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Great Read Alouds: Big emotions

grandma with grandchild in library, hug and bond while reading together. Education, storytelling and grandma teaching girl, relax and enjoy books, story and child developmentA great way to help preschoolers learn about feelings is to discuss how characters in books may feel. Maybe the character is happy, sad, scared or mad. Older kids can learn more complex feeling words such as frustrated, disappointed and nervous. Picture books highlight characters your child can identify with and understand.

Young children have an emerging capacity to experience, regulate and express a range of emotions and begin to label what they are feeling. They start to understand who they are, what they are feeling and what to expect when interacting with others.   

Research shows talking to children about emotions is one of the main predictors of future emotional competence.  Cuddle, read and talk during the day to support your child’s expanding knowledge of feelings. The following books are some of my favorite books on feelings. 

It Will Be Okay: A Story of Empathy, Kindness and Friendship written by Lisa Katzenberger & illustrated by Jaclyn Sinquett

giraffe in a tree with spider belowZebra supports Giraffe when a spider scares him silly. This is a sweet, simple picture book about how to help a worried friend. Discover the power of listening and gain insight into dealing with anxiety and having empathy. Perfect for fans of The Rabbit Listened and Be Kind.


The Roar written by Eoin McLaughlin & illustrated by Polly Dunbar

animals looking at an angry turtleThis is a beautifully illustrated book about managing anger. Tortoise is upset. Too upset even for hugs. Everyone offers suggestions, but nothing helps. Can Hedgehog find a way to help?

"McLaughlin and Dunbar have, once again, with simple text and soft watercolors depicting pudgy woodland creatures, effectively explained a complex topic...A tender reminder that when even a hug won’t help, friends are always there." — Kirkus Reviews

Ups and Downs: A Book of Emotions written & illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka

one kid happy with a kite and another kid sad looking at the groundFrom delight to disgust, excitement to fear, worry to confidence, boredom to curiosity, feelings can shift in a heartbeat. Mike Wohnoutka’s simple words and tender, nuanced illustrations follow three young children as they go through emotional highs and lows over the course of a school day. The wide spectrum of emotions covered—far beyond happy and sad—invites readers to share their own contradictory, unpredictable, ever-present feelings.
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