I’ve received a pile of new, great picture books that deal with feelings that formed the basis for this booklist. When I think of emotions and kids, the book that pops into my mind is When Sophie Gets Angry, Really, Really Angry. It’s a picture book with illustrations that explode with emotion that makes it especially powerful and memorable. I think we’ve all dealt with children expressing anger and frustration so it’s not surprising that several books with this theme came out recently.
How about you? What picture books about emotions do you like? Thanks for sharing!
p.s. Related posts:
Starting Kindergarten and Preschool Books (a lot of books on this list cover anxiety)
Picture Books for Kids to Discuss Emotions
Angry Cookie by Laura Dockrill, illustrated by Maria Karipidou
Cookie woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Cookie warns the reader that it is very, very angry and that the reader is not welcome to hang around. But as the reader turns the page, Cookie starts to open up about the source of its anger. It started off with a bad recorder performance by Cookie’s roommate and it just snowballed from there. But as Cookies relays the source of its frustration, talking to the reader helps it a lot. And that’s the message of the book. A good listener can be a good friend by just listening and being there. And that’s how the cookie crumbles and why the cookie’s glass goes from being empty to full. [picture book, ages 3 and up]
Sophie When She Gets Angry, Really Really Angry by Molly Bang
An explosive temper can be scary for both the child and the people witnessing it. When Sophie gets angry over sharing a stuffed animal, she really loses it, and it takes time running away outdoors to recenter herself and that can be one solution to handling strong emotions. [picture book, ages 3 and up]
The Unbudgeable Curmudgeon by Matthew Burgess, illustrated by Fiona Woodcock
It can be tough to get someone out of a bad mood. A food offering might help, but sometimes that doesn’t work. Hugs can help more than nudges. Distractions and karaoke are strategies to try. This picture book invites the reader to think of ways to get kids out of a grumpy mood while also showing that moods, both good and bad, can rub off. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Grumpy Duck by Joyce Dunbar, illustrated by Petr Horacek
Duck’s grumpy mood is visible in the form of a dark cloud floating overhead that grows in size in sync with Duck’s mood. Duck’s friends want to help but Duck rejects their overtures. The cloud over Duck grows and grows until it affects everyone. When the cloud turns dark and bursts with water, suddenly Duck isn’t grumpy anymore. As Duck frolics in the rain, everyone starts to join in. The big dark cloud disappears and in its place is a rainbow. Use this picture book to discuss whether or not grumpiness is contagious. [picture book, ages 3 and up]
The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle
Here’s another classic to discuss grouchy bullies with kids. The Grouchy Ladybug doesn’t want to share and flies off in a huff when the other ladybug stands up to it. As the Grouchy Ladybug takes on other creatures during her journey, kids are exposed to the concept of time and relative size. At the core of the story is the message of good manners and gratitude. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst, illustrated by Ray Cruz
Angry Cookie and Alexander have a lot in common as both wake up to a very bad day. I think it’s the humor that makes this book about grouchiness a classic! [picture book, ages 6 and up]
One Mean Ant by Arthur Yorinks, illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier
A really mean ant gets lost in a desert when a fly lands beside it. The ant is mean to the fly, but the fly ends up solving the ant’s problem, including one that the ant didn’t realize it had. This is a fun book to discuss crankiness and what the root cause might be. [picture book, ages 3 and up]
When Sadness Is At Your Door by Eva Eland
When sadness strikes, this picture book offers sound advice:
- give sadness a name
- listen to it
- identify the cause
- try doing something enjoyable
- take a walk
- let it stay until it is ready to leave
This is all good advice to young children learning to cope with grief. [picture book, ages 3 and up]
Quiet Please, Owen McPhee by Trudy Ludwig, illustrated by Patrice Barton
Owen likes to talk. He talks so much it gets in the way of his ability to listen. When Owen contracts laryngitis, he learns how frustrating it is to try to be heard and learns the power of being a good listener. Use this book to discuss social dynamics in a classroom or a group of children. This can be used to help kids handle frustration with classmates with impulse control issues. [picture book, ages 5 and up]
The Color Monsters: A Pop Up Book of Feelings by Anna Llenas
The Color Monster is feeling all mixed up with jumbled up emotions. Each color is associated with an emotion. Young kids will enjoy the vibrant pop-up art as they help identify emotions: happiness, sadness, anger, fear, and calm. [pop up picture book, ages 3 and up]
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BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.