What’s inside this article: A curated list of children’s books covering a wide range of topics surrounding emotions. Includes books about anxiety, love, anger, sadness, and more.
Books are a very important tool for teaching kids about emotions and emotional regulation.
Researchers actually found that the brain activity that occurs when we read fiction is very similar to experiencing that situation in real life.
This means reading about a situation or concept helps children work out how to solve it in reality.
If your child struggles with identifying or managing their emotions, one way you can help them develop this skill is by reading books about that emotion.
Your child will see different ways the characters in books felt, what they thought about, how they coped and managed those feelings and problem solved.
This list will break down some of the best books about emotions for kids, including books about love, books about anger, sadness, worry, anxiety, etc.
You’ll see a variety of books for different age groups and challenges. Hopefully this will make it easier to choose the best books for your own children.
Click any of the book titles to see where to buy.
Books About Emotions
These are just some books that introduce the names of different emotions and help kids to understand that everyone has all these different feelings, what they mean, and how they feel in your body.
This book is an excellent tool that can help children recognize their body signals and label emotions.
Being able to label and understanding emotions is a great first step towards better emotional regulation.
The color monster is a bestselling book about emotions and talks about untangling different feelings.
This book emphasizes the fact that it’s OK to feel all of these feelings, it is okay to listen to our bodies, and it is okay to cry.
This is such an important message for children who are often left feeling ashamed of anger and big emotions they don’t understand.
I LOVE this book for so many reasons – it’s definitely a must-read for all children but especially kids who are highly sensitive.
Some kids are “super feelers” or “highly sensitive” – they feel everything more intensely than others. This includes happiness and sadness.
All their emotions are BIG.
In the book the boy tries hiding all these big, big feelings but later realizes emotions aren’t something to hide! I think a lot of children would find this book relatable and comforting to know they aren’t the only ones who have big feelings.
The rhyming makes the book enjoyable for young children.
4. In My Heart
In My Heart: A Book of Feelings, is part of a series of books written to support toddler’s social & emotional development.
The book explores a range of emotions and explains to children how those emotions physically feel inside.
Although recommended for toddlers, the book contains a lot of similes and metaphors for describing emotions so I find it more suitable for elementary-age students to understand and relate.
This is a great book for older children. The recommended age is 7-10 years, but it’s better for kids ages 10-14 who are struggling with their emotions.
One great thing about this book is the focus on psychoeducation, and teaching children about how their brain works and why they get all these different emotions.
I love that the author has taken the time to talk about the thinking brain vs the emotional brain.
Understanding how the brain works helps kids feel more in control of themselves when they are overtaken by emotions.
I also have a free printable about this for kids, which you can download here:Your Brain: Explaining Fight or Flight to Kids
This is a great book for younger children about mixed emotions – it teaches children about conflicting emotions.
It also shows kids that when they have more than one feeling in their body about a situation, they don’t need to choose just one. All feelings are okay.
It also explains that there are different ways to feel the same feeling – different kinds of happy, different kinds of sad, etc.
Books About Anger
Anger is an unpleasant emotion that everyone experiences – managing your anger is a critical life skill, that all children go through the process of learning.
Anger is normal – it would be unrealistic to think your child shouldn’t get mad about things. The truth is things will frustrate and anger them (and us) almost daily.
What’s most important is to learn anger coping skills that don’t negatively impact ourselves and others, and learning ways to communicate why you feel angry in a way that supports problem-solving.
These are my favorite books about anger for children.
One of my absolute favorite children’s books. If you’re a regular reader, you may notice I’ve mentioned this book in a couple of other articles, and that’s because it’s so darn good.
Soda Pop Head is a fun book that teaches children about anger by comparing it to a can of soda and how if you shake it, it will eventually explode.
It’s written by Julia Cook who has published over 100 children’s stories for social-emotional development.
When my own son was frustrated on a school assignment he actually drew a picture of soda pop head next to the question he didn’t know how to answer.
That was exciting to me because it showed that the book explained the concept in a way that he could relate to and understand.
The book also provides several anger strategies, and there is an accompanying activity book, as well.
This is a great book about anger for preschool aged children. The main character, a dinosaur named Riley, gets “roaring mad” for different reasons and learnings coping skills to manage their anger.
The book also includes activities at the end that parents can do along with their children.
If you’re looking for a book about anger for a tween or young teen – this is the one you want.
I just love this book because your child can sit down and read this on their own and it’s like the book is speaking to them.
They’ve got the perfect combination of information and advice, tips, and illustrations to keep kids engaged, and a larger font so there’s not too much on a single page.
This book isn’t a story you read to your child, or your child reads to themselves. Rather, this is an activity book that contains 40 anger management activities.
This book is a great resource for anyone helping kids practice anger management skills because there are so many play-based options within the book that target a wide variety of skills.
School counselors, teachers, therapists, etc. will enjoy how positive and interactive this book is.
Books About Love
There is a lot of focus on teaching children about negative emotions but it’s important to learn about positive emotions too, such as love.
Love is an emotion that we actually experience in many different ways.
The way we love our best friend, our mother, and our significant others are all different, for example, and yet also completely different is the way we love foods, movies, hobbies, etc.
There are many healthy and unhealthy ways to express love to others as well. And a lot of of core personality traits that are built through love – such as compassion, empathy, and acceptance.
These are some great kids books about love.
This book about love comes from Gen Mindful, it’s great for preschoolers and young children. It’s all about finding love in every day experiences and cherishing our connections to each other and nature.
Little ones will love the ending, as the last page of the book as a mirror and says “Love is You”. These are such empowering, positive words to share with young children.
This is the type of book you want to read to your children a hundred times so the message sticks with them as they grow.
12. The Love Lottery
The illustrations in this book are stunning and the story is even better.
