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Feelings And Emotions: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best kids books about feelings and emotions?

Emotions. A difficult thing for all of us to understand. The younger we can teach our children about emotions and how to handle the feelings they experience, the better they will be able to express them in a positive way. Children experience the same emotions we do. They don’t have the words to express how they are feeling and often act out their emotions instead which is often frustrating for us and for them. Reading books about emotions can help them learn the words to associate with their feelings. Check out our list below of the best books about emotions. (For more information on the benefits of teaching your children to identify and express emotions please see: The Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning at Vanderbilt University. http://csefel.vanderbilt.edu/familytools/teaching_emotions.pdf)

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Top 10 Books About Feelings And Emotions

#1
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The Rabbit Listened
Written & illustrated by Cori Doerffeld
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

When Taylor’s block castle is destroyed, all the animals think they know just what to do, but only the rabbit quietly listens to how Taylor is feeling

#2
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Even Superheroes Have Bad Days
Written by Shelly Becker & illustrated by Eda Kaban
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-9

All kids have trouble getting a grip on their emotions, sometimes—even young superheroes! But what do they do when they’re having a bad day? Colorful action-packed illustrations and a dynamite rhyming text reveal the many ways superheroes (and ordinary children, too) can resist the super-temptation to cause a scene when they’re sad, mad, frustrated, lonely, or afraid. From burning off steam on a bike or a hike, to helping others, this energetic picture book has plenty of fun ideas to help kids cope when they’re feeling overwhelmed.

#3
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No!
Written by Tracey Corderoy & illustrated by Tim Warnes and Tracey Corderoy
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

Everyone thinks Otto is adorable. But then Otto learns the word no — and now he says it all the time! At first, it’s fun to refuse to eat, take a bath, and go to bed. But when Otto has a bad day at school, Daddy has the perfect solution.

#4
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Don't Think About Purple Elephants
Written by Susan Whelan & illustrated by Gwynneth Jones
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-8

Sometimes Sophie worries - especially at night when everything is calm and quiet. Her family all try to help, but somehow they just make it worse. Until her mother thinks of a new approach…that just might involve an elephant or two!

But wait, don’t think about purple elephants, whatever you do! Whimsical and humorous, this little girl’s story of finding a way to ease her worry resonates with children and parents everywhere. Don’t Think About Purple Elephants is an excellent resource for social and emotional learning for parents and teachers.

#5
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Llama Llama Mad at Mama
Written & illustrated by Anna Dewdney
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

Yucky music, great big feet. Ladies smelling way too sweet. Look at knees and stand in line. Llama Llama starts to whine.

Does any child like to go shopping? Not Llama Llama! But Mama can’t leave Llama at home, so off they go to Shop-O-Rama. Lots of aisles. Long lines. Mama is too busy to notice that Llama Llama is getting m-a-d! And before he knows it, he’s having a full-out tantrum! Mama quickly calms him down, but she also realizes that they need to make shopping more fun for both of them. Parents and children are sure to recognize themselves in this fun-to-read follow-up to the popular Llama Llama Red Pajama.

#6
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Up, Up, Up, Down!
Written & illustrated by Kimberly Gee
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Follow an energetic toddler’s day that’s full of opposites—ups and downs, nos and yesses, yums and yucks, and more.

#7
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When I'm Feeling Angry
Written & illustrated by Trace Moroney
picture book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

The Feelings Series are beautifully produced picture books that cover different emotional concepts for young children. The Feeling series is especially designed to help children better understand their feelings and how to identify, manage and express those feelings in an appropriate and acceptable way, both to themselves and others. These books provide an invaluable tool to help build confidence, self-esteem and contribute to a healthy emotional foundation upon which children can thrive.

#8
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You Get What You Get
Written by Julie Gassman & illustrated by Sarah Horne and Julie Gassman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6

Melvin likes to throw a tantrum when he does not get what he wants, but he learns that the classroom rule, “you get what you get and you don’t throw a fit” applies at home as well.

#9
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No Fits, Nilson!
Written & illustrated by Zachariah OHora
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Nilson and Amelia do everything together. But if one little thing goes wrong, Nilson throws the biggest, most house shaking-est fit ever! Amelia helps Nilson control his gorilla-sized temper by promising him banana ice cream and letting him play with her froggy coin purse. But, sometimes, Amelia needs to be calmed down, too.

Inspired by Ohora’s own “negotiations” with his two sons, No Fits, Nilson! is a hilarious preschool pick for kids and parents navigating the treacherous tantrum phase.

#10
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Grumpy Monkey
Written by Suzanne Lang & illustrated by Max Lang
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

A hilarious picture book about dealing with unexplained feelings…and the danger in suppressing them!

Jim the chimpanzee is in a terrible mood for no good reason. His friends can’t understand it—how can he be in a bad mood when it’s SUCH a beautiful day? They encourage him not to hunch, to smile, and to do things that make THEM happy. But Jim can’t take all the advice…and has a BIT of a meltdown. Could it be that he just needs a day to feel grumpy?

Suzanne and Max Lang bring hilarity and levity to this very important lesson. This picture book is an excellent case study in the dangers of putting on a happy face and demonstrates to kids that they are allowed to feel their feelings (though they should be careful of hurting others in the process!).

Table of Contents
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Books About Feelings And Emotions and Bunnies And Rabbits

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The Rabbit Listened
Written & illustrated by Cori Doerffeld
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

When Taylor’s block castle is destroyed, all the animals think they know just what to do, but only the rabbit quietly listens to how Taylor is feeling

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When I'm Feeling Angry
Written & illustrated by Trace Moroney
picture book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

The Feelings Series are beautifully produced picture books that cover different emotional concepts for young children. The Feeling series is especially designed to help children better understand their feelings and how to identify, manage and express those feelings in an appropriate and acceptable way, both to themselves and others. These books provide an invaluable tool to help build confidence, self-esteem and contribute to a healthy emotional foundation upon which children can thrive.

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When I'm Feeling Disappointed
Written & illustrated by Trace Moroney
picture book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Feeling disappointed is your brain realising how things really are… not how you wish they were. Talking about feelings teaches children that it is normal to feel sad, or angry, or scared at times. With greater tolerance of painful feelings, children become free to enjoy their world, to feel secure in their abilities, and to be happy.

Honorable Mentions
When I'm Feeling Lonely book
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When I'm Feeling Happy book
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When I'm Feeling Scared book
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More Than Balloons book
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  1. When I'm Feeling Lonely - The Feelings Series are beautifully produced picture books that cover different emotional concepts for young children. These fully refreshed editions of the classic The Feeling series are especially designed to help children better understand their feelings and how to identify, manage and express those feelings in an appropriate and acceptable way - both to themselves and others. These books provide an invaluable tool to help build confidence, self-esteem and contribute to a healthy emotional foundation upon which children can thrive.

  2. When I'm Feeling Happy - The Feelings Series are beautifully produced picture books that cover different emotional concepts for young children. The Feeling series is especially designed to help children better understand their feelings and how to identify, manage and express those feelings in an appropriate and acceptable way - both to themselves and others. These books provide an invaluable tool to help build confidence, self-esteem and contribute to a healthy emotional foundation upon which children can thrive.

  3. When I'm Feeling Scared - The Feelings Series are beautifully produced picture books that cover different emotional concepts for young children. These fully refreshed editions of the classic The Feeling series are especially designed to help children better understand their feelings and how to identify, manage and express those feelings in an appropriate and acceptable way - both to themselves and others. These books provide an invaluable tool to help build confidence, self-esteem and contribute to a healthy emotional foundation upon which children can thrive.

  4. More Than Balloons - Balloons love the moon, and a tuba loves a tune, but these don’t compare to the love we have for you. Award-winning poet Lorna Crozier uses evocative rhyme, complemented by Rachelle Anne Miller’s whimsical imagery, to provide babies and toddlers with common concepts that explain just how great love is.

Books About Feelings And Emotions and First Concepts

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Up, Up, Up, Down!
Written & illustrated by Kimberly Gee
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Follow an energetic toddler’s day that’s full of opposites—ups and downs, nos and yesses, yums and yucks, and more.

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Ladybug Girl Feels Happy
Written by Jacky Davis & illustrated by David Soman
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

This concept board book is perfect for the youngest Ladybug Girl fans with its focus on feelings and emotions. Made with sturdy, thick, cardboard pages, the format is just right for toddlers’ little hands.

Ladybug Girl has many feelings: happy when she plays with Bingo, scared when the thunder is loud, excited when Grandma comes to visit, plus a whole lot more. Ladybug Girl and her dog, Bingo, share many of the same feelings because they are best friends, and now you can join them too!

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Happy Hippo, Angry Duck
Written & illustrated by Sandra Boynton
Thoughts from Mom of Boys
I love everything Sandra Boynton and this book is no exception. Little children are learning everything for the first time and this book teaches emotions in such a great way! It is a great introduction to help kids understand their feelings.
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-5

Poses questions to the reader on the state of their mood based on animal emotions, from happy as a hippo to worried as a rabbit and contented as a frog. On board pages.

Honorable Mentions
I Feel Teal book
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Show Me Happy book
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Opposites book
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Milton & Odie and the Bigger-than- Bigmouth Bass book
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  1. I Feel Teal - All of us have lots of feelings, and this sweet rhyming story cleverly uses colors to explore the wide range of emotions little ones experience throughout the day, from a shy scarlet to a quiet ecru to an exuberant magenta. Along the way it celebrates individuality and self-acceptance—after all, our feelings are the palette that makes us who we are!

  2. Show Me Happy - Show me happy. Show me helping. Show me sharing when we play. Show me NOISY, Show me quiet. Show me putting things away. From the team that created A Kiss Means I Love you, this new book of engaging photos will “show” early learners simple actions and concepts that all children learn as they begin to socialize and communicate. Lively, charming photos illustrate real kids doing common activities like helping and sharing or pushing and pulling. A perfect companion to the first book, Show Me Happy is a delightful read-aloud that will make any story time expressive and fun.

  3. Opposites - From heavy and light to wet and dry, opposites are full of fun in this Sandra Boynton classic. Serious silliness for all ages. Artist Sandra Boynton is back and better than ever with completely redrawn versions of her multi-million selling board books. These whimsical and hilarious books, featuring nontraditional texts and her famous animal characters, have been printed on thick board pages, and are sure to educate and entertain children of all ages.

  4. Milton & Odie and the Bigger-than- Bigmouth Bass - When faced with a challenge—or a super cold morning—Milton grumbles and Odie sees the bright side. Whiling away the hours at their respective fishing holes, neither Milton nor Odie get even the tiniest nibble . . . until Milton snags Odie’s pole. But does that mean fishing is over? On facing pages, Milton and Odie approach life with contrasting attitudes. Milton’s sure there isn’t a fish for miles, but Odie embraces the joy of anticipation, imagining that a bigmouth bass will be along any minute. Sweetly simple illustrations reveal the ups and downs of patience and expectation in this fish story about the one that didn’t get away.

Books About Feelings And Emotions and Health And Daily Living

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Llama Llama Mad at Mama
Written & illustrated by Anna Dewdney
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

Yucky music, great big feet. Ladies smelling way too sweet. Look at knees and stand in line. Llama Llama starts to whine.

Does any child like to go shopping? Not Llama Llama! But Mama can’t leave Llama at home, so off they go to Shop-O-Rama. Lots of aisles. Long lines. Mama is too busy to notice that Llama Llama is getting m-a-d! And before he knows it, he’s having a full-out tantrum! Mama quickly calms him down, but she also realizes that they need to make shopping more fun for both of them. Parents and children are sure to recognize themselves in this fun-to-read follow-up to the popular Llama Llama Red Pajama.

