Exploring emotions through books
Happy, sad, jealous, or angry, toddlers have all the feels and come with a range of emotions, just like adults. We all manage feelings differently, but learning to identify and cope with them is essential to growing up. Books are a great way to initiate conversations and provide your toddler and kids with a strong emotional foundation and sense of self-esteem. Below we’ve rounded up some of our favorite toddler-approved books to help them understand and express their emotions.
In My Heart: A Book of Feelings (Growing Hearts)
In this whimsical book, toddlers are introduced to feelings and can explore a spectrum of emotions and how they make us physically feel. Plus, the die-cut heart that extends through the spread adds a special element. It will quickly become a bedtime story favorite, so be sure to check out the rest of The Growing Hearts series that celebrates the milestones of a toddler’s emotional development. Visit here.
It’s okay to be down sometimes, and that’s what Jim the chimpanzee teaches toddlers in this #1 New York Times bestselling picture book by Suzanne Lang. The Grumpy Monkey finds himself in a bad mood, and everywhere he turns, people give him advice on how to deal with it. With fun and witty illustrations, children will feel engaged throughout. To explore, visit here.
The Color Monster: A Story About Emotions
A story about an adorable monster who wakes up confused with emotions all over the place, this international bestseller written by Anna Llenas helps young readers identify emotions and teaches them how to feel in control in an approachable way. To purchase, click here.
B is for Breathe: The ABCs of Coping with Fussy and Frustrating Feelings
This alphabet book by Melissa Munro Boyd has 26 different strategies for coping with stress & frustration - from A to Z. Inspiring kids to discuss their feelings, this book is perfect for practicing techniques to calm down and includes fun, cute, and exciting illustrations. To purchase, click here.
When Sadness is at Your Door
Everyone feels sad sometimes, and it can be a scary and overwhelming sensation, regardless of age. Written by Eva Eland, this book approaches the feeling of sadness as if it were a visitor. Suitable for adults too, the simple and soothing illustrations encourage the reader to focus on the feeling rather than the circumstance. If you enjoy this story, Eland has a follow-up book called "Where Happiness Begins". To purchase, click here.
A bilingual book of emotions, La Catrina is one of the many stories from Patty Rodriguez’ Lil’ Libros series. Inspired by Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead), this book introduces toddlers to emotional expressions in both English and Spanish words. Each page has one word on it in both languages, along with an illustration of the emotion conveyed by that word. It also helps kids recognize the emotions of others, which can help build empathy. To check it out, click here.
Listening to My Body
A wonderful tool for parents and teachers, this interactive book guides children through the practice of naming their feelings and the physical sensations that accompany them. To build a strong foundation for self-regulation, Gabi Garcia, a mama and licensed professional counselor, wrote this book to help children understand and manage their emotions. From wiggly and squirmy to rested and still, children will develop a sensations vocabulary, plus kid-friendly activities are woven throughout so you can reinforce the teachings. To purchase, click here.
Written by M.H. Clark, this book is a useful resource for helping little ones build self-awareness and an emotional vocabulary. Whether your toddler is feeling fierce like a tiger or stubborn like a rhino, the rhymes will help them recognize their emotions and the way they can change through a slew of feelings embodied by animals. The moral of the book is that no feelings need to be fixed or corrected; all emotions are normal and bring behavioral tendencies. To explore and purchase, visit here.
Emotions are complex to