Amazing Picture Books that Teach Kids About Emotions


There are so many books out there for younger children that help to teach about emotions. Happy, angry, sad, and mad… we can begin to teach emotions to children as young as a few months old with a book such as Baby Faces, which depicts a photograph on each page with one word underneath.  

There have been books written for years to help teach about how we feel.

In the past few years, however, a few new books about emotions have been published that are fantastic!

These books not only drive the point home about feelings but also create the opportunity for conversations with our little ones about what these feelings mean and how to handle them. I have used these books both in my classroom and my home, and highly recommend them.

The Snurtch by Sean Ferrell and Charles Santoso   

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Great name, huh?  I love this book. I came across this when my library first purchased it, and read it twice to my kindergarten class. The Snurtch is about a little girl, Ruthie, who misbehaves quite often and has a hard time understanding where her emotions come from. The Snurtch is a monster-like being who is often lurking in the background of the illustrations as Ruthie makes naughty choices. Though the Snurtch is illustrated as a separate being, it brings up the conversation of how he is really part of Ruthie, and how she is responsible for her actions.  The book has a delightful ending, as a boy in art class compliments Ruthie on her drawing of the Snurtch, which gives Ruthie the chance to feel more accepted and appreciated.  

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In My Heart:  A Book of Feelings by Jo Witek and Christine Roussey

We have read this so many times in my house, especially to our two year-old, who is learning what these different feelings mean. It is a sweet book with a heart cut out as part of each illustration. In My Heart covers one emotion on each page by describing how they feel and what they may look like.  The emotions described include happy, brave, proud, sad, and even what we feel like when our heart is broken.     

When Sophie Gets Angry – Really, Really Angry by Molly Bang   

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Oh, it can be so, so hard for our kiddos to self-regulate when they are angry! Sometimes I don’t even know how to deal with myself when I am angry, how do I expect my five year-old to do it? This book is a good conversation starter for strategies that can be used to calm down. In the story, when Sophie becomes angry she runs off to a special place outside to help her settle down, and when she is calm and ready, she returns home. One of the best things about the story is that when she is home her family just continues on like nothing happened, and welcomes her back with no questions asked.  

My Mouth is a Volcano by Julia Cook and Carrie Hartman

This is another book that I have read both in my classroom and at home. How many of us have children who interrupt? If you said, “not me!” then we need to sit down with a cup of coffee and spend time together so you can tell me all of your secrets. Because I don’t know about you, but between my class and my home, I can be interrupted about a million times a day. Okay, I exaggerate, but you can only imagine how much this happens in my daily life.

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Enter My Mouth is a Volcano. While this book is not the magic answer to interrupting, just like the books mentioned above, it offers a chance to read the story and talk. In this story, Louis, the main character, is constantly interrupting and driving people nuts. With the help of his mother, he comes up with a strategy to save his important words for a good time.  

Being a parent is a 24/7 job, and part of that job is to teach our children how to recognize and handle their emotions.  

We can model the behavior we would like to see and we can stay calm within the storm of a tantrum. We can talk, we can hold and snuggle, and we can create social stories to help explain actions and consequences. Along with this all, we can use books to help us guide our children and create the moments that will help them learn.


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