Books are a fantastic way to explain and explore different emotions with children. From beautifully illustrated pictures books for younger readers to chapter books for older readers, read on to find some of the best books to start conversations on social-emotional learning in your classroom.
1. Ruby's Worry by Tom Percival
Ruby's worry is an endearing story about a girl who finds a worry which then follows her around getting bigger until she learns to talk about it.
2. The Proudest Blue by Ibtihaj Muhammad
This best-selling book is an uplifting tale of the bond between siblings, experiencing new things, and having pride in who you are, even in the face of ignorance.
3. The Boy At the Back of the Class by Onjali Rauf
When Ahmet joins the class he doesn't talk or smile, which confuses his classmates. Eventually, they learn what he has been through as a refugee and decide to help him.
4. The Benefits of Being an Octopus by Ann Braden
At school, Zoey's teacher makes her join the debating club where she gains a new perspective on things in her life such as being a young carer, poverty, and gun control.
5. Serena Williams by Mary Nhin
This book tells the inspiring true story of Serena Williams' journey to overcome discrimination and doubt and how the constant support of her family helped her along the way.
6. The Boy Who Made Everyone Laugh by Helen Rutter
This laugh-out-loud book follows the story of 11-year-old Billy Plimpton who has a stammer and wants to be a stand-up comedian when he's older.
7. Have You Filled a Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud
This classic book is all about encouraging acts of kindness towards others by imagining everyone has an invisible bucket that holds good feelings and thoughts.
8. The Peculiar Possum: The Nocturnals by Tracey Hecht
Penny the Possum befriends the Nocturnal Brigade and teaches them about how they are all different and why these differences are what make them unique.
9. The Hunt for the Nightingale by Sarah Ann Juckes
This incredibly moving story covers the topic of grief in a clever and gentle way. Jasper's sister is no longer with them, so he sets out in search of her and a nightingale.
10. The Boy Who Made the World Disappear by Ben Miller
Harrison can't control his temper and when he is given a black hole he starts making things disappear and learns that needs to learn to control his temper, fast!
11. It's Okay To Not Be Okay by Emily Hayes
In this social-emotional learning book, children will learn through rhymes and relatable examples that emotions can be good and bad, and are totally normal.
12. Anger Management Workbook for Kids by Samantha Snowden
This workbook has 50 different activities for kids that will help to teach vital social and emotional skills such as identifying their emotions and strategies to handle them.
13. Train Your Angry Dragon by Steve Herman
With cute illustrations, this book helps children to manage their anger and frustrations when things don't go the way they want.
14. The Extraordinary Girl by Melanie Joy Harder
When a little girl compares herself to others, her friend sets out to show her how special she really is. This book demonstrates the values of kindness, confidence, and friendship.
15. All Feelings Are Okay by Emily Hayes
This easy-to-read book is great for teaching emotional skills to children of various ages and abilities, highlighting that it is ok to feel angry, scared, sad, excited, happy, and worried.
16. The Pigeon & The Peacock by Jennifer L. Trace
This book explores themes of friendship, bravery, and acceptance as Pepper the Pigeon discovers all the things his friends like about him.
17. Good Enough Dinosaur by Steve Herman
This book will help children learn important social skills and how to handle negative emotions as the characters learn to build self-confidence.
18. The Invisible String by Patrice Karst
The Invisible String is a beautifully illustrated book for children to help them deal with complicated emotions such as anxiety, grief and, loss.
19. Mum, Dad can you hear me? by Despina Mavridou
This story explores the difficult emotions that can arise when children experience their parents going through a divorce.
20. Lost in the Clouds by Tom Tinn-Disbury
Lost in the Clouds is a sensitively written book, exploring the challenging emotions that can come with some of the toughest circumstances life can offer - the loss of a loved one.
21. Me and My Feelings by Vanessa Green Allen
This is a fantastic choice for children who struggle to stay in control of their feelings as it teaches them strategies to keep calm.
22. My Body Sends a Signal by Natalia Maguire
With accessible language and clear illustrations of familiar situations, this book is a great resource to teach children about the connections between emotions and their bodies.
23. Teach Your Dragon to Make Friends by Steve Herman
Social communication skills are essential to making friends and this book teaches this to children in an accessible way, through the idea of teaching it to their pet dragon.
24. What to Do When You Feel Like Hitting by Cara Goodwin
This book helps explain the emotions to toddlers in a fun way and then shows them kinder ways to express feelings to others than hitting.
25. Gentle Hands and Other Sing-Along Songs for Social-Emotional Learning by Amadee Ricketts
This delightful picture book is packed with engaging rhymes and songs to make social-emotional learning fun for younger years.