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Mindful Me
Written by Whitney Stewart & illustrated by Stacy Peterson
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

Sometimes kids’ lives can get busy and out of control, and worries can take over. When that happens, knowing how to pause and regain composure with mindfulness can help! This easily digestible guide introduces kids to mindfulness as a way to find clarity, manage stress, handle difficult emotions, and navigate personal challenges. With step-by-step instructions to over thirty breathing, relaxation, and guided meditation exercises, readers will have an entire toolkit at their disposal and writing prompts will help them process their discoveries. Clearly written and incredibly relatable, this invaluable resource provides a positive introduction to the world of self-care and mindfulness.

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Meditation Is an Open Sky
Written by Whitney Stewart & illustrated by Sally Rippin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Feeling mindful is feeling good! You know when you’re having a bad day, you have that wobbly feeling inside and nothing seems to go right? Find a quiet place, sit down, and meditate! In this daily companion, kids of any age will learn simple exercises to help manage stress and emotions, find focus, and face challenges. They’ll discover how to feel safe when scared, relax when anxious, spread kindness, and calm anger when frustrated. Simple, secular, and mainstream, this mindfulness book is an excellent tool for helping kids deal with the stresses of everyday life.

Honorable Mentions
Peaceful Piggy Meditation book
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Calm: Mindfulness for Kids book
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Time for a Hug book
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I Yoga You book
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  1. Peaceful Piggy Meditation - What can you do when you’re mad, sad, or anxious? Find a quiet spot, sit, and breathe. When you meditate every day, your mind stays happy, and even bad days are a little easier.

  2. Calm: Mindfulness for Kids - Teach your kids how to focus their thoughts and notice the world around them with this fun mindfulness kids activity book. Mindfulness activities are a great way to teach children about their thoughts and feelings and how to understand them—while having fun at the same time. This book is packed with activities—make a mindfulness jar, learn how to appreciate food with mindful eating, and get out into nature and explore the outside world. An illustrated journal section at the back of the book encourages children to make notes about their own thoughts and feelings Calm: Mindfulness for Kids has everything you need to know about focusing your child’s mind to help them enjoy and appreciate things that they take for granted every day, while boosting their confidence and self-esteem. Children are guided through each activity, to make sure they achieve maximum enjoyment and awareness. All children will learn and react to each activity in a different way and parent’s notes give advice on how to encourage children to embrace mindfulness in the modern world. Each specially designed activity is flexible for each child’s needs and inspires them to seek calmness and tranquility in all situations. Calm: Mindfulness for Kids shows that supporting a child’s positive mental health doesn’t need to be expensive, time-consuming, or difficult. Activities help children to de-stress, focus, and get moving while having fun.

  3. Time for a Hug - A little rabbit receives hugs around the clock.

  4. I Yoga You - Parents and children learn how to say “I love you” through yoga as they move through their day together in a perfectly mindful way. I love you in the morning when we salute the sun. Wiggle and stretch out of bed, our day has now begun. From morning to night, I Yoga You celebrates the love a parent shares with their child while also teaching simple yoga poses. Sun salutations give way to mountain poses, tree poses, and more as families move through their mindful day together. This padded board book teaches little ones a new way to say “I love you”—reveling in those quiet daily moments that shine with energy, delight, and surprises.

Books About Feelings And Emotions and Parenting

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No!
Written by Tracey Corderoy & illustrated by Tim Warnes and Tracey Corderoy
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

Everyone thinks Otto is adorable. But then Otto learns the word no — and now he says it all the time! At first, it’s fun to refuse to eat, take a bath, and go to bed. But when Otto has a bad day at school, Daddy has the perfect solution.

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No Fits, Nilson!
Written & illustrated by Zachariah OHora
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Nilson and Amelia do everything together. But if one little thing goes wrong, Nilson throws the biggest, most house shaking-est fit ever! Amelia helps Nilson control his gorilla-sized temper by promising him banana ice cream and letting him play with her froggy coin purse. But, sometimes, Amelia needs to be calmed down, too.

Inspired by Ohora’s own “negotiations” with his two sons, No Fits, Nilson! is a hilarious preschool pick for kids and parents navigating the treacherous tantrum phase.

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1-2-3, You Love Me
Written & illustrated by Jill Howarth
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

From one bear hug to twelve pretty red roses, 1-2-3, You Love Me will foster lots of hugs, kisses, and affection between parent and child while teaching young ones to count from one to twelve. With charming love-filled illustrations, sturdy pages, and clever rhyming text, this is the perfect gift for baby for Valentine’s Day or any time of year. Sipping on yummy shakes, cuddling puppies, counting the colors in a rainbow, and making music with friends are all ways that children can express their love for their friends and family with Jill Howarth’s delightful board book.

Honorable Mentions
Go, Pea, Go! book
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I Heart You book
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I'll Never Let You Go book
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What's Wrong, Little Pookie? book
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  1. Go, Pea, Go! - Pea Junior has to go, go, go, go! The end feels so far away, but with his family and friends cheering him on, Pea knows he can make it and go number one! A potty chart, a sheet of stickers, and the lyrics and music notation for the “Go, Pea, Go!” song are included to make an easy, all-in-one, go-to book for parents to help ease the pressure of the race to the Pea Bowl.

  2. I Heart You - This tender, rhyming picture book is a lively celebration of love. Little ones adore being independent and trying new things. But they also need Mom and Dad’s reassurance and snuggles. With her spare, lyrical text, debut author Meg Fleming captures the exuberance, the affection, and the tender push-and-pull of life with a child. And illustrator Sarah Jane Wright’s evocative illustrations infuse the story with generous helpings of warmth and love.

  3. I'll Never Let You Go - When you love someone, you stand by them no matter what happens. In good times . . . When you’re excited, the world joins with you, You bounce all about—look, I’m bouncing, too! In bad times . . . When you are sad and troubled with fears, I hold you close and dry all your tears. And all the times in between. When you are high and when you are low, I’ll be holding your hand . . . and I’ll never let go. Share this beautiful celebration of unconditional love with someone special in your life.

  4. What's Wrong, Little Pookie? - Uh-oh, Pookie is NOT happy in this kind-of-cranky board book from the beloved and bestselling Sandra Boynton. Oh, sweet little Pookie! Your bright eyes are wet. Come over and tell me why you are upset. When Pookie feels down, Pookie’s mom can always guess what’s wrong with her little one. Or can she? With Sandra Boynton’s signature charm and piggy pizzazz, this turn-that-frown-upside-down story proves that every Little Pookie loves a reason to smile.

Want to see books about parenting?

Books About Feelings And Emotions and Habits And Behavior

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You Get What You Get
Written by Julie Gassman & illustrated by Sarah Horne and Julie Gassman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6

Melvin likes to throw a tantrum when he does not get what he wants, but he learns that the classroom rule, “you get what you get and you don’t throw a fit” applies at home as well.

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The Bad Mood and the Stick
Written by Lemony Snicket & illustrated by Matthew Forsythe
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

New York Times bestselling author Lemony Snicket sheds light on the way bad moods come and go. Once there was a bad mood and a stick.The stick appeared when a tree dropped it.Where did the bad mood come from?Who picked up the stick?And where is the bad mood off to now?You never know what is going to happen.

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Field Guide to the Grumpasaurus
Written & illustrated by Edward Hemingway
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Have you ever met a Grumpasaurus? I bet you have. In fact, you may even have one in your own home. Want to know what makes them tick? This handy guide, meticulously researched and lovingly illustrated, tells you everything you need to know. Above all they should be handled with care—otherwise they can become VERY loud and VERY fearsome. In this appealingly modern and clever picture book, a field guide format is applied to the study of the cranky child . . . er, rather, the GRUMPASAURUS . . . who, in spite of himself, will win your heart.

Honorable Mentions
Ruthie and the (Not So) Teeny Tiny Lie book
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I Am a Thief! book
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Ruckus book
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  1. Ruthie and the (Not So) Teeny Tiny Lie - Laura Rankin touches on an important childhood issue of lying with gentleness and humor, offering a reassuring look at how standing up for the truth can help cut even the biggest mistake down to size. Ruthie loves little things-the smaller the better. So when she finds a teeny tiny camera on the school playground one afternoon, she can hardly believe her luck. She wants to keep the camera in the worst way, but there’s one little problem: It isn’t hers. Ruthie swears to her teacher and to her classmate Martin that she got the camera for her birthday. But deep down, Ruthie knows better, and all day long that teeny tiny camera weighs on her conscience until she can hardly stand it. How could one little camera turn into such a great big problem?

  2. I Am a Thief! - When Eliza Jane Murphy—line leader, captain of the worm rescue team—impulsively pockets a sparkly green stone from her classroom’s “Exploring Green” display table, her heart crumples. My heart stopped singing. My letters went wonky. I was too heavy to swing! I wanted to put it back . . . But what if someone saw? But when she discovers that nearly everyone in her family took something once in their lives—from her baby brother and mom, to her nana with her sausage-stealing dog—Eliza overcomes her shame to make things right. A hilarious and heartfelt story about stealing and finding the courage to do the right thing.

  3. Ruckus - Reece’s new dog, Ruckus, tears through life like a Tyrannosaurus rex. He bites every- thing that moves and drives Reece’s mom nuts. The puppy was Dad’s idea, to make things easier for Reece after his parents’ separation, but Ruckus is not easy at all and Mom is getting fed up. When her diamond earrings go missing, it sends the family into a tailspin. What happens when a dog swallows something precious? Reece is about to find out. But they can’t give up on this little Jack Russell terror, can they? He’s family, after all. We first met Reece and his family in the Orca Echoes title Where’s Burgess?

Books About Feelings And Emotions and Growing Up

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Mad, Mad Bear!
Written & illustrated by Kimberly Gee
picture book
Recommend Ages: 0-8

Bear is very, very, very MAD! Will he ever feel better? Find out in this sweet and silly picture book about toddler tantrums that little ones—and their caretakers—are sure to relate to. Bear had to leave the park early for his nap. Then he fell and got an owie on the way home. And then he had to leave his favorite boots and stick outside. Bear feels like nothing is fair, and that makes him VERY, VERY, VERY MAD! Can he find a way to move through his emotions and get back to feeling better? Maybe…but not before having a major meltdown!

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I Am
Written & illustrated by Alice Melvin
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

I Am is a wonderful introduction to emotions and feelings for the very young, helping little ones to visualize situations and giving them words to express themselves.

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No More Tantrums
Written & illustrated by Maria van Lieshout
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

When babies don’t get their way, they have a tantrum. Do big kids have tantrums? No! Big Kids use their words! Every child’s life is filled with milestones. Some happen easily; others need a little extra support. Artist and mom Maria van Lieshout has been there! Drawing upon her own experiences, she has created an engaging series of books just right for children on the brink of major changes and the caregivers who encourage them.

Honorable Mentions
Three Squeezes book
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The Darkest Dark book
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  1. Three Squeezes - Jason Pratt’s Three Squeezes is a celebration of life, love, and the unbreakable bond between parent and child for fans of Nancy Tillman and Pat Zietlow Miller—featuring illustrations by Chris Sheban…

  2. The Darkest Dark - Inspired by the childhood of real-life astronaut Chris Hadfield and brought to life by Terry and Eric Fan’s lush, evocative illustrations, The Darkest Dark will encourage readers to dream the impossible. Chris loves rockets and planets and pretending he’s a brave astronaut, exploring the universe. Only one problem—at night, Chris doesn’t feel so brave. He’s afraid of the dark. But when he watches the groundbreaking moon landing on TV, he realizes that space is the darkest dark there is—and the dark is beautiful and exciting, especially when you have big dreams to keep you company.

