acceptance.A wonderful addition to any home or school library! Includes kid-friendly self-compassion and mindfulness exercises.
A true friend can help us through anything…When a little girl learns about her parents’ divorce on a Thursday, it ruins her favorite day of the week. But her stuffed-unicorn friend steps in to help, taking her on adventures to cheer her up and staying by her side to comfort her when feelings are hard. Then, slowly, the little girl and her unicorn friend awaken to the natural world that surrounds them as life continues to shift and change…until the day that Thursday can become just Thursday again. Told with great sensitivity and beauty, this is a book of healing and hope for children experiencing divorce and a testament to the power of friendship in helping us to overcome life’s biggest obstacles.
From the bestselling Pete the Cat series, Pete’s magic sunglasses help him turn his mood from grumpy to awesome!In this hardcover picture book, Pete the Cat wakes up feeling grumpy–nothing seems to be going his way. But with the help of some magic sunglasses, Pete learns that a good mood has been inside him all along.Fans of Pete the Cat will love watching him take his positive outlook and transform a grumpy day into an awesome day!The fun never stops–download the free groovin’ song. Time for magic fun in the sun!Don’t miss Pete’s other adventures, including Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes, Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes, Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons, Pete the Cat Saves Christmas, Pete the Cat and the Bedtime Blues, Pete the Cat and the New Guy, Pete the Cat and the Cool Cat Boogie, Pete the Cat and the Missing Cupcakes, Pete the Cat and the Perfect Pizza Party, and Pete the Cat: Crayons Rock!
The Upside-Down Magic kids are back in another topsy-turvy adventure in the next installment of this New York Times bestselling series, now a Disney Channel Original Movie!Marigold Ramos can magically make things small - sometimes very, very small. The only problem? She can’t figure out how to make them big again.Maybe a new tutor can help Marigold manage her magic. And maybe her magic will come in handy as she and her friends in the Upside-Down Magic class band together to protest a new rule by their principal, a super unfair rule that bans them from bringing their amazing new toy dragons to school.But when Marigold starts shrinking her friends and the class bunny, it’s a humongous problem! It’s time to figure out how Marigold and her friends can make a big statement… without disappearing entirely!
A young girl explores what different emotions feel like, such as happiness which makes her want to twirl, or sadness which feels as heavy as an elephant.
I Love My New Toy! - Gerald is careful. Piggie is not. Piggie cannot help smiling. Gerald can. Gerald worries so that Piggie does not have to. Gerald and Piggie are best friends. In I Love My New Toy!, Piggie can’t wait to show Gerald her brand new toy. But will an accidentally broken toy accidentally break a friendship?
How Full Is Your Bucket? for Kids - An illustrated adaptation of the long-running bestseller How Full Is Your Bucket? (more than 400,000 copies sold) for kids – told through the story of a boy who learns a valuable “bucket filling” metaphor and watches it come to life as the day unfolds. Every moment matters. Each of us has an invisible bucket. When our bucket is full, we feel great. When it’s empty, we feel awful. Yet most children (and many adults) don’t realize the importance of having a full bucket throughout the day. In How Full Is Your Bucket? For Kids, Felix begins to see how every interaction in a day either fills or empties his bucket. Felix then realizes that everything he says or does to other people fills or empties their buckets as well. Follow along with Felix as he learns how easy it can be to fill the buckets of his classmates, teachers and family members. Before the day is over, you’ll see how Felix learns to be a great bucket filler, and in the process, discovers that filling someone else’s bucket also fills his own.
Judy Moody, Mood Martian - It’s Backwards Day, so Judy Moody double-dares herself to become Queen of the Good Mood for one whole week. Can she do it? Will the real Judy Moody please stand up? In honor of Backwards Day, Judy Moody decides to turn that frown upside down, make lemonade out of lemons, and be nice to stinky little brothers. In fact, Judy becomes a NOT moody, cool-as-a-cucumber neat freak for one whole entire day. But when her combed hair, matching outfits, and good moods hang around for days after, her friends begin to worry. Could this smiley Judy be an imposter?
Ghost - A National Book Award Finalist for Young People’s Literature. Nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read. Ghost wants to be the fastest sprinter on his elite middle school track team, but his past is slowing him down in this first electrifying novel of the acclaimed Track series from Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award-winning author Jason Reynolds. Ghost. Lu. Patina. Sunny. Four kids from wildly different backgrounds with personalities that are explosive when they clash. But they are also four kids chosen for an elite middle school track team–a team that could qualify them for the Junior Olympics if they can get their acts together. They all have a lot to lose, but they also have a lot to prove, not only to each other, but to themselves. Running. That’s all Ghost (real name Castle Cranshaw) has ever known. But Ghost has been running for the wrong reasons–it all started with running away from his father, who, when Ghost was a very little boy, chased him and his mother through their apartment, then down the street, with a loaded gun, aiming to kill. Since then, Ghost has been the one causing problems–and running away from them–until he meets Coach, an ex-Olympic Medalist who sees something in Ghost: crazy natural talent. If Ghost can stay on track, literally and figuratively, he could be the best sprinter in the city. Can Ghost harness his raw talent for speed, or will his past finally catch up to him?