26. Two Monsters and Me - Everybody gets Angry by George Nesty
With five techniques to deal with anger, this book shows children that it's ok to get angry, but that there are ways to deal with this that are better than others.
27. Kindness is my Superpower by Alicia Ortego
Kindness is my Superpower is a thoughtfully written book that explains to children that it's ok to make a mistake and that saying sorry is important.
28. Monty the Manatee by Natalie Pritchard
This adorable book teaches children the importance of friendship and kindness in a story about bullying.
29. My Way to Kindness by Elizabeth Cole
This book uses familiar examples to demonstrate the importance of sharing, being kind, helping others, and having good manners.
30. HAPPY CONFIDENT ME Life Skills Journal by Linda Papadopoulos & Nadim Saad
With 60 different activities, this book will help teach children 10 foundational skills from resilience to positive thinking and help them to have a growth mindset.
31. Be Brave by Poppy O'Neill
Aimed at helping children to overcome shyness, Be Brave teaches children mindfulness activities to better equip them to become more confident.
32. What's the Hurry, Murray? by Anna Adams
When Murray the dog is stressed, Hoots the owl teaches him some mindfulness techniques to help him calm down. This book will teach children strategies to calm down when they get stressed.
33. Listen Like an Elephant by Kira Willey
This book has a collection of mindfulness exercises to teach children to slow down and manage their breath, body, and emotions.
34. The Steves by Morag Hood
Two puffins get into a big, increasingly silly argument until they decide that it is silly to argue and they resolve their issues. This book is great for learning how to resolve conflict.
35. Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall
This sweet book focuses on being brave and facing your fears as Jabari gets ready to jump off the diving board at the swimming pool, with his dad there to encourage him.
36. Enemy Pie by Derek Munson & Tara Calahan King
For children who are struggling with conflict or learning to make friends, it teaches them how to be kind and respect others, and even how an enemy can become a friend.
37. Say Something by Peter H. Reynolds
This encouraging and empowering book will show children that they alone have control over their words and actions, and thus the power to make a change.
38. Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein
This funny story, with its colorful illustrations, is perfect for children who are having trouble understanding when they are interrupting others.
39. The Way I Feel by Janan Cain
This book helps children to identify complex feelings and emotions and teaches them the vocabulary they need to express their feelings to adults around them.
40. Millie Fierce by Jane Manning
When the other children at school ignore Millie decides to be fierce, but she soon learns that being nice is better than being mean to others.
41. Believe in Yourself (Be You) by Lexi Rees, Sasha Mullen & Eve Kennedy
This book has many mindfulness activities to help anxious children become more aware of their thoughts and actions.
42. Dia's Power by Mina Minozzi
Dia's Power is a wonderful interactive story that teaches children about gratitude and the choices we make.
43. B is for Breathe by Dr. Melissa Muro Boyd
This book has different strategies for children to learn to express their feelings and emotions from a young age.
44. The Amazing A-Z of Resilience by David Gumbrell
In this book are 26 objects and stories from A-Z to introduce wellbeing themes and start conversations to develop resilience in children.
45. Chiri The Hummingbird by Jo Blake
Through the story of Chiri, a hungry hummingbird, this book explores various themes such as our relationship with others, empathy, and how to take positive action to make things right.
46. I Am Stronger Than Anxiety by Elizabeth Cole
With lovely illustrations to catch children's attention, this book explains anxiety in a child-friendly way and gives tips to overcome worries.
47. Be Mindful of Monsters by Lauren Stockly
This book teaches children the importance of accepting emotions through the story of a child whose emotions have become monsters.
48. Feelings by Libby Walden & Richard Jones
This beautifully artistic book invites conversation around emotions and what they look like to different people.
49. All About Feelings by Felicity Brooks & Frankie Allen
This book teaches children to describe their feelings, how they can change and improve their self-esteem.
50. The Crayons' Book of Feelings by Drew Daywalt
This creative book links emotions with colors as children read a story about the different emotions that these crayons feel.
51. The Boy with Big, Big Feelings by Britney Winn Lee
This book is highly relatable for children with severe anxiety or who experience extreme emotions as it illustrates and shows ways to cope with the challenges they face day-to-day.
52. Kindness Grows by Britta Teckentrup
This peek-through book is fantastic for teaching younger children about the joys of friendship and how kindness can spread if we are considerate of each other.
53. What are Feelings? by Katie Daynes
Younger children will love this lift-the-flap book as they follow the story of these animals exploring different emotions.