Want to see books about growing up?

Books About Feelings And Emotions and Bedtime And Dreams

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Grumpy Pants
Written & illustrated by Claire Messer
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Have you ever had a grumpy day and not known why? Penguin is having a grumpy day like that. No matter what he does, he just can’t shake it! Sometimes the only thing left to do is wash the grumpy day away and start over. The simple text and lively illustrations are the perfect cure for even the grumpiest of days.

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Cry Baby
Written by Karen Beaumont & illustrated by Eugene Yelchin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-6

Hush, hush! Rush, rush! When Baby cries, her family and neighbors try to stop her tears and help her to sleep. But all their rushing and hushing, tickling and rocking, and feeding and burping can’t stop Baby’s tears. Roy, the old retriever, knows what Baby needs to fall asleep-her little white sheep! In this rhythmic and soothing lullaby of a story, doggy knows best. Good boy, Roy!

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You Are My Happy
Written by Hoda Kotb & illustrated by Suzie Mason
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A #1 New York Times bestseller!

An Amazon Best Books of the Year So Far 2019 Selection!

From Hoda Kotb, the Today show co-anchor and the #1 New York Times bestselling author of I’ve Loved You Since Forever, comes a book about gratitude for the things in life—both big and small—that bring us happiness.

As mama bear and her cub cuddle together before closing their eyes for a good night’s sleep, they reflect on the everyday wonders of life that make them happy.

Inspired by her own nighttime routine with her daughter, Haley Joy, Kotb creates another beautiful treasure for parents and children to enjoy together. With charming and lush illustrations from bestselling artist Suzie Mason, this soothing yet playful lullaby explores the simple joy of taking a moment to be grateful.

Perfect for fans of Ainsley Earhardt, Kelly Clarkson, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Jimmy Fallon’s books for children.

Honorable Mentions
The King Who Banned the Dark book
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A Bedtime Yarn book
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If I Had a Little Dream book
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Sleep, Baby, Sleep book
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  1. The King Who Banned the Dark - Once there was a Prince who was afraid of the dark—like so many children are. But this boy became King and actually did something about it: he banned the dark completely! Soon, the sleep-deprived, exhausted citizens are ready to revolt. Can the people help the King face his fears and see that you can’t appreciate the light without having the dark, too?

  2. A Bedtime Yarn - Like a well-worn, snuggly blanket, this sweet bedtime story about a little bear who’s afraid of the dark and his mother’s creative solution will warm and comfort readers big and small. Frankie is a little bear who has a hard time falling asleep. The dark is scary, and he hates to be alone. So his mother gives him a ball of yarn to hold when he goes to bed, and she keeps the other end in the next room, working it into a surprise for Frankie. Every few nights the yarn color changes, and Frankie dreams in all the colors that he and his mother pick out. One night he’s swimming in turquoise water, another night he’s in a cool gray fog. He plays with a marmalade kitten and eats delicious chocolate cake. Eventually Frankie and his mother create something special—and Frankie learns that he’s always connected to those he loves, even when he’s alone in the dark. A beautiful story of love and crafting, A Bedtime Yarn will appeal to knitters, sleepy little bears and any parents dealing with their child’s fear of the dark.

  3. If I Had a Little Dream - “As a child dreams of all the things in her world that make her happy, she realizes how fortunate she is to live in the world she does”—

  4. Sleep, Baby, Sleep - As their baby sleeps, the parents wish for their child the many characteristics found in animals, such as being gentle as a lamb, having the sight of a hawk, and the peacefulness of a snowy dove.

Books About Feelings And Emotions and Birds

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I'm Sad
Written by Michael Ian Black & illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A girl, a potato, and a very sad flamingo star in this charming sequel to I’m Bored by New York Times bestselling author and comedian Michael Ian Black and celebrated illustrator Debbie Ridpath Ohi. Everyone feels sad sometimes—even flamingos.

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How Are You?/ Cómo Estás
Written & illustrated by Angela Dominguez
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom
The giraffe's very expressive facial expressions are my very favorite part of this story as they question the ostrich about how it's feeling. There wasn't quite as much to this story as I was hoping there would be, and I think it might be better suited for a board book format.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

When two giraffe friends find a baby ostrich, they have some questions. Is baby ostrich hungry? Shy? Tired? Ostrich saysno! So how does she feel? Friendship awaits in this book about feelings, expressed both in English and in Spanish.

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Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!
Written & illustrated by Mo Willems
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

When a bus driver takes a break from his route, a very unlikely volunteer springs up to take his place-a pigeon! But you’ve never met one like this before. As he pleads, wheedles, and begs his way through the book, children will love being able to answer back and decide his fate. In his hilarious picture book debut, popular cartoonist Mo Willems perfectly captures a preschooler’s temper tantrum.

Honorable Mentions
Somewhere Else book
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Lost And Found book
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Bear Feels Scared book
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  1. Somewhere Else - George has absolutely no interest in exploring the world. None at all. He’s far too busy enjoying his home life and baking delicious pastries. Or so he tells all his friends when they invite him along on their wonderful adventures. But when George’s friend Pascal digs a little deeper, the real reason George refuses to travel away from home is finally revealed . . . From the children’s book author of the acclaimed Herman and Rosie comes Gus Gordon’s Somewhere Else.

  2. Lost And Found - What is a boy to do when a lost penguin shows up at his door? Find out where it comes from, of course, and return it. But the journey to the South Pole is long and difficult in the boy’s rowboat. There are storms to brave and deep, dark nights.To pass the time, the boy tells the penguin stories. Finally, they arrive. Yet instead of being happy, both are sad. That’s when the boy realizes: The penguin hadn’t been lost, it had merely been lonely. A poignant, funny, and child-friendly story about friendship lost . . . and then found again.

  3. Bear Feels Scared - Bad weather frightens Bear, but his woodland friends are there to help him in this sweet, reassuring Bear story from bestselling duo Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman! In the deep, dark woods by the Strawberry Vale, a big bear lumbers down a small, crooked trail… The sun is setting and it’s getting chilly. When Bear’s friends discover that he is not at home in his lair, they march out into the cold to find their pal. Friends don’t let friends stay lost! Wren, Owl, and Raven take to the skies while Badger, Mole, and Mouse search on the ground. Pretty soon Bear is found, and once he’s back in his cave, he feels quite safe with his friends all around.

Want to see books about birds?

Books About Feelings And Emotions and School

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No More Teasing
Written by Fran Manushkin & illustrated by Tammy Lyon
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

A mean boy always teases Katie Woo. It makes Katie sad and mad. How can she make the bully stop teasing her?

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Judy Moody
Written by Megan McDonald & illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-9

The mercurial Judy Moody will delight any kid who’s known a bad mood or a bad day—and managed to laugh anyway. “Judy Moody was in a mood. Not a good mood. A bad mood. A mad-faced mood.” To start, Judy Moody doesn’t have high hopes for third grade. Her new desk won’t have an armadillo sticker with her name on it. Her new classroom will not have a porcupine named Roger. And with her luck, she’ll get stuck sitting in the first row, where Mr. Todd will notice every time she tries to pass a note to her best friend, Rocky. An aspiring doctor, Judy does have a little brother who comes in handy for practicing medicine, a cool new pet, and a huge Band-Aid collection. Judy also has an abundance of individuality and attitude, and when Mr. Todd assigns a very special class project, she really gets a chance to express herself! Megan McDonald’s spirited text and Peter Reynolds’s wry illustrations combine in a feisty, funny first chapter book for every kid who has ever felt a little out of sorts.

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The Homesick Club
Written by Libby Martinez & illustrated by Rebecca Gibbon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Mónica and Hannah are school kids in the big city. Together, they have formed the Homesick Club, since they are both from far away. Mónica misses the family of hummingbirds that she and her grandmother would feed in her backyard in Bolivia every day. Hannah misses the sunshine and the tiny tortoise that lived near her house in Israel.

When a new teacher, Miss Shelby, arrives from Texas, the girls discover that she misses her home, too, especially the huge sky full of stars and a Southern treat known as Hummingbird Cake. The girls ask Miss Shelby to join their club, then Mónica decides she will bring a surprise for show and tell — a surprise that brings Miss Shelby close to tears.

Author Libby Martinez addresses a theme that many children can relate to — feeling homesick — especially when home is far away. Rebecca Gibbon’s charming illustrations bring an imaginative, light touch to the story.

Honorable Mentions
The Kissing Hand book
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Too Shy for Show-and-Tell book
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Mrs. Gorski I Think I Have the Wiggle Fidgets book
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It's a Field Trip, Busy Bus! book
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  1. The Kissing Hand - When Chester the raccoon is reluctant to go to kindergarten for the first time, his mother teaches him a secret way to carry her love with him.

  2. Too Shy for Show-and-Tell - Sam is so shy that nobody knows much about him, but when he must stand in front of his class for show-and-tell, he finds the courage to share.

  3. Mrs. Gorski I Think I Have the Wiggle Fidgets - The Adventures of Everyday Geniuses is meant to demonstrate various forms of learning, creativity, and intelligence. Each book introduces a realistic example of triumph over difficulty in a positive, humorous way that readers of all ages will enjoy! David gets scolded a lot by his teacher, Mrs. Gorski, for not paying attention in class. He wants to pay attention but it is just so hard when an exciting idea pops into his head. And he usually can’t tell that he’s making a mistake until after he makes them. But after a particularly big mistake, David comes up with his own plan to tone down his wiggle fidgets. This award-winning story is a simple introduction to ADHD and the creative ways of finding solutions to the challenges that ADHD can create. Mrs. Gorski, I Think I Have the Wiggle Fidgetsis the recipient of: the Academics’ Choice Gold Seal Mom’s Choice Award Gold Parents’ Choice Award “A masterful tale of empowering children…Esham artfully describes the gifts and challenges of children with ADHD.” -Dr. Susan Baum, professor emeritus, the College of New Rochelle Praise for the series: “This is a wonderful book series. Each story shows children that success is about effort and determination, that problems need not derail them, and that adults can understand their worries and struggles. My research demonstrates that these lessons are essential for children.” —Dr. Carol S. Dweck

  4. It's a Field Trip, Busy Bus! - Today is Busy Bus’s very first field trip! He takes the children to a fire house, where they meet Engine Four, a big, shiny, red firetruck. Engine Four has a hose to put out fires, a ladder to reach tall buildings, and a loud and impressive siren. Busy Bus has none of these things. Will the children still like him? This darling picture book offers a gentle exploration of jealousy and a reminder that we each have our own unique talents that make us special.

Want to see books about school?

Books About Feelings And Emotions and Choosing Cheeriness

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I'm Grumpy
Written by Jennifer L. Holm & illustrated by Matthew Holm
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm
This cute board book does a great job talking about emotions, and grumpy cloud shows that sometimes it's easy to get down in a funk! I love the ending where he chooses to be kind and happy to make sunny feel better, and I think that shows a great lesson about how we can choose to do something nice for someone--which will make us happy, and get us out of the dumps!
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

This board book explores why Grumpy Cloud is grumpy.

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The Pout-Pout Fish
Written by Deborah Diesen & illustrated by Dan Hanna
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

As the pout-pout fish swims along in the ocean, he discovers that being glum and spreading the “dreary wearies” isn’t much fun anymore—especially when his true destiny is revealed!

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Bernice Gets Carried Away
Written & illustrated by Hannah Harrison
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Perfect for a new generation of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day readers, this charming story about a grumpy cat gently shows how far a little sharing can go.

