As parents we know at deep level the importance of helping our children understand and communicate feelings, also called emotional intelligence. You don’t need research to know that some kids struggle with feelings while others seem to grasp and communicate their emotions easily – and there are many on the continuum in between. So how do you help kids learn about feelings and emotions? And, what if a child has more difficulty with this area as do children on the autism spectrum or with sensory processing disorder? Start with books.
Books for Emotional Intelligence
You know me, I love starting with books — so let’s start with some amazing newly published books relating to emotional intelligence today.
Princess Kim and Too Much Truth by Maryann Gogga-Leffler
This book REALLY helped my eldest daughter who is a very literal and black-and-white thinker with Sensory Processing Disorder. She really didn’t understand that telling the truth can hurt people’s feelings. Reading this book with her was interesting because it initially confused her but the second time through, I could see she was learning what Princess Kim learned — sometimes you don’t have to tell all the truth, that you can say so much truth it makes your friends feel badly. No, you don’t need to lie, you just don’t need to say everything.
Do you know any other kids who would benefit from this book? I highly recommend it.
You’re Mean Lily Jean! by Frieda Wishinsky
Sisters, Sandy and Carley, always played together until Lily Jean moves in next door. Sandy and Lily Jean want to play together but Lily Jean says Carley can’t play unless Carly does what Lily Jean says – be the baby, the cow, the dog. Finally, Carley stands up to Lily Jean and so does her sister, Carley. When the sisters start to play circus, Lily Jean wants to play, too. The sisters ask, “Can you be nice?” And, a better relationship develops between all three girls. I love how this shows sisters sticking together, and so do my daughters. This is a favorite, happy ending story around our house.
Our Emotions and Behaviors by Sue Graves
My kids don’t just like any book – they’re picky, especially about books with a lesson. So, I was thrilled when they actually enjoyed and learned from the fiction stories in the Our Emotions and Behaviors series by Sue Graves and Free Spirit Publishing. Four titles in the series capture the big emotions that all kids feel — Who Feels Scared?, But Why Can’t I?, Not Fair, Won’t Share, andI’m Not Happy. The stories are perfect for young readers with captivating illustrations. Each book ends with a two-page series of pictures inviting kids to tell a story in their own words. Additional pages for adults offer discussion questions and suggestions for guiding children to talk about their feelings.
Should I Share My Ice Cream by Mo Willems
Elephant struggles with not wanting to share his ice cream with Piggie – even though Piggie isn’t around. He things he should share, then that he shouldn’t. He debates for so long that his ice cream melts into a puddle on the ground. Fortunately for him, Piggie comes along with an ice cream cone of her own and shares with Elephant.
The Busy Life of Ernestine Buckmeister by Linda Ravin Lodding
Perhaps this doesn’t totally fit in the emotional intelligence category but you can judge for yourself . . . Ernestine’s after-school activities exhaust her. She needs to play – and when she finally decides to play, she can tell her parents and nanny how she feels. It’s a lovely lesson reminding us to not over schedule our kids.
Chocolate Me! by Taye Diggs and Shane Evans
I really love this book. The boy feels so un-okay because of his skin color. It takes the eyes and wisdom of his mom for the boy to see how awesome he is, and embrace who he is and the color of his skin. It’s simple and meaningful.
More Ideas for Emotional Intelligence
- More books to develop emotional intelligence in children.
- iPad apps and books for emotional intelligence.
- NAEYC resources for emotional intelligence.
- Improving kids’ emotional intelligence.
- Encourage EQ (emotional intelligence) in kids.
- FEELINGS BOWL activity from Kimochis
- EQ Board Game for Kids
- Activities for Teaching EQ to Your Kids
- Yoga for Kids
Download my "can't put 'em down" book lists for your kids ages 3 - 13.
Also, I'll send you a bonus "23 Reasons to Read" printable poster!