Kevin is a koala who clings to his tree, and never comes down to play with the other animals–until one day his tree falls down, and Kevin learns that the ground is not as scary as he believed.
In the style of Harold and the Purple Crayon comes a picture-book primer in emotional literacy and mindfulness that suggests we approach the feeling of sadness as if it is our guest. Sadness can be scary and confusing at any age! When we feel sad, especially for long periods of time, it can seem as if the sadness is a part of who we are–an overwhelming, invisible, and scary sensation. In When Sadness Is at Your Door, Eva Eland brilliantly approaches this feeling as if it is a visitor. She gives it a shape and a face, and encourages the reader to give it a name, all of which helps to demystify it and distinguish it from ourselves. She suggests activities to do with it, like sitting quietly, drawing, and going outside for a walk. The beauty of this approach is in the respect the book has for the feeling, and the absence of a narrative that encourages the reader to “get over” it or indicates that it’s “bad,” both of which are anxiety-producing notions. Simple illustrations that recall the classic style of Crockett Johnson (Harold and the Purple Crayon) invite readers to add their own impressions. Eva Eland’s debut picture book is a great primer in mindfulness and emotional literacy, perfect for kids navigating these new feelings–and for adult readers tackling the feelings themselves!
Clovis used to struggle with his temper, but ever since he took over his late grandmother’s china shop, he’s been learning how to manage it. He pours tea, listens to soothing music, and always keeps Granny’s words in mind: “Grace, grace, nothing broken to replace.” But when rivals from his football days come to heckle him at the shop, Clovis faces a big challenge that even Granny’s words and deep breaths might not be enough for. Readers will fall in love with Clovis’s gentle soul in this heartwarming and entertaining story about finding inner peace and second chances.
Ever had the blues? Yesterday one boy had them bad–not just the ordinary blues, the deep down in my shoes blues, the go away Mr. Sun quit smilin’ at me blues. But today he’s traded in those blues for greens, the runnin’ my hands along the hedges greens, the kind of greens that make him want to be Somebody. With text that begs to be read aloud, and bold, colorful paintings, this book will have readers big and small pondering the spectrum of moods and how they can change from day to day.
Uh-oh, Pookie is NOT happy in this kind-of-cranky board book from the beloved and bestselling Sandra Boynton. Oh, sweet little Pookie! Your bright eyes are wet. Come over and tell me why you are upset. When Pookie feels down, Pookie’s mom can always guess what’s wrong with her little one. Or can she? With Sandra Boynton’s signature charm and piggy pizzazz, this turn-that-frown-upside-down story proves that every Little Pookie loves a reason to smile.
Calm-Down Time - Every parent, caregiver—and toddler—knows the misery that comes with meltdowns and temper tantrums. Through rhythmic text and warm illustrations, this gentle, reassuring book offers toddlers simple tools to release strong feelings, express them, and calm themselves down. Children learn to use their calm-down place—a quiet space where they can cry, ask for a hug, sing to themselves, be rocked in a grown-up’s arms, talk about feelings, and breathe: “One, two, three . . . I’m calm as can be. I’m taking care of me.” After a break, toddlers will feel like new—and adults will, too. Books include tips for parents and caregivers.
Feelings Book - Sometimes I feel silly.Sometimes I feel like eating pizza for breakfast.Sometimes I feel brave.Sometimes I feel like trying something new… The Feelings Book vibrantly illustrates the wide range of moods we all experience. Kids and adults will appreciate Todd Parr’s quirky intelligence as he pays special attention to the ever-changing, sometimes nonsensical emotions that we all feel. Targeted to young children first beginning to read, this book will inspire kids to discuss their multitude of feelings in a kid-friendly, accessible format, told through Parr’s trademark bold, bright colors and silly scenes.
A Story About Emotions - The international bestseller that helps young children identify emotions and feel more in control, now available in a classic picture book format.One day, Color Monster wakes up feeling very confused. His emotions are all over the place; he feels angry, happy, calm, sad and scared all at once! To help him, a little girl shows him what each feeling means through color. As this adorable monster learns to sort and define his mixed up emotions, he gains self-awareness and peace as a result. Caregivers will enjoy sharing this concept book that taps into both socio-emotional growth and color concepts in a simple, friendly way.
Meditation Is an Open Sky - Feeling mindful is feeling good! You know when you’re having a bad day, you have that wobbly feeling inside and nothing seems to go right? Find a quiet place, sit down, and meditate! In this daily companion, kids of any age will learn simple exercises to help manage stress and emotions, find focus, and face challenges. They’ll discover how to feel safe when scared, relax when anxious, spread kindness, and calm anger when frustrated. Simple, secular, and mainstream, this mindfulness book is an excellent tool for helping kids deal with the stresses of everyday life.