Bernice is having a truly rotten time at her friend’s birthday party. First, everyone else gets a piece of cake with a frosting rose. But not Bernice. Then, everyone else gets strawberry-melon soda. Bernice gets the prune-grapefruit juice. And it’s warm. The last straw is the one lousy (squished) candy she gets from the piñata. So when the balloons arrive, Bernice knows just what she has to do: grab them all. And then, poor cross Bernice gets carried up, up, and away. Luckily, she figures out just how to make her way back down to the party…and she brightens lots of other animals’ days on her way.

Hannah Harrison’s gorgeous animal paintings come alive in her second picture book. Her “exceptionally polished” debut, Extraordinary Jane, received starred reviews from Kirkus, Publisher’s Weekly, and School Library Journal.

Honorable Mentions
Crabby Pants book
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The Breaking News book
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  1. Crabby Pants - When things don’t go Roger’s way, he gets crabby. However, Roger thinks he has found a solution to being such a crabby pants.

  2. The Breaking News - When devastating news rattles a little girl’s community, she struggles to know how to cope. Her normally attentive parents are suddenly exhausted and distracted, and nothing she does seems to cheer them up. At school, her teacher tells her to look for the helpers-the good people working to make things better in big and small ways. She wants more than anything to help in a BIG way, but maybe she can start with one small thing instead… and then another, and another? Those small things can compound, after all, to make a world of difference.Both timely and timeless, this beautifully illustrated picture book from debut author/illustrator Sarah Lynne Reul touches on the themes of community, resilience, and optimism with an authenticity that will resonate with readers young and old.

Books About Feelings And Emotions and Being Yourself

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Be Happy!
Written & illustrated by Monica Sheehan
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

Monica Sheehan has taken her bestselling book be happy. and created an irresistible little gem for people BIG & small. So open it up and get inspired to . . .

Sing and dance a little! Have fun! Be kind—be brave! And be the best YOU.

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When Sadness Is at Your Door
Written & illustrated by Eva Eland
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

In the style of Harold and the Purple Crayon comes a picture-book primer in emotional literacy and mindfulness that suggests we approach the feeling of sadness as if it is our guest. Sadness can be scary and confusing at any age! When we feel sad, especially for long periods of time, it can seem as if the sadness is a part of who we are—an overwhelming, invisible, and scary sensation. In When Sadness Is at Your Door, Eva Eland brilliantly approaches this feeling as if it is a visitor. She gives it a shape and a face, and encourages the reader to give it a name, all of which helps to demystify it and distinguish it from ourselves. She suggests activities to do with it, like sitting quietly, drawing, and going outside for a walk. The beauty of this approach is in the respect the book has for the feeling, and the absence of a narrative that encourages the reader to “get over” it or indicates that it’s “bad,” both of which are anxiety-producing notions. Simple illustrations that recall the classic style of Crockett Johnson (Harold and the Purple Crayon) invite readers to add their own impressions. Eva Eland’s debut picture book is a great primer in mindfulness and emotional literacy, perfect for kids navigating these new feelings—and for adult readers tackling the feelings themselves!

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We're All Wonders
Written & illustrated by R. J. Palacio
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

The unforgettable bestseller Wonder, now a major motion picture, has inspired a nationwide movement to Choose Kind. Now parents and educators can introduce the importance of choosing kind to younger readers with this gorgeous picture book, featuring Auggie and Daisy on an original adventure, written and illustrated by R. J. Palacio.

Over 6 million people have fallen in love with Wonder and have joined the movement to Choose Kind. Now younger readers can meet Auggie Pullman, an ordinary boy with an extraordinary face, and his beloved dog, Daisy.

Countless fans have asked R. J. Palacio to write a book for younger readers. With We’re All Wonders, she makes her picture-book debut as both author and artist, with a spare, powerful text and striking, richly imagined illustrations. Palacio shows readers what it’s like to live in Auggie’s world—a world in which he feels like any other kid, but he’s not always seen that way.

We’re All Wonders may be Auggie’s story, but it taps into every child’s longing to belong, and to be seen for who they truly are. It’s the perfect way for families and educators to talk about empathy and kindness with young children.

Praise for Wonder: A #1 New York Times Bestseller A USA Today Top 100 Bestseller An Indie Bestseller A Time Magazine 100 Best Young Adult Books of All Time Selection A Washington Post Best Kids’ Book A New York Times Book Review Notable Book An NPR Outstanding Backseat Book Club Pick An Entertainment Weekly 10 Great Kids’ Books Selection

“A beautiful, funny and sometimes sob-making story of quiet transformation.” —The Wall Street Journal

“A crackling page-turner filled with characters you can’t help but root for.” —Entertainment Weekly

“Rich and memorable.” —The New York Times Book Review

Honorable Mentions
You're All Kinds of Wonderful book
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Mixed Me! book
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I Like Me! book
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Sadie and the Silver Shoes book
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  1. You're All Kinds of Wonderful - The beloved, bestselling Nancy Tillman returns with a picture book celebrating what makes every child special in their own way. Part of growing up is discovering—and embracing—what makes us unique. From different abilities to different personalities, we are all wonderfully made with our own bells and whistles.

  2. Mixed Me! - Mom and Dad say I’m a blend of dark and light: “We mixed you perfectly, and got you just right.” Mike has awesome hair. He has LOTS of energy! His parents love him. And Mike is a PERFECT blend of the two of them. Still, Mike has to answer LOTS of questions about being mixed. And he does, with LOTS of energy and joy in this charming story about a day in the life of a mixed-race child.

  3. I Like Me! - I have a best friend. That best friend is Me! Meet Nancy Carlson’s peppy pig—a character who is full of good feelings about herself. Her story will leave little ones feeling good about themselves, too!

  4. Sadie and the Silver Shoes - When shoes are the only thing you get to pick out yourself, what happens when you lose one of them? A tale of self-expression and friendship, told with humor and charm. With three older brothers to pass along hand-me-downs, Sadie doesn’t have much say in choosing her clothes. Her outfits always look interesting, though (even if some kids at school might not think so). But Sadie is allowed to pick her shoes, so one day she buys the most beautiful shoes ever — shoes that sparkle in the sun, shoes she wears everywhere. That is, until Sadie and her brothers hop down a creek on an adventure, and one shoe falls off and is swept away. Whatever will Sadie do with one silver shoe? From a winning picture-book team comes a story of creativity, resilience, and like-minded souls that is sure to appeal to independent thinkers everywhere.

Books About Feelings And Emotions and Siblings

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The New Small Person
Written & illustrated by Lauren Child
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Feeling jealous when a new sibling arrives, little Elmore Green becomes frustrated when the “small person” knocks over his things and licks his jelly-bean collection until a special night when their relationship changes. By the award-winning author of the Charlie and Lola series.

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Brave As Can Be: A Book of Courage
Written by Jo Witek & illustrated by Christine Roussey
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

From the author and illustrator of the bestselling In My Heart!

The life of a toddler can be full of frightening things: the dark, the neighbor’s dog, and thunderstorms, just to name a few. As children get older, they begin to feel braver around these everyday events, but how do they build this newfound confidence? In this lyrical, insightful picture book, an older sister explains to her younger sister all the things she used to be afraid of, along with some tricks to help, whether it’s a special blanket for bedtime or singing during a storm. Now, big sister assures little sister, the fears that once felt as big as a mountain feel as minuscule as a speck of dust.

This playful portrait of fear and bravery empowers young readers to confront once-scary situations and, with charming illustrations and die-cuts throughout, is also beautifully packaged.

The Growing Hearts series celebrates the milestones of a toddler’s emotional development, from conquering fears and expressing feelings to welcoming a new sibling.

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Allie All Along
Written & illustrated by Sarah Lynne Reul
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Poor Allie! She’s in a rage, stomping and smashing, throwing a tantrum, and having a fit. Is there a sweet little girl hiding somewhere under all the angry layers? With the help of her understanding big brother, she’s able to calm down, bit by bit, and become herself again. The illustrations’ varying hues and vibrant colors capture the powerful feelings that young children can’t always express in words.

Honorable Mentions
Theo's Mood book
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A Little Chicken book
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Way Past Mad book
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Famously Phoebe book
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  1. Theo's Mood - It’s Mood Monday and Miss Cady’s class is sharing how they feel after the weekend. But Theo doesn’t know whether he’s in a good mood or a bad mood. He has a new baby sister and he isn’t just happy like Eric who got a new bike or sad like April who lost her dog. As Theo’s classmates discuss all their feelings, he realizes he’s not in a good mood or a bad mood—he’s all those things!

  2. A Little Chicken - Dot is a small chick who’s scared of lots of things: wolves, bears, the occasional lawn ornament. But when an egg rolls out of her mother’s nest, Dot must pluck up her courage to save the day—and her new sibling! Perfect for kids who need some encouragement to face the challenging world, this story proves that sometimes a big hero is just a little chicken.

  3. Way Past Mad - Keya is way past mad. Her little brother Nate messed up everything—even breakfast. She heads to school kicking rocks and sticks. When her best friend Hooper tries to help, Keya shouts, “I don’t even like you.” It’s not true, but Hooper storms off, kicking rocks and sticks too. Keya gave him her mad! Now it’s up to Keya to find a different way past mad and to make things right. A relatable story that speaks to kids’ emerging emotional intelligence skills.

  4. Famously Phoebe - Phoebe was the shining star of her family. Then someone came along to take her place.
    For as long as Phoebe can remember, she’s known the clickety click click of a photographer snapping her picture. Thanks to the camera-carrying “paparazzi” (aka Mom and Dad), she’s always been the star of the show . . . until the day a tiny newcomer arrives on set. Will Phoebe learn to share the spotlight and assume the role she was born to play: big sister? This sweet tale of sibling rivalry resolved is perfect for every older brother and sister.

Want to see books about siblings?

Books About Feelings And Emotions and Making Friends

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To the Sea
Written & illustrated by Cale Atkinson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Sometimes Tim feels invisible at school-until one day, when Tim meets Sam. But Sam isn’t just any new friend: he’s a blue whale, and he can’t find his way home! Returning Sam to the sea is hard work, but Tim is determined to help. After all, it’s not every day you meet a new friend! This picture book about the power of friendship by new talent Cale Atkinson is brought to life by charming, dynamic illustrations.

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Spike, the Mixed-up Monster
Written by Susan Hood & illustrated by Melissa Sweet
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Meet Spike, a lovable monster—and a real-life salamander—who’s looking for friends in this lively picture book that includes Spanish vocabulary. Spike is a scary-looking salamander who keeps trying to frighten other animals—until he finds that using fear is not the best way to make friends. And since Spike lives in Mexico (he is an endangered species called the axolotl), this story is peppered with easy-to-understand Spanish words. In addition to a charming tale of friendship, this picture book contains nonfiction information about the axolotl and a Spanish/English glossary.

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The Invisible Boy
Written by Trudy Ludwig & illustrated by Patrice Barton
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

A simple act of kindness can transform an invisible boy into a friend…

Meet Brian, the invisible boy. Nobody ever seems to notice him or think to include him in their group, game, or birthday party . . . until, that is, a new kid comes to class.

When Justin, the new boy, arrives, Brian is the first to make him feel welcome. And when Brian and Justin team up to work on a class project together, Brian finds a way to shine.

From esteemed author and speaker Trudy Ludwig and acclaimed illustrator Patrice Barton, this gentle story shows how small acts of kindness can help children feel included and allow them to flourish. Any parent, teacher, or counselor looking for material that sensitively addresses the needs of quieter children will find The Invisible Boy a valuable and important resource.

