Best Picture Books for Kids About Feelings
Tizzy Tornado is feeling silly. But Tizzy’s acted too silly and made his friends feel badly. Use this simple, relatable board book with fun comic illustrations to introduce children to emotions.
The I’m Not Scared Book by Todd Parr
This book talks about times what things are scary and times when those same things are not — “Sometimes I’m scared of dogs // I’m not scared when they give me kisses.” Parr shows how it’s okay to feel scared as well as shifting the perspective to see things in a new way.
I Say, You Say FEELINGS by Tad Carpenter
You’ll love this lift-the-page flap book about feelings. “I say happy, you say . . .” lift the page to see “SMILE.” “I say grumpy, you say . . . ” flip down the page to see “FROWN.”
Ruby Finds a Worry by Tom Percival
Ruby loves swinging and exploring. One day, she discovers a yellow blob Worry who grows and grows and won’t leave her alone even brushing her teeth and at school. The Worry stopped Ruby from doing things she loved, becoming enormous and all-consuming. When she sees a boy with his own blue Worry, she realizes that other people have Worries, too and that when they talk about them, they become smaller, even going away. Add this to your emotional bookshelf to support kids with sharing their own worries.
The Rabbit Listened by Cory Doerrfeld
Tomorrow I’ll Be Brave by Jessica Hische
My 13-year-old daughter thinks this book is beautiful, stunning, and inspiring. The book’s message is meant to encourage kids to pause at the end of their day and be reflective, love themselves, and set intentions for tomorrow. Each hand-lettered adjective is big, bright, and impactful from adventurous to curious. The writing talks about all the possibilities for tomorrow…tomorrow you can be creative, brave, and confident. Just like you tried to be today. And if you didn’t succeed, it’s okay. Hische gives examples of activities for each trait — for creative she writes, “I’ll color and draw for hours // I’ll play a game of make-believe and use my magic powers.“
The Many Colors of Harpreet Singh by Supriya Kelkar, illustrated by Alea Marley
A relatable story about feelings, moving homes, and finding a friend with much-needed Sikh representation. Harpreet loves colors and expresses his feelings with the colors of his patkas (a kind of turban) that he wears each day. When his family moves to a new home, he wears blue for feeling nervous, then gray for feeling sad, and white for feeling shy. Harpreet picks white when he’s at his new sch0ol. Then one day, he finds a lost hat and when he returns it, he makes a new friend. A friend makes a big difference and Harpreet beings wearing colors again– red, pink, and yellow. In fact, now he wears different colors for different occasions, including white for hanging out with a new friend.
Kevin the Unicorn: It’s Not All Rainbows by Jessica von Innerebner
Pilar’s Worries by Victoria M. Sanchez, illustrated by Jess Golden
This story about a girl named Pilar shows a child experiencing anxiety — and what she does about it. She notices the sensations in her body like her heart beating fast and her legs prickling. She has strategies that help — breathing and saying, “I can do it”. It’s not overly complex but may show kids that they’re not alone.
Goodbye Brings Hello: A Book of Firsts by Dianne White, illustrated by Daniel Wiseman
Growing up brings growing pains — like those of moving on or saying goodbye. This book reminds us that often, the goodbyes bring something new into our lives, too. No more tricycle. Now you’re riding a bicycle. No more velcro shoes. You’ve learned how to tie lace-ups. Eye-catching brightly colored illustrations match the picture book’s message perfectly.
Oopsie-do! by Tim Kubart, illustrated by Lori Richmond
It’s okay to make mistakes — just say oopsie-do and move on. If you spill on the floor or if your snacks fall on the ground, what do you say? Oopsie-do. What a reassuring message for children! Listen to the song at hc.com/oopsie.
The Worry Box by Suzanne Chiew, illustrated by Sean Julian
When her friend, Murray Bear, worries about going to the waterfall, Molly shows him her worry box. She writes down what she’s worried about then puts it inside. “Worrying won’t stop me!” Because of this, Murray is able to enjoy the many adventures the day brings. Also, now he can help his new friend, Lily when she gets worried. “Sharing worries makes them feel smaller and not as scary.” I’m really picky about how books handle feelings. I appreciate that this picture books about emotions allows for all feelings, including worry. This is a very healthy approach.
Today I Feel An Alphabet of Feelings by Madalena Moniz
When I Feel Scared by Cornelia Maude Spelman
I can’t say enough good things about the When I Feel” books by Cornelia Maude Spelman. They’re well-written, accepting, and offer strategies for understanding the different emotions. The series includes:
When I Feel Jealous
When I Feel Good About Myself
When I Feel Angry
When I Feel Sad
When I Care About Others
The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm by LeVar Burton & Susan Schaefer Bernardo, illustrated by Courtenay Fletcher
I love the intention of this book — to help kids see that swallowing your feelings without expressing them just makes you feel yucky and that you can get help from your friends. I can see this book being really helpful to a lot of children and their families. Do you bottle your feelings or express them?
Emily’s Blue Period by Cathleen Daly, illustrations by Lisa Brown
Emily is struggling with the big feelings that come from a divorce. When she learns about Pablo Picasso’s blue period, Emily can relate because she’s also sad and going through her own blue period. It shows how emotions can be expressed in colors and with art.
The Color Monster a Pop-Up Book of Feelings by Anna Llenas
Monster’s colors are all scribbly and mixed-up which reflect his emotions. A little girl helps Monster separate his feelings on each page with colors and fantastic pop-ups. I love the green calm page showing Monster in a hammock. The next-to-last page has fun pull-up tabs so kids can see inside each of the feelings jars. And the last page is the best surprise of all . . .
Wild Feelings by David Milgrim
Do you ever feel . . . ? asks this picture book. Do you feel as stubborn as a mule? as chicken as a chicken? as daffy as a duck? Simple illustrations and metaphorical text show that everyone feels these feelings — and that it’s okay.
When I’m Feeling Scared by Trace Moroney
Bunny describes feeling scared. He describes what happens in his body (body trembles and shakes,) what he does (run and hide,) what he does (yell, “HELP,”) and that it’s okay to be scared that everyone gets sacred sometimes. Basic and well-done. More board books in this series: When I’m Feeling Kind, When I’m Feeling Happy, and When I’m Feeling Jealous.
When Sophie Gets Angry–Really, Really Angry… by Molly Bang
When Sophie gets angry she really loses her temper, sparks fly, and she goes into a rage. While everyone gets angry sometimes, readers watch as Sophie learns how to deal with her emotions without hurting anyone else.
Poppy’s Best Paper by Susan Eaddy, illustrated by Rosalinde Bonnet
Kids will learn about jealousy and perseverance in this relatable picture book about Poppy. She wants her paper to be picked as the best in the class. When it’s not, she’s MAD. And jealous. In the end, Poppy keeps working hard and her paper is finally picked. I really love the artwork and the message in this story.
The Things I Love About Me by Trace Moroney
I want this for my kids, and yours, don’t you? Enjoy this self-love, confidence board book about a cute bunny who loves so many things about herself such as her fluffy ears, her big smile, and being a good friend. Warm and fuzzy!
Inside Out Sadly Ever After? by Elise Allen, illustrated by Daniel Holland
Riley experiences many emotions throughout her life which is shown in two memories; one of a picnic and the other of going to school. (joy, anger, fear, disgust, and sadness.)