An Indie Next List Pick * “Appealing illustrations combine with a timely message that one kind act can start a chain reaction of kindness. A sweet and far-from-cloying ode to love.” —Kirkus Fall in love with this endearing and adorable picture book that illustrates how a little bit of heart goes a long way to making the world a better place. Hedgehog, Bunny, and Squirrel are best friends. One day, they each find a letter. But not just any letter… A love letter. My word! My whiskers! Aww, nuts! Someone loves them. But who? The answer may surprise you! Celebrated author Anika Aldamuy Denise and beloved illustrator Lucy Ruth Cummins deliver this heartwarming tale about a wonderful mix-up that reminds us of the joys of friendship. Makes for a perfect Valentine’s Day gift, or for any time you want to tell someone in your life how much you love them!
In this second book of The Adventures of Sophie Mouse, Sophie and her friend Hattie Frog go on a daring adventure through the woods in search of some special art supplies! In the second book in The Adventures of Sophie Mouse, Sophie learns about some special emerald berries that will make the most perfect color for a painting she wants to do! But the seamstress who’s using the berries tells Sophie that they can only be found in one part of the forest: Weedsnag Way. Though that’s far from home, and a little scary, Sophie convinces her best friend, Hattie Frog, that they will be fine. But all is not quite fine, and the girls get lost along the way! Thanks to the help of a squirrel who disappeared from Pine Needle Grove years ago, Sophie and Hattie find the emerald berries…and their way home! With easy-to-read language and illustrations on almost every page, the Adventures of Sophie Mouse chapter books are perfect for beginning readers.
Count along with twenty young students from nineteen different homes as they get ready for their first day of kindergarten.
Alarm clocks go off and students all over town wake up and get ready for their big day. Some feel eager, others are nervous, and a few are even grumpy! But they all get dressed, eat breakfast, pack backpacks, and make their way to school, where they will meet their new teacher and become a wonderful new class. Boni Ashburn’s snappy rhyming text and Kimberly Gee’s adorable and diverse group of children make this a great pick for little ones getting ready for their first day of school.
Two fuzzy friends go to an amusement park. They try to convince each other that there are much scarier things than the roller coaster. Hairy spiders! Aliens! Fried ants! They soon discover that sometimes being scared isn’t as “scary” as they thought. With expressive illustrations and simple text, this giggle-inducing tale about (not) being scared features the endearing characters from the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award winner You Are (Not) Small.
Little Bro, Big Sis - A sister and brother are bothered by one another until they realize that two siblings might be okay after all.
How Are You Peeling? Food With Moods - An extraordinary picture book from the co-creator of Play with Your Food features an abundance of lively food sculptures that are the epitome of human emotions, from pensive peppers to grimacing grapefruits. 150,000 first printing.
Little Monkey Calms Down - Little Monkey is having a bad day. After a major melt down, he goes to his room and uses some coping techniques to calm down.
When I Feel Sad - Sometimes I feel sad. I feel sad when someone won’t let me play, or when I really want to tell about something and nobody listens. When someone else is sad, I feel sad, too…Sad is a cloudy, tired feeling. Nothing seems fun when I feel sad. Children will take comfort in this story. Readers will recognize similiar experiences in their own lives as this little guinea pig describes feeling sad when someone is cross or when something bad happens. Eventually our heroine realizes that feeling sad doesn’t last forever.
A unicorn’s bad day turns into a laugh-out-loud look at the pressure to be perfect and the importance of expressing your feelings Everyone knows that unicorns are perfect. They are glamorous and glittery, and their smiles make rainbows appear! But Kevin is having a less-than-perfect day. First, he wakes up on the wrong side of the bed …on the floor. Then he discovers that his mane is so wild that even his Super-Perfect-Hair-Day-Spray can’t tame it. And the day just gets worse from there. Kevin does his best to keep his outlook sunny, but it’s hard to keep smiling when everything goes horribly wrong!
Full of crisp color photographs, these books capture the expressions and moods of babies throughout their busy days. The soft-padded format makes them safe and easy for little hands to handle.
Now available in board book format with revised content perfect for even the youngest children. Featuring engaging photographs of young children and sweet rhyming text, this fun read-aloud teaches little ones about nonverbal communication from a kiss and a clap to a wave and a yawn.
Starting from the happiness of waking up into a brand-new day, the book goes on to explore the kinds of relationships and contrasts that play out between our feelings and experiences. These contrasts play out beautifully across the page from left to right, and across a couple of long gatefold pages. Whether it’s the nervousness of a beginning paired with the happiness of a middle; the indignity of a cut against the happiness of a scab; the boredom of nothing to do contrasted with the happiness of nothing to do; or the divide of mine against the happiness of our, these pages challenge the reader to think about daily activities and experiences and the feelings they conjure. They also lead us to think about the substance of our happiness, and what the ingredients of it might be. Written with subtlety and nuance and illustrated in pencil, pen and watercolor with great tenderness, The Happiness of a Dog with a Ball in its Mouth is a gentle, fun, and philosophical read, with which one can start and end the day.
Babies love lifting the flaps in these board books to find out all about themselves. Encouraging interaction and discussion, they are designed to support the Personal, Social and Emotional Development aspects of the Early Years Foundation Stage. A modern remake of one of our bestselling series with vivid illustrations by Ailie Busby.
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