Honorable Mentions
Lottie & Walter book
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Mirabel's Missing Valentines book
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The Desperate Adventures of Zeno and Alya book
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Pip and Posy: The New Friend book
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  1. Lottie & Walter - An original, compelling, and visually stunning treatment of a common childhood predicament: overcoming a fear of the water. Lottie goes to swim lessons every Saturday, but she never gets in the water. That’s because she is convinced there is a shark in the pool, a shark that wants to eat her and only her. But then Walter appears. Walter likes singing and reading books and bubble baths, and his favorite food is fish sticks, just like Lottie. When Saturday rolls around again, Lottie is no more ready to jump in the pool than she was before. Or is she? Sometimes it just takes a special friend to find the courage that was inside you all along.

  2. Mirabel's Missing Valentines - Poor shy Mirabel trembles at the thought of Valentine’s Day. Yet the little mouse crafts her cards with a heart on every one. As she nervously hurries to school, she doesn’t notice the valentines falling out of her bag! But with a little holiday kindness, the lost valentines make their way back to her . . . and bring joy into the lives of all who found them, too. This wonderful tale of overcoming insecurity will make its way to children’s hearts.

  3. The Desperate Adventures of Zeno and Alya - A desperately ill girl and an orphaned African gray parrot find friendship, security and healing when they are inadvertently joined by fate. By the author of The Girl Behind the Glass.

  4. Pip and Posy: The New Friend - Pip and Posy are having a lovely day at the beach, collecting shells and digging in the sand. But when Posy takes a nap, Pip makes a new friend named Zac. Zac is very cool: he has lots of fun toys and he’s really good at handstands. When Posy wakes up, she finds that Pip is more interested in playing with Zac than with her. A funny and dramatic story about discovering that two’s company and three’s a . . . PARTY!

Books About Feelings And Emotions and Mother And Child

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Changing Faces: Meet Happy Bear
Written by Nathan Thoms
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-3

Happy Bear isn’t so happy at the moment—and the reader has to help cheer him up! Readers will have to do something silly, sing a song, and do something kind to lift Happy Bear’s mood. But when Happy Bear starts to cry, it’s clear that there’s only one thing that can make him truly happy: his mother

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Like the Moon Loves the Sky
Written by Hena Khan & illustrated by Saffa Khan
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

A lyrical and heartwarming celebration of a mother’s love for her children by the award-winning author of Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns.

In this moving picture book, author Hena Khan shares her wishes for her children: “Inshallah you find wonder in birds as they fly. Inshallah you are loved, like the moon loves the sky.” With vibrant illustrations and prose inspired by the Quran, this charming picture book is a heartfelt and universal celebration of a parent’s unconditional love.

• A reassuring bedtime read-aloud for mothers and their children. • A perfect book for sharing Muslim family traditions and for families teaching diversity and religious acceptance. • Hena Khan’s books have been widely acclaimed, winning awards and honors from the ALA, Parent’s Choice, and many others.

For families who have read and loved Under My Hijab, Yo Soy Muslim, and Mommy’s Khimar.

A sweet and lovely bedtime book to help let children know they are loved and precious.

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Someday
Written by Alison McGhee & illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
board book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A mother reflects on the all the milestones, from walking in a deep wood to holding someone else’s hand, that her child will achieve during life.

Honorable Mentions
Love Matters Most book
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Take Heart, My Child book
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  1. Love Matters Most - Perfect for Valentine’s Day and a heartwarming read for the cold winter months, this cozy animal story explores the universal theme of a mother’s love for her child. When a polar bear leaves the safety and warmth of her cave to travel all over a frozen wonderland, she must be looking for something very important. Could it be delicious silver salmon? A view of the swirling winter sky? A bit of gold? Of course, she is in search of the most precious thing of all: her lost little cub. In this touching story, readers will instantly be enamored with the sweeping illustrations of winter landscapes, endearing polar bear characters, and the resonant message that a mother’s love matters most.

  2. Take Heart, My Child - Now available as a giftable board book, popular FOX news anchor Ainsley Earhardt’s New York Times bestseller Take Heart, My Child is a lyrical lullaby that inspires children to follow their dreams and passions. FOX and Friends cohost Ainsley Earhardt shares precious life lessons parents can pass onto their children so that they can follow their hearts, dreams, and passions. Take Heart, My Child is a lyrical lullaby in which Ainsley shares her own hopes and dreams and lets her child know that whatever challenges life brings, “Take heart, my child, I will—or, my love will—always be there for you.” It’s a universal message, one that all readers will relate to.

Books About Feelings And Emotions and Imagination

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The Nowhere Box
Written & illustrated by Sam Zuppardi
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Frustrated by little brothers who follow him everywhere and wreck his toys and games, George commandeers an empty washing machine box for an imaginative escape that is free of pirates, dragons and bothersome younger siblings.

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Grin & Bear it: The Wit and Wisdom of Corduroy
Written by Don Freeman & illustrated by Jody Wheeler and Don Freeman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Adventurous, imaginative, and always optimistic, Corduroy offers up wit and wisdom that will bring a little bit of sunshine to readers of all ages. Since Corduroy’s first publication in 1968, this adventuresome stuffed animal has been delighting readers of all ages. Now America’s favorite teddy bear is here to share with you fifty years of his accumulated wit and wisdom, all in one adorable little book. Charming and inspirational, this is the perfect gift for graduation, or any other occasion when you might need a little confidence boost.

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Lionheart
Written & illustrated by Richard Collingridge
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Richard hears something in his room before bedtime. Is it a monster? He doesn’t wait to find out and sets off running through the streets, over the hills, through the forest, and into the fields until he finds himself in a magical jungle. With the help of his stuffed lion Lionheart, Richard finds the courage he needs to face his fears.

Honorable Mentions
Brave Enough for Two book
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The Day I Lost My Superpowers book
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Heart and the Bottle book
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When You Need Wings book
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  1. Brave Enough for Two - In the spirit of “Goodnight Moon” and “The Night Gardener” comes a heartwarming picture book about a little girl, her stuffed-animal owl, and their loving friendship from debut author-illustrator Voss. Full color.

  2. The Day I Lost My Superpowers - When a young superhero-in-training gets hurt, she discovers that mothers have superpowers, too.

  3. Heart and the Bottle - There is a wonder and magic to childhood. We don’t realize it at the time, of course . . . yet the adults in our lives do. They encourage us to see things in the stars, to find joy in colors and laughter as we play. But what happens when that special someone who encourages such wonder and magic is no longer around? We can hide, we can place our heart in a bottle and grow up . . . or we can find another special someone who understands the magic. And we can encourage them to see things in the stars, find joy among colors and laughter as they play. Oliver Jeffers delivers a remarkable book, a tale of poignancy and resonance reminiscent of The Giving Tree that will speak to the hearts of children and parents alike.

  4. When You Need Wings - In the tradition of Where the Wild Things Are, beloved author-illustrator Lita Judge brings us a soaring story about the power of imagination. On a day when you feel like no one is listening, and you wish you could just disappear, shut your eyes and listen. Do you hear it? That isn’t your heart. That is the sound of your very own wings beating within. Acclaimed author-illustrator Lita Judge takes readers on a wonder-filled exploration of a child’s imagination, thoughtfully weaving in a gentle suggestion of how to explore that bountiful inner world and let it help them shine with courage in the real one.

Books About Feelings And Emotions and Dogs

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Ruff!: And the Wonderfully Amazing Busy Day
Written & illustrated by Caroline Jayne Church
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Meet Ruff the Dog, star of the picture book Ruff! And the Wonderfully Amazing Busy Day. He’s an adorable new animal character created by bestselling illustrator Caroline Jayne Church. What Ruff wants most is to make some friends. He accidentally digs up the house of a little grey mouse named Hubble. By the time Ruff helps Hubble make a new home, he has a friend. Then he and Hubble decide to help Lottie, a duck who has also lost her home. And soon Ruff has a second friend! Caroline Jayne Chruch’s full-color illustrations bring all the animals in her charming story to life.

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Spot Loves His Daddy
Written & illustrated by Eric Hill
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Whether playing ball in the park, feeding the ducks, or reading bedtime stories, Spot and his Daddy are great buddies. Perfect for Father’s Day, as well as all year long, this happy and heartwarming book is great for sharing.

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Tricky
Written & illustrated by Kari Rust
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

An old dog learns new tricks in this story about righting wrongs

Honorable Mentions
Black Dog book
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Odd Dog Out book
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Doggie Gets Scared book
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Boomer's Big Day book
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  1. Black Dog - In a modern fairy tale about the power of fear and how it distorts our view of the world, the Black Dog that appears outside the Hope family’s home seems to grow larger and larger as each frightened member of the Hope family sees it, but the youngest member of the household is not afraid and is able to break the spell.

  2. Odd Dog Out - A heartwarming and poignant story from award-winning creator Rob Biddulph about the power of embracing your true colors. Perfect for fans of Peter Brown’s Tiger Goes Wild. It’s a dog’s life in the big, busy city, but there’s one lonely pup who doesn’t quite fit in. She behaves differently from the rest, sports rainbow in a sea of gray, and marches to the beat of her own drum. She’s one Odd Dog. Join Odd Dog as she journeys to the other side of the world to find her place in it, only for her to discover that maybe she’s meant to be right where she started. And check out Rob Biddulph’s other books for children, including: Blown Away The Grizzly Bear Who Lost His GRRRRR!

  3. Doggie Gets Scared - Shadows, strangers, thunder and lightning! Sometimes a toy doggie gets scared. Don’t worry, Doggie, Baby is here. Baby’s toy doggie is scared of many things: shadows, swimming pools, strangers, loud noises. Boom! Good thing Baby is there to help, with a trusty blankie (which sometimes works). Baby also comforts Doggie at daycare and at the playground when Mommy steps out of their sight. But when Doggie himself goes missing, could that be too scary even for brave Baby? Leslie Patricelli gives a fearless new spin to a universal toddler experience—and offers a few suggestions for things that can help the scary go away.

  4. Boomer's Big Day - Moving day proves confusing for Boomer, a golden retriever, until he at last explores his new home and finds his own favorite and familiar things.

Want to see books about dogs?

Books About Feelings And Emotions and Multigenerational

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Thunder Cake
Written & illustrated by Patricia Polacco
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

A loud clap of thunder booms, and rattles the windows of Grandma’s old farmhouse. “This is Thunder Cake baking weather,” calls Grandma, as she and her granddaughter hurry to gather the ingredients around the farm. A real Thunder Cake must reach the oven before the storm arrives. But the list of ingredients is long and not easy to find . . . and the storm is coming closer all the time!

Reaching once again into her rich childhood experience, Patricia Polacco tells the memorable story of how her grandma–her Babushka–helped her overcome her fear of thunder when she was a little girl. Ms. Polacco’s vivid memories of her grandmother’s endearing answer to a child’s fear, accompanied by her bright folk-art illustrations, turn a frightening thunderstorm into an adventure and ultimately . . . a celebration!

Whether the first clap of thunder finds you buried under the bedcovers or happily anticipating the coming storm, Thunder Cake is a story that will bring new meaning and possibility to the excitement of a thunderstorm.

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Let's Go to Taekwondo!: A Story about Persistence, Bravery, and Breaking Boards
Written & illustrated by Aram Kim
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Yoomi wants a yellow belt. But she’s afraid to break the board. Grandma to the rescue!

Yoomi and her friends are ready to take on the test for their yellow belts in taekwondo. But Yoomi is afraid to break a board. Meanwhile, Grandma is struggling to learn something new, too.

But Yoomi and Grandma encourage and inspire each other. Yoomi discovers how, with persistence, focus, deep breathing, and above all, a loving Grandma, even the toughest challenges can be overcome.

