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Best Julia Cook Books for Social-Emotional Learning

Julia Cook is an award-winning children’s author who has published nearly 100 books on social and emotional development topics.

The goal behind Julia Cook’s books is to teach children through fun and memorable stories. Inspiration for her books comes from working with children and carefully listening to counselors, parents, and teachers, in order to stay on top of needs in the classroom and at home.

Julia Cook Books for Social-Emotional Learning

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I fell in love with Julia Cook’s books after my son read the book Soda Pop Head at school (which is a book about anger coping). It was the first time he ever came home and was able to tell me strategies used by the characters in the book.

He even drew a picture of Soda Pop Head on his assignment beside a question he didn’t understand – to express his frustration. This told me that he’s not just hearing these books but there is true comprehension.

And that is the difference between Julia Cook’s books and any other children’s book we’ve read about social-emotional topics.

We’re working through her collection now. The school includes her books in their curriculum and we’re adding them to our home, too. This post is a list of Julia Cook’s books, a link to purchase them, and it notes which skills are targeted by the book.

That way you can choose books that specifically target skills your child needs to work on.

My Top 10 Julia Cook Books

Social & Emotional Learning Books for Kids by Julia Cook 
#SocialSkills #SEL #SocialEmotionalLearning


Baditude is the story of a boy named Norman, who has a very negative attitude about life. But, his teachers and parents help turn that around.

Skills Targeted: Positive thinking, gratitude, perspective-taking

Photo Credit: PsychedToRead

Bubble Gum Brain

This book, Bubble Gum Brain is all about two kids – Bubble Gum Brain, and Brick Brain. Bubble Gum Brain loves to try new things. But, Brick Brain wants everything to stay the same.

Skills Targeted: Cognitive flexibility, self-improvement, growth mindset

Soda Pop Head

A boy named Lester is the center of the Soda Pop Head story. When he gets angry, or frustrated, it builds up until he BLOWS.

Skills Targeted: Anger coping strategies, recognizing triggers, self-regulation


Decibella is the story of a girl named Isabella who is loud all. the. time. That is until her teacher tells her about the 5 voice volumes and when they should be used.

Skills Targeted: Volume of voice, appropriate social interactions

Photo Credit: Sunny In Primary

It’s Hard to Be a Verb

This is a great book for kids with ADHD. It’s Hard to Be a Verb is about a boy named Louis who has trouble focusing and always seems to be moving when he shouldn’t be.

Targeted Skills: Focus and attention, calming skills

Making Friends is an Art

Making Friends is an Art is a story about colored pencils. While all the other pencils have fun playing together and have special talents, Brown feels like a misfit. He doesn’t even know what his talent is.

Targeted Skills: Building relationships, social skills,

I’m Stretched

All of the responsibilities and expectations on kids can make them feel stretched beyond their limits. I’m Stretched! is a story that speaks to children giving them tactical tools to manage their stress in a healthy and helpful way.

Skills Targeted: Stress management

Rumor Has It

Rumor Has It teaches children about gossip and describes how a simple misunderstanding starts a chain reaction that can’t be undone.

Targeted Skills: Building relationships, manners, social skills, and understanding that not everything you hear is true.

Photo Credit: SELebrate Good Times

My Mouth is a Volcano

Louis is back (from It’s Hard to Be a Verb) and now he’s struggling with interrupting others. My Mouth is a Volcano is a story about how he learns to respectfully wait his turn to speak.

Targeted Skills: Manners, social cues, listening skills

A Flicker of Hope

A Flicker of Hope reminds children that dark clouds can be temporary and asking for help is always okay. We all have times when we need to borrow a little hope from someone else.

Targeted Skills: Resilience, asking for help, growth mindset.

Activities for Julia Cook’s Books

A lot of the books by Julia Cook also has an activity book available. You can also find tons of activities online, especially on Teachers Pay Teachers. You’ll also find some on teachers’ blogs.

Doing engaging, play-based activities with your child is an important part of helping them understand what they’re reading and also be able to apply the skills from the books.

Don’t just read the book and move on.

Choose a book of the week. Read the book and each day do a different activity to go along with the book, turning it into a complete learning experience.

Here are some resources to help you find activities

Does Your Child Struggle to “Use Their Words”?

I know my son struggles to use his words in certain situations more than others. He’s great with me – but an unfamiliar adult, or a peer? That can be hard for him.

That’s why I’m super excited for Julia Cook’s newest book – Herman Jiggle, Say Hello!

Herman Jiggle, Say Hello

Herman Jiggle is excited to make some new friends.

But first, he needs to figure out how to stop his tummy from doing flip-flops and his words from getting stuck in his mouth! He can’t seem to introduce himself or talk to others without getting nervous.

With Mom eager to help Herman overcome his nerves and learn to make a good impression, she teaches him some new skills like how to introduce himself, and how to start up a conversation.

This book is going to be released on February 18th, 2020. But, you can pre-order it now and get it on its release date!

10 Books that teach social emotional skills to kids - Julia Cook books are a great tool to target social-emotional skills in children including: resilience, growth mindset, positive thinking, building relationships, asking for help, flexible thinking, problem solving, self-regulation - #Selfregulation #ChildrensBooks #SocialEmotionalLearning #PositiveParenting

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