Teaching Emotions

Top 5 Books to Foster Conversations with Young Children

· Social-Emotional,Language and Literacy

Learning to identify and appropriately cope with their emotions is no small feat for children. But, we know that emotional regulation is a critical skill for children to develop in order to be successful in school settings. De-mystifying emotions through books is one great way to support children with this development. Through interactive read alouds, teachers are able to have discussions with children about different emotions and coping mechanisms. Looking for some great books to bring to the classroom? Check out our top five books to teach students about emotions.

1. Glad Monster Sad Monster

By Ed Emberley and Anne Miranda

The authors of Glad Monster, Sad Monster expertly link emotions with many common activities a child might experience that result in that emotion. This book provides discussion opportunities with questions such as “What makes you glad?” to promote child reflection in a supportive environment. And the emotion face masks that children can “wear” make this book one your children will love to hear over and over again!

2. When Sophie Gets Angry, Really Really Angry

By Molly Bang

Anger is one of the hardest emotions for children to process and cope with, particularly in a group setting. In this Caldecott winning book, author Molly Bang depicts the story of a young girl who gets angry, really really angry. This story helps teach children about healthy ways to handle their anger through finding a quiet place and taking time to calm down, even when what they want to do is kick and scream.

3. The Pigeon Has Feelings, Too!

By Mo Willems

Mo Willems has done it again! Pigeon returns to teach us that we are all entitled to our own feelings and no one can tell us how to feel. Pigeon also demonstrates body language and facial expressions connected to particular emotions. And in typical Mo Willems fashion, the story ends with a twist that will surely make adults laugh too!

4. The Way I Feel

By Janin Cain

We all feel many emotions each day. This book explains a few of our emotions and what we want to do when we feel that way. Use this book with slightly older children to teach new vocabulary words for particular emotions like “shy” or “frustrated”. The bright colors, beautiful illustrations, and rhyming patterns will make this one that quickly appeals to all young audiences.

5. The Grumpy Bird

By Jeremy Tankard

Sometimes, we all wake up on the wrong side of the bed! Grumpy Bird does too. And he is further irritated by his friends constant questions. Luckily, it’s those same friends who eventually help to cheer him up. Use this book to foster a conversation about what we can do to help our friends and classmates when they sad, mad, or grumpy. 

About the Author

Anna Marrs is a former early literacy curriculum developer and a former certified teacher in North Carolina. She holds a Master's in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and now works on the Education team at Kaymbu.

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