This companion to No Kimchi for Me emphasizes self-confidence, determination, and the value of family. Backmatter about taekwondo, including some Korean vocabulary, is included.

A Junior Library Guild Selection

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Love by Sophia
Written by Jim Averbeck & illustrated by Yasmeen Ismail
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

The precocious Sophia and her pet giraffe Noodle learn how to look at life, love, and art in this latest installment of the series that Kirkus Reviews calls “fun, clever, and empowering.”

Sophia loves her family and her wonderful pet giraffe Noodle, so when she gets an assignment to draw something she loves, she wants to make it extra special. Taking her teacher’s advice, Sophia uses a little perspective and creates a work she calls Love.

Before she can place her masterpiece on the refrigerator, her whole family has to approve of the painting. But this is the Whitney, the Guggenheim, the Louvre of refrigerators. Can Sophia persuade them to take a chance on a new perspective, so they can see love from her point of view?

Honorable Mentions
A Stopwatch from Grampa book
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My Mindful Walk with Grandma book
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Me with You book
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I Love My Glam-Ma! book
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  1. A Stopwatch from Grampa - “When summer started, I got Grampa’s stopwatch,” a small child says. “I don’t want his stopwatch. I want him.” Grampa used to time everything. A race to the end of the street and back: 24 seconds. Eating bubblegum ice cream: 1 minute, 58 seconds. But now, Grampa’s gone. “There are no more Grampa minutes, Grampa seconds,” the child says. “Time just stops.” As the seasons come and go, the stopwatch becomes a cherished symbol of remembrance, and the child uses it to carry on Grampa’s favorite pastimes and traditions. Loretta Garbutt uses subtlety and sensitivity to explore the five stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance) in this moving picture book story of loss. It features a gender-neutral main character (no first name or pronouns are given) making the story universally relatable. This is a perfect choice for fostering discussions with children about their emotions, particularly the feeling of loss. It also offers a poignant representation of an intergenerational relationship between a grandfather and grandchild. Carmen Mok’s expressive and thoughtful illustrations employ a limited color palette to convey the character’s emotional trajectory. There are curriculum applications here in social-emotional development as well as character education lessons in caring and resilience.

  2. My Mindful Walk with Grandma - When a girl walks through the woods with her grandma, she’s so excited about reaching their destination that she misses out on what’s around her. But with Grandma’s help, she learns how to breathe, be peaceful, and notice the little surprises along the way. Find mindfulness in nature through this gentle story.

  3. Me with You - With simple rhymes and classic illustrations, this charming toddler gift celebrates the special bond between grandparents and their little ones. We’re a pair beyond compare, a rare and special two, in all the ways that I am me and you’re completely you. From tea time to game time, singing or swinging, in the good times and even the grumpy ones, a granddaughter knows her grandpa is always wonderfully himself, and she is wonderfully herself, and together they are unbeatable! A pair beyond compare, a rare and special two!

  4. I Love My Glam-Ma! - A celebration of EVERY grandma’s glamorous ways — and the special love that glam-mas share with everything they do! “Glam-mas don’t just come over… they make a grand entrance! Glam-mas don’t just celebrate holidays… they celebrate everything! Glam-mas don’t just carry a purse… they carry a treasure chest!” A joyful celebration of grandmothers who are young at heart, adventurous, and find a bit of glamour in everything they do. Whether these glam-mas are building sandcastles, riding with dolphins, or turning blankets into reading forts and super capes, they live each day with a playful spirit — just like their grandchildren.

Books About Feelings And Emotions and Science And Nature

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Happy Happier Happiest
Written by Corina Fletcher & illustrated by Natalie Marshall
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

How are you doing today? This charming pull-tab novelty book explores different feelings! Who’s shy? Happy? Silly? Come to the ocean to see how the animals are feeling—and learn about superlatives, too. No fish in the crowded school is lonely, but a solitary, slow swimmer is. Another fish, even further behind, is lonelier still, and a third, far away from everyone, is loneliest of all. The book ends with the sweetest, sleepiest seal, whose eyes shut as you pull the tab.

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The Pout-Pout Fish Cleans Up the Ocean
Written by Deborah Diesen & illustrated by Dan Hanna
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Mr. Fish and his friends have noticed something strange in their ocean—a big, big MESS! How did it get there? What can they do about it? The closer they look, the more they see where the mess came from . . . and they’ll have to work together to get rid of it. This newest jacketed hardcover in the New York Times–bestselling Pout-Pout Fish series will teach little guppies how to take responsibility for their actions and for the environment.

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From Tree To Sea
Written by Shelley Moore Thomas & illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

From a child’s point of view, this lyrical picture book looks at the relationship of nature to the human world and the place we call home.

From the edge of the sea to a high mountain top, everything has its place in the world and all living things are connected. The world around us has a lot to tell us if we take the time to look and listen. This tender and comforting picture book celebrates the wisdom in many of the things great and small that make up our wonderful world.

Honorable Mentions
Something Extraordinary book
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Stars book
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A Way with Wild Things book
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Heart on Pluto book
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  1. Something Extraordinary - Amazing things are happening all around you. You just need to know where to look—and this whimsical picture book is the perfect place to start. Have you ever wished for something extraordinary? Like the ability to fly? Or to breathe underwater? What if you could talk to animals? It’s fun to wish for amazing things. But take a look around, and you just might find that the most “ordinary” things…can be extraordinary.

  2. Stars - Celebrate all of the glittering stars in the sky in this tender Classic Board Book by acclaimed author Mary Lyn Ray and Caldecott Honor winner Marla Frazee! A star is how you know it’s almost night. As soon as you see one, there’s another, and another. And the dark that comes doesn’t feel so dark. What if you could have a star? Look very closely in this lovely Classic Board Book for all kinds of stars both near and far…because stars are everywhere. Not just in the sky.

  3. A Way with Wild Things - Poppy’s not flashy, but she stands out in her own way. This charming book about a girl who loves nature celebrates quieter kids. Poppy Ann Fields loves bugs—sitting in the grass singing with cicadas, carrying on conversations with ladybugs—and feels much more at home outside with six-legged friends than with other people. Inside, Poppy prefers to disappear into the background. Some might call her a wallflower. But when Grandma Phyllis turns 100, Poppy must go to the party. She wears a dress that blends into the garden setting, so she’s almost invisible, until a very special bug lands on Grandma Phyllis’s cake. Poppy can’t resist popping out to see it. Soon, the rest of the party guests notice this beautiful wild thing—Poppy and the dragonfly! With a gently poetic text from newcomer Larissa Theule and wildly charming illustrations by Sara Palacios, this story shows that sometimes a wallflower is actually a wildflower.

  4. Heart on Pluto - Love is everywhere, even in the fartherst reaches of the Solar System. On NASA’s first-ever mission to Pluto, the New Horizons satellite discovers that even when you’re far from home, you are loved. New Horizons was the first NASA satellite to visit and take close-up images of Pluto. And though the journey was long and challenging, New Horizons discovered a message of love in the heart-shaped nitrogren ice lake on Pluto’s surface.

Books About Feelings And Emotions and Dads

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Dragons: Father and Son
Written by Alexandre Lacroix & illustrated by Ronan Badel
picture book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

To prove to his father that he is a real dragon, young Drake is sent to the local village to cause some mischief and start a fire. But Drake has only ever breathed fire to roast a tasty caterpillar. How will be burn down a whole house? Or a school? Or even an old wooden shack? Has Drake got what it takes to make his father proud? Dragons: Father and Son is a funny and moving story about the bonds between fathers and children, with a positive, peaceful message – and all the magic and mayhem you’d hope for in a tale about dragons.

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Dad and the Dinosaur
Written by Gennifer Choldenko & illustrated by Dan Santat
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

A heartwarming father-son story about bravery and facing fears.

Nicholas was afraid of the dark outside his door, the bushes where the giant bugs live, and the underside of manhole covers.

His dad was not afraid of anything.

Nicholas wants to be as brave as his dad, but he needs help. That’s why he needs a dinosaur. After all, dinosaurs like the dark, bugs are nothing to them, and they eat manhole covers for lunch (and everything under them for dinner).

With his toy dinosaur, Nicholas can scale tall walls, swim in deep water, even score a goal against the huge goalie everyone calls Gorilla. But when the dinosaur goes missing, everything is scary again.

Luckily, his dad knows that even the bravest people can get scared, and it’s okay to ask for help facing your fears. It’s just guy stuff.

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How to Cheer Up Dad
Written & illustrated by Fred Koehler
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

A hilarious book about parent and child relationships for fans of Ian Falconer and Jon Agee–a perfect gift idea for Father’s Day and beyond!

Little Jumbo just can’t understand why his dad is having such a bad day. It couldn’t be the raisins Little Jumbo spit out at the ceiling or the bath he refused to take–after all, Little Jumbo’s dad knew he hated raisins and had already taken a bath that week! Luckily, Little Jumbo is such a thoughtful elephant that he decides to turn his dad’s bad day around with some of his–ahem, his dad’s–favorite things.

How to Cheer up Dad is a standout debut featuring a charmingly oblivious little elephant with serious pluck and staying power. It turns the parent-child roles upside down is a great book for dads and the kids who make them laugh.

Honorable Mentions
Guess How Much I Love You book
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No Matter what book
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  1. Guess How Much I Love You - Sometimes, when you love someone very, very much, you want to find a way of describing how much you treasure them. But, as Little Nutbrown Hare and Big Nutbrown Hare discover, love is not an easy thing to measure! For two decades, Sam McBratney’s timelessly endearing story, beautifully rendered in Anita Jeram’s exquisite watercolors, has captured the deep and tender bond between parent and child. Guess How Much I Love You is one of the world’s best-loved picture books.

  2. No Matter what - Small, a little fox, seeks reassurance that Large will always provide love, no matter what.

Want to see books about dads?

Books About Feelings And Emotions and Worrying

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Ruby Finds a Worry
Written & illustrated by Tom Percival
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

From the creator of Perfectly Norman comes a sensitive and reassuring story about what to do when a worry won’t leave you alone. Meet Ruby—a happy, curious, imaginative girl. But one day, she finds something unexpected: a Worry. It’s not such a big Worry, at first. But every day, it grows a little bigger . . . And a little bigger . . . Until eventually, the Worry is ENORMOUS and is all she can think about. But when Ruby befriends a young boy, she discovers that everyone has worries, and not only that, there’s a great way to get rid of them too . . . This perceptive and poignant story is the perfect springboard for talking to children about emotional intelligence and sharing hidden anxieties.

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Wemberly Worried
Written & illustrated by Kevin Henkes
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Wemberly worried about everything. Big things. Little things. And things in between. Then it was time for school to start.And Wemberly worried even more. If you ever worry (or know someone who does), this is the book for you.

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The Noisy Classroom
Written by Angela Shanté & illustrated by Alison Hawkins
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-8

The first day of school is coming… and I’m going to be in the noisy class. Any class but the noisy class will do!

A young girl is about to enter the third grade, but this year she’s put into Ms. Johnson’s noisy class. Everything about the noisy class is odd. While all the other classes are quiet, Ms. Johnson sings and the kids chatter all day. The door is always closed, yet sounds from it can be heard in the hallway. With summer coming to an end and school starting, the girl realizes that soon she’ll be going to the noisy class. What will school be like now?

Featuring the honest and delightful humor of debut author Angela Shanté and the bold, graphic imagery of debut illustrator Alison Hawkins, The Noisy Classroom encourages those with first-day jitters to reevaluate a scary situation by looking at it from a different angle and to embrace how fun school can be, even in nontraditional ways.

