Books to Explore Feelings With Children
Feelings are like the weather—everyone talks about them, but what can we do about them? Books can help children think about and express ideas they don’t yet have words for.
Big Heart World’s partners at School Library Journal recommend the following “feelings” books to explore ideas of sadness and frustration, loss and pride, fear and happiness with children.
Valentina and Monster, Written and illustrated by Ángeles Ruiz Reycraft
- How do you think Valentina feels when Monster is gone?
- What do the other characters do to help Valentina feel better?
- Have you ever lost something or someone?
- How did it make you feel?
Toasty, by Sarah Hwang
- How does Toasty feel in the beginning of the story? Have you ever felt that way?
- What does he want?
- What surprises him when he tries to play with real dogs?
- Were YOU surprised by the ending?
- How do you think Toasty and his new owner feel at the end?
I Talk Like a River, Written by Jordan Scott & illustrated by Sydney Smith
- How does the boy feel at the start of the story when he can’t use words to communicate with others?
- Have you ever felt that way?
- What helps the boy feel better?
- What are some things WE could do to help other people who are feeling lonely or unable to fit in?
See the Cat: Three Stories About a Dog by David LaRochelle & illustrate by Mike Wohnoutka Candlewick
- Who is Max?
- Why is Max frustrated?
- Have you ever felt frustrated?
- What happens at the end of the story, and how does it make Max feel?
Magnificent Homespun Brown, Written by Samara Cole Doyon & illustrated by Kaylani Juanita
- Describe the characters in the story.
- How do they feel? What clues can you find that they feel that way?
- Have you ever felt the way the characters feel? Have you ever felt different?
- Every person, of every color, is beautiful! What are the things you love about the characters in the story? What are some of the things you love about YOURSELF?
I Do Not Like Yolanda, Written & illustrated by Zoey Abbott
- Do you ever write and send letters?
- What does Bianca feel about Yolanda at the start of the story?
- To get past her hate and fear, Bianca has to do something brave. What does she do? And what does she find out?
- Is there anything brave YOU could do to get over something? What do you think would happen if you tried?
The School Library Journal is an American monthly magazine with articles and reviews for librarians, media specialists, and other educators who work with young people. It publishes 6,000-plus reviews each year, plus other features on literacy, technology, and education policy that are of interest to the school library and greater educator community.