Love Lottery is about a mother’s love for their child – something that is so powerful, but you may not realize it until you become a parent yourself.
Having a child means winning the “love lottery” – it is the strongest, most unconditional love that exists. This book is an extra way of sharing that love and appreciation for your child, with your child.
This is a great one for elementary teachers to read with their class. It’s full of great examples for how to be part of the classroom community – making sure everyone feels safe, welcomed, and loved.
The illustrations are inclusive of all different people and the book shares the message that it’s important to show kindness and love to everyone. This is a great story for building compassion and understanding of others.
You can watch the read aloud here:
Every child should hear this story atleast once.
First of all – it lets children see what being excluded feels like. Perspective-taking is a skill that only begins emerging around 6-7 years old, so the feelings of other kids can be very difficult for them to imagine.
This book sheds light on how that feels. For example, Brian thinks he wishes he could draw a hole on the floor and disappear in it.
Then most importantly, the book shows how small acts of kindness can make children feel included, loved, and boost their self-esteem.
There’s a discussion guide in the back of the book, which is helpful for exploring the ideas farther. This would be particularly good for teachers running small social groups, but really it’s ideal for all kids.
Books About Sadness
As a parent with the best of intentions, it might be your first instinct to shield your child from sad feelings, comfort them, tell them everything will be okay, don’t cry.
We don’t want our kids to experience sadness. That only makes sense.
But the truth is, everyone feels sad sometimes. And there are many different reasons for feeling sad.
Grief, loneliness, illness, bullying, rejection. These are all things kids will eventually experience and the best way to get through them is to talk about their feelings and have positive coping strategies.
But people also feel sad (or disappointed) about smaller things, like not getting what they wanted, losing a toy, getting a poor grade on a test.
These books about sadness introduce kids to some of these more difficult topics and show them that they aren’t alone, and that sad feelings won’t last forever.
This is a wonderful book about sadness that helps children understand, and cope with grief, loss, and adapting to change.
It also shows children that even during sad times, good things can happen.
The resources at the back of the book are great for parents, educators, and counselors looking to help kids process a variety of difficult experiences – death, divorce, moving, death of a pet, understanding the stages of grief.
This sweet story is about a boy who feels sad and doesn’t know what to do.
All the animals arrive one by one and tell him what they think he should do – talk about it, get angry, throw it away. But the boy doesn’t like those ideas.
Then came the rabbit. Rabbit just sits close to the boy and offers comfort until he is ready, and this is just what he needed.
This book shows children one way to help people in your life feel better – by quietly, gently being there for them.
This is one for the teens or preteens. It’s about a girl who lives with her grandmother, because her mom left when she was a baby.
Her best-friend leaves her to be friends with someone “cooler” , a prospect more common than not in life.
It shows how to cope with the end of a friendship, what true family means, and how it’s okay to lean on others for support.
Sometimes When I’m Sad, is a great self-help book for toddlers and preschoolers, teaching healthy ways to cope with sadness.
The book shares things you might do, think, and feel when you’re sad – and things you can do to help yourself feel better, like talking to an adult, drawing, squishing clay, etc.
There’s also a section at the back of the book that provides information for parents about childhood depression and sadness, tools and sensory activities for managing these emotions, and more information for counselors and educators.
Books About Anxiety and Worry
Books about anxiety and worry are helpful to more children than many realize. Anxiety doesn’t look the same in kids – you might imagine panic attacks, or direct avoidance.
But often, anxiety looks like hyperactivity, non-compliance, complaints of illness or pain, and other difficult behavior.
Kids may not know how they’re feeling, or be able to differentiate anxiety from similar emotions like fear.
However, everyone experiences anxiety and worry, even if they don’t have an anxiety disorder. Helping children understand they aren’t alone and develop ways to manage and reduce anxiety provide lifelong benefits for kids.
With childhood anxiety hitting extremely close to home for me, finding the right books about anxiety are really important. Since anxiety is experienced differently for everyone and manifests around so many different situations, the right book about anxiety for your child is key.
The list below offers several great book options about anxiety and worry, and the overview of each book will help you determine if it’s a book your child can relate to.
This book about anxiety explains the biology behind anxious and worried thoughts and feelings in a way that children can understand.
Psychoeducation, which means learning what and why something is happening helps you gain more control over the emotions.
This book is written by a child psychologist and at the end of the book she has included resources for both parents and children who are dealing with anxiety.
This is a really great, informative book.
You can check out the read aloud here:
Ruby Finds a Worry is a great book for younger children, and Teacher’s Choice on Amazon.
It’s about a happy little girl who, you guessed it, finds a worry. And everyday her worry grows, until it’s the only thing she can think about.
She learns that even though no one else can see her worry, other people have worries too, and that talking about your worries can help them shrink.
Another Julia Cook book, if she’s written on the topic it’s going to make my list.
Rhyming and fun, Wilma Jean the Worry Machine does a great job of explaining how anxiety feels inside our body – the physiological response, which can often been quite intense.
Children of all ages can relate to this book, enjoy it’s humor, and use it as a way to learn strategies for managing their anxiety.
There’s also an activity book to go along with this story, you can find it here.
My 10 year old son reads this book and it’s helped him better understand his anxiety.
The comic-book style illustrations are cute and funny enough to make the book enjoyable for kids. But they also help make the information easier to understand.
There are literally SO many books about feelings out there.
Some books are very direct about their topic and for others it’s an underlying theme or lesson learned by the main character.
Everyone is different, has feelings for different reasons, and copes in different ways. Finding the right book for your child is key if you’re looking for books about feelings like anger, love, anxiety, sadness, etc. that your child can relate to.
Hopefully, this list is a helpful starting point and as I read and discover more books, I intended on updating this list.