Honorable Mentions
I'm Worried book
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Wemberly's Ice-Cream Star book
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The Don't Worry Book book
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The Night Before Summer Camp book
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  1. I'm Worried - A girl, a flamingo, and a worried potato star in the third book in New York Times bestselling author Michael Ian Black and illustrator Debbie Ridpath Ohi’s series about feelings—and why they’re good, even when they feel bad. Potato is worried. About everything. Because anything might happen. When he tells his friends, he expects them to comfort him by saying that everything will be okay. Except they don’t. Because it might not be, and that’s okay too. Still, there’s one thing they can promise for sure: no matter what happens…they will always be by his side.

  2. Wemberly's Ice-Cream Star - One hot simmer day Wemberly finds that patience — just like a frosty treat — will go a long way.

  3. The Don't Worry Book - From bestselling and beloved author Todd Parr, a new book that reassures kids everywhere that even when things are scary or confusing, there’s always something comforting around the corner. Todd Parr brings his trademark bright colors and bold lines to his new book about things that might make kids worry—from loud news, to loud neighbors, or a big day at school. With his signature humor and instantly recognizable style, Todd speaks out to kids who are feeling the weight of their world, offering solutions and comfort, as well as giggles.

  4. The Night Before Summer Camp - The first day of summer camp is almost here, and one little camper doesn’t know what to expect. For a while everything is hunkydory . . . until rest time rolls around and he gets a bad case of nervous butterflies. But an unlikely friend appears out of the crowd and reassures him that the best cure for the summertime blues is tons of summertime fun! A sweetly reassuring story, once again told in verse to the meter of Clement Moore’s classic.

Want to see books about worrying?

Books About Feelings And Emotions and Trying New Things

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Shark Nate-O
Written by Becky Cattie and Tara Luebbe & illustrated by Daniel Duncan
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Nate loves sharks. He reads shark books every day, watches sharks on TV, and talks about them nonstop. He even likes to pretend he’s a shark wherever he goes! However, there is one small problem. . . . Nate can’t swim. When his older brother points this out, Nate works hard to overcome his fears and learn how to blow bubbles, use a kickboard, and finally swim without help, as quickly and as gracefully as a shark. Will he be able to beat his brother in a swim tryout and get his bite back? Kids will love this jawsome book complete with vibrant and whimsical art and a list of shark facts in the back!

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Oakwing
Written & illustrated by EJ Clarke
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-11

After Rowan is mysteriously transformed into a tiny fairy, she is thrust into a world of fairy clans and talking robins where, she discovers, her long-missing mother is also trapped.

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Roller Coaster
Written & illustrated by Marla Frazee
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Twelve people set aside their fears and ride a roller coaster, including one who has never done so before.

Honorable Mentions
I'm Scared book
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Wally Does Not Want a Haircut book
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My First Day book
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  1. I'm Scared - Chilly the snowflake is scared of lots of things, but learns that facing his fears and trying something new can be fun.

  2. Wally Does Not Want a Haircut - Wally the sheep does not want to get the haircut he really needs, even after all the other farm animals get new hairdos, but when his shaggy wool gets him in trouble, he has no choice but to ask for a trim.

  3. My First Day - Get ready for the first day of school with this sweet, reassuring board book. Follow one little boy as he experiences all the firsts a first day of school brings, from his first story to his first friend. When it’s time to leave, he can’t wait for another day at school!

Books About Feelings And Emotions and Hope

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A Dance Like Starlight
Written by Kristy Dempsey & illustrated by Floyd Cooper
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Little ballerinas have big dreams. Dreams of pirouettes and grande jetes, dreams of attending the best ballet schools and of dancing starring roles on stage. But in Harlem in the 1950s, dreams don’t always come true—they take a lot of work and a lot of hope. And sometimes hope is hard to come by.

But the first African-American prima ballerina, Janet Collins, did make her dreams come true. And those dreams inspired ballerinas everywhere, showing them that the color of their skin couldn’t stop them from becoming a star.

In a lyrical tale as beautiful as a dance en pointe, Kristy Dempsey and Floyd Cooper tell the story of one little ballerina who was inspired by Janet Collins to make her own dreams come true.

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The Last Christmas Tree
Written by Stephen Krensky & illustrated by Pascal Campion
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Among the grand balsam firs and pines at the Christmas tree lot is a little hunched tree that is missing several branches. Still, no tree is more filled with the spirit of Christmas. As the weeks go by, many others are selected but still the little tree keeps up its hope of finding the perfect family. On Christmas Eve, now the last tree in the lot, a special visitor (Ho, Ho, Ho!) might just give the little tree what it wants most of all.

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Little Mole Finds Hope
Written by Glenys Nellist & illustrated by Sally Garland
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

When Little Mole is feeling sad in his dark, underground home, his mother shows him how to look for hope. He finds that signs of spring are everywhere, from the daffodil bulbs under the soil to the tiny buds on the branches above. Hope can be found—even in the darkest places.

In Little Mole Finds Hope, best-selling children’s author Glenys Nellist and illustrator Sally Garland tell an endearing story sure to lift the spirits of people emerging from the cold of winter or a challenging season of life and inspire them to look for signs that spring will come again.

Honorable Mentions
Binkle's Time to Fly book
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Home of the Brave book
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The Feather book
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The Salmon Princess book
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  1. Binkle's Time to Fly - Binkle cant wait until he turns from caterpillar to butterfly. Hell finally have strong, beautiful wings to take him high into the sky! But when the day comes, something is terribly wrong. Why are Binkles wings so wispy and weak? How will he ever fly like the other butterflies if his wings are nothing like theirs? Yet with some help and creativity, maybe theres more than one way to fly . . . As this charming, gorgeously illustrated story reminds us, life can present us with unwelcome challenges, but inventive alternatives and the support of others can make all the difference.

  2. Home of the Brave - A man I helped to settle here taught me a saying from Africa. I’ll bet you would like it: A cow is God with a wet nose. Kek comes from Africa where he lived with his mother, father, and brother. But only he and his mother have survived. Now she’s missing, and Kek has been sent to a new home. In America, he sees snow for the first time, and feels its sting. He wonders if the people in this new place will be like the winter—cold and unkind. But slowly he makes friends: a girl in foster care, an old woman with a rundown farm, and a sweet, sad cow that reminds Kek of home. As he waits for word of his mother’s fate, Kek weathers the tough Minnesota winter by finding warmth in his new friendships, strength in his memories, and belief in his new country.

  3. The Feather - This is a story about hope, kindness and redemption set in a grey dystopian world. When a great feather drifts from the leaden sky, two children recognize its extraordinariness and take it to the village for its protection. The villagers, however, want to encase it, upon which the feather loses its radiance. The children take it home and care for it through the night. In the morning it is again radiant, and when they set it free it leaves behind the first signs of blue sky and color. The ambiguous ending invites multiple interpretations about the effects of selflessness and kindness.

  4. The Salmon Princess - Loosely based on “Cinderella,” this story is set in Alaska, the fairy godmother is an eagle, and the hero, the son of a cannery owner, finds his true love through her Sitka slipper, a heavy rubber boot she left at the Silver Salmon Festival.

Want to see books about hope?

Epilogue

32 books that are just too good to leave off of our feelings and emotions list.
Calm with the Very Hungry Caterpillar book
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Pilar's Worries book
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A Boy Called Bat book
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The Happy Book book
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  1. Calm with the Very Hungry Caterpillar - This beautiful little gift book featuring The Very Hungry Caterpillar provides a simple, easy-to-follow journey to relaxation, perfect for children and adults. Just stop and breathe . . . How do you feel? Join The Very Hungry Caterpillar for a soothing story featuring classic art from the World of Eric Carle. With simple coping mechanisms and beautiful illustrations, this book is an excellent reminder to kids and adults alike to take a moment, breathe deep, and smile!

  2. Pilar's Worries - Pilar loves to dance. She pliés while brushing her teeth. She leaps when hurrying to ballet class. But when tryouts for her favorite ballet are held, Pilar is anxious. Auditioning makes her whole body feel scared. But by using some of the coping techniques she’s learned and focusing on her love for ballet, she is able to persevere. This gentle story is a great tool for children dealing with anxiety.

  3. A Boy Called Bat - B is for Bookworm -

    Bat is a wonderful, developed character in this story about an animal-loving boy on the autism spectrum who thinks a skunk makes the perfect pet. This story can really help children reading understand and have empathy for those on the Autism spectrum as you read about how Bat feels and the way his friends interact with him. You also get to learn a lot of fun things about skunks!

  4. The Happy Book - From the creator of ARCHIE THE DAREDEVIL PENGUIN comes the unique story of two friends who can’t escape all the feels. Camper is happy as a clam and Clam is a happy camper. When you live in The Happy Book, the world is full of daisies and sunshine and friendship cakes . . . until your best friend eats the whole cake and doesn’t save you one bite. Moving from happiness to sadness and everything in between, Camper and Clam have a hard time finding their way back to happy. But maybe happy isn’t the goal—being a good friend is about supporting each other and feeling all the feels together. At once funny and thoughtful, The Happy Book supports social-emotional learning. It’s a book to keep young readers company no matter how they’re feeling!

True (. . . Sort Of) book
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When I Feel Worried book
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A Nervous Night book
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Cheer Up, Ben Franklin! book
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  1. True (. . . Sort Of) - B is for Bookworm -

    Such an important read, and a wonderful way to discuss safety and abuse with children by reading it together or talking about it afterwards. The story brings up this important topic in a very age-appropriate and gentle way, allowing children to learn important lessons while loving the adventures of Delly Pattison.

  2. When I Feel Worried - Everybody worries. Children worry too—in new or confusing situations or when someone is angry with them. This new addition to the acclaimed The Way I Feel Series uses reassuring words and illustrations to address a child’s anxieties and shows ways to feel better. Cornelia Spelman and Kathy Parkinson team up once again to provide a comforting and empowering book that’s helpful to all.

  3. A Nervous Night - Katie is nervous about a sleepover at her grandparents’ house.

  4. Cheer Up, Ben Franklin! - Can this Founding Father find a friend? Introducing a new board-book series perfect for even the youngest historian! Ben Franklin is sad.No one has time to fly kites with him today.Betsy Ross is busy sewing a flag.Alexander Hamilton is busy counting money…Will things change for Ben when he reaches Independence Hall?The first volume of this new board-book series takes a tongue-in-cheek look at American history to introduce the youngest historians to some of the most prominent characters during our nation’s exciting beginning. Readers will love the amusing story, and biographies in the back of the book will ensure they’ll learn even more along the way.

The Wolf Who Learned Self-Control book
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InvisiBill book
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Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day book
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Wonder book
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  1. The Wolf Who Learned Self-Control - Wolf can’t tell which emotion he is feeling sometimes: happy, sad, excited, jealous—there are far too many. When his moods begin to change without warning, Wolf’s friends begin to worry, and aren’t sure how to handle the confused whirlwind of their companion’s feelings. Finally, Wolf decides that enough is enough, and sets out to tame his ever-changing emotions, a feat more easily said than done. How exactly does he intend to manage his moods?

  2. InvisiBill - InvisiBill is the hilariously absurd, tongue-in-cheek story of an ordinary middle child who feels so overlooked by his busy, distracted family that he becomes invisible … or InvisiBill!

  3. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day - The perennially popular tale of Alexander’s worst day is a storybook that belongs on every child’s bookshelf. Alexander knew it was going to be a terrible day when he woke up with gum in this hair. And it got worse… His best friend deserted him. There was no dessert in his lunch bag. And, on top of all that, there were lima beans for dinner and kissing on TV! This handsome new edition of Judith Viorst’s classic picture book is sure to charm readers of all ages.

  4. Wonder - Born with a facial deformity that initially prevented his attendance at public school, Auggie Pullman enters the fifth grade at Beecher Prep and struggles with the dynamics of being both new and different, in a sparsely written tale about acceptance and self-esteem.

The Snatchabook book
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Adrian Simcox Does NOT Have a Horse book
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Off & Away book
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After the Fall (How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again) book
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  1. The Snatchabook - B is for Bookworm -

    This book has important over-arching themes of righting a wrong and empathy. The Snatchabook uses empathy by realizing what it would be like to have your cherished books stolen, and Eliza Brown uses empathy to realize what it would be like not to have parents reading you books. The two become friends because they can imagine what the other must feel like.

  2. Adrian Simcox Does NOT Have a Horse - A classic in the making, this heartwarming story about empathy and imagination is one that families will treasure for years to come. Adrian Simcox tells anyone who will listen that he has a horse—the best and most beautiful horse anywhere. But Chloe does NOT believe him. Adrian Simcox lives in a tiny house. Where would he keep a horse? He has holes in his shoes. How would he pay for a horse? The more Adrian talks about his horse, the angrier Chloe gets. But when she calls him out at school and even complains about him to her mom, Chloe doesn’t get the vindication she craves. She gets something far more important. Written with tenderness and poignancy and gorgeously illustrated, this book will show readers that kindness is always rewarding, understanding is sweeter than judgment, and friendship is the best gift one can give.

  3. Off & Away - How would you get mail if you lived in the middle of the sea? It’s Jo’s dad’s job to deliver it, taking bottles wherever they need to go. He always comes home with exciting stories to tell-but Jo is far too afraid to go out on the ocean herself. Until Dad gets a bad sea cold, that is. With no one but Jo to deliver the bottles, she must find her courage and set sail alone. As she embarks on her mission, her fears just might be replaced with new friendships . . . and grand stories of her own. With beautiful, atmospheric art and endearing new characters by author-illustrator Cale Atkinson, this picturebook is a treasure.

  4. After the Fall (How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again) - From the New York Times–bestselling creator of The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend comes the inspiring epilogue to the beloved classic nursery rhyme Humpty Dumpty. Everyone knows that when Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. But what happened after? Caldecott Medalist Dan Santat’s poignant tale follows Humpty Dumpty, an avid bird watcher whose favorite place to be is high up on the city wall―that is, until after his famous fall. Now terrified of heights, Humpty can longer do many of the things he loves most. Will he summon the courage to face his fear? After the Fall (How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again) is a masterful picture book that will remind readers of all ages that Life begins when you get back up.

The Clown of God book
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I'm Silly! book
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I Am So Brave! book
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Emma book
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  1. The Clown of God - This beautiful new edition of Tomie dePaola’s 1978 classic retelling of a French legend stars a little juggler whose unique talent leads him to what might be a Christmas miracle. Little Giovanni is poor and homeless, but he can do something wonderful: he can juggle. The people of Sorrento marvel at his talents, and before long, he becomes famous throughout Italy for his rainbow of colored balls that delight the nobility and townspeople alike. But as the years pass, Giovanni grows old, and his talents begin to fail him. No longer a celebrated performer, he is once again poor and homeless, begging for his food. Until one Christmas Eve, when Giovanni picks up his rainbow of colored balls once more. And what happens next just might be a miracle…

  2. I'm Silly! - Parents looking for funny books to read to their babies and toddlers have something to cheer about-a new comic board-book series about feelings from Jennifer and Matthew Holm! a In I’m Silly!, a hyperactive tornado gets a bit TOO goofy and ruins his friends’ tea party. A sweet, funny, and simple introduction to the impact that emotions can have on the people around you from the bestselling creators of Babymouse and Squish, Jennifer L. Holm (author of The Fourteenth Goldfish) and Matthew Holm. The Eisner Award winners use panel frames, speech balloons, and thought bubbles to teach children how to read a story. a For more My First Comics stories, look for I’m Grumpy and I’m Sunny!

  3. I Am So Brave! - Celebrates a toddler’s growing comfort with such things as hearing loud noises and being left with a babysitter.

  4. Emma - Step into the drama filled world of Jane Austin’s Emma: A BabyLit Emotions Primer. Your little one will learn about the meddling Emma Woodhouse, who takes it upon herself to become the village matchmaker, creating all sorts of feelings in others. Her friend’s emotions include Mr. Elton being angry, Miss Taylor becoming happy, while Jane Fairfax is tired.

Three Little Words book
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Nobody Hugs A Cactus book
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Let's Go, Hugo! book
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My Heart Is Like a Zoo book
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  1. Three Little Words - Perfect for Valentine’s Day, graduation, birthdays, or anytime a hug is required, this beautiful book lets children know their parents will always be there for them! What are the three little words that make everything better? I Love You! Preschoolers will love snuggling with their families and counting all the ways that the three little words “I love you” can solve most every childhood concern. With warm, cuddly, reassuring illustrations of adorable animal families, this book lets children know that their parents will always be there with lots of hugs and kisses. “Each time the phrase I love you is introduced, Pearce describes it with a different adjective, such as mighty, friendly, or winning, which emphasizes the myriad ways unconditional love can rescue upsetting moments…. The bouncy rhythm makes it fun to read aloud, especially since little ones will easily catch on to the repeated refrain. Great for any time a kiddo needs a boost of confidence.”—Booklist

  2. Nobody Hugs A Cactus - Celebrated artist and lead character designer of Brave, Ratatouille, and Despicable Me, Carter Goodrich, shows that sometimes, even the prickliest people—or the crankiest cacti—need a little love. Hank is the prickliest cactus in the entire world. He sits in a pot in a window that faces the empty desert, which is just how he likes it. So, when all manner of creatures—from tumbleweed to lizard to owl—come to disturb his peace, Hank is annoyed. He doesn’t like noise, he doesn’t like rowdiness, and definitely does not like hugs. But the thing is, no one is offering one. Who would want to hug a plant so mean? Hank is beginning to discover that being alone can be, well, lonely. So he comes up with a plan to get the one thing he thought he would never need: a hug from a friend.

  3. Let's Go, Hugo! - Hugo is a dapper little bird who adores the Eiffel Tower—or at least his view of it from down here. Hugo, you see, has never left the ground. So when he meets another bird, the determined Lulu, who invites him to fly with her to the top of the tower, Hugo stalls, persuading Lulu to see, on foot, every inch of the park in which he lives instead. Will a nighttime flying lesson from Bernard the Owl, some sweet and sensible encouragement from Lulu, and some extra pluck from Hugo himself finally give this bird the courage he needs to spread his wings and fly?

  4. My Heart Is Like a Zoo - The New York Times bestseller My Heart Is Like a Zoo features bright colors, simple sentences, playful animals, and more than 300 hearts for children to count and enjoy. Caldecott Medalist Brian Selznick says, “Starting with one simple shape, Michael Hall shows us a nearly infinite number of ways to make a menagerie of love.” This board book edition of the award-winning picture book is perfect for little hands and the very youngest readers, who will learn that a heart can be hopeful, silly, happy, rugged, snappy, or lonely. A heart holds every different feeling, and author-artist Michael Hall captures each one with his bold, graphic artwork. An ideal springboard for conversations about emotions, and for introducing concepts, math, and art projects in the classroom and at home. School Library Journal called it an “outstanding choice for one-on-one sharing.”

Wherever You Are book
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The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles book
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Somebody Loves You Mr. Hatch book
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Bunny Roo, I Love You book
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  1. Wherever You Are - . . . I wanted you more than you’ll ever know, so I sent love to follow wherever you go. . . . Love is the greatest gift we have to give our children. It’s the one thing they can carry with them each and every day. If love could take shape it might look something like these heartfelt words and images from the inimitable Nancy Tillman. Here is a book to share with your loved ones, no matter how near or far, young or old, they are.

  2. The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles - A message in a bottle holds the promise of surprise and wonder, as told in this enthralling picture book by Caldecott Medalist Erin E. Stead The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles, who lives alone atop a hill, has a job of the utmost importance. It is his task to open any bottles found at sea and make sure that the messages are delivered. He loves his job, though he has always wished that, someday, one of the letters would be addressed to him. One day he opens a party invitation—but there’s no name attached. As he devotes himself to the mystery of the intended recipient, he ends up finding something even more special: the possibility of new friends.

  3. Somebody Loves You Mr. Hatch - Grammy -

    This book has such a powerful message about the difference a simple act of kindness can make. There are so many of these small, simple acts in the story and they each affect the receiver in profound ways, but none more profoundly than Mr. Hatch, a lonely old man at the beginning of the story, and someone entirely different at the end. Mr. Hatch's loneliness is relatable to people of all ages; we see ourselves in his shyness and the difficulty he has in reaching out to others. When he receives a gift and a cryptic love note, it gives him confidence and motivates him to connect with the people around him. Empathy is another strong theme in the book. Not only do we feel for Mr. Hatch in his loneliness, but, along with Mr. Hatch, we feel for the newsstand man and the butcher in their difficulties. Reading this story together can facilitate conversations about who we might know that could use a little lift, or maybe some brownies!

  4. Bunny Roo, I Love You - B is for Bookworm -

    I love this beautiful book! The illustrations are fantastic, and I love the concept. The loving mom talks about all the baby's traits and likens them to animals and shares how she cares for and loves her baby. Such a sweet read!

Little Elliot, Big Family book
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Big Papa and the Time Machine book
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Hugs and Kisses book
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What Are You Glad About? What Are You Mad About? book
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  1. Little Elliot, Big Family - When Mouse heads off to a family reunion, Little Elliot decides go for a walk. As he explores each busy street, he sees families in all shapes and sizes. In a city of millions, Little Elliot feels very much alone-until he finds he has a family of his own!

  2. Big Papa and the Time Machine - Discover the true meaning of being brave in this tender and whimsical picture book from Daniel Bernstrom (One Day in the Eucalytus, Eucalyptus Tree) and Shane Evans (Chocolate Me!) that follows a grandfather and grandson who travel through time in a beloved 1952 Ford. A little boy who lives with his grandpa isn’t reprimanded for being afraid to go to school one day. Instead, Big Papa takes him away in his time machine—a 1952 Ford—back to all of the times when he, himself, was scared of something life was handing him. Full of heartfelt moments and thrilling magical realism, Big Papa and the Time Machine speaks to the African American experience in a touching dialogue between two family members from different generations, and emerges as a voice that shares history and asks questions about one family’s experience in 20th-century black America. *“Wasn’t you scared?” “Oh, I was scared,” Big Papa said. “Sometimes you gotta walk with giants if you ever gonna know what you made of. That’s called being brave.”*

  3. Hugs and Kisses - From the bestselling illustrator of The Perfect Hug and The Biggest Kiss, comes an adorable board book full of hugs and kisses! This sweet board book features the same cast of adorable animals from The Biggest Kiss and The Perfect Hug by bestselling illustrator Judi Abbot. Only this time, all the friends are in a brand-new story that proves everyone needs hugs AND kisses!

  4. What Are You Glad About? What Are You Mad About? - From the beloved and internationally bestselling author of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, Judith Viorst comes a collection of wry and witty poems that touch on every aspect of the roller-coaster ride that is childhood. Did you wake up this morning all smiley inside? Does life taste like ice cream and cake? Or does it seem more like your goldfish just died And your insides are one great big ache? From school to family to friends, from Grrrr to Hooray!, Judith Viorst takes us on a tour of feelings of all kinds in this thoughtful, funny, and charming collection of poetry that’s perfect for young readers just learning to sort out their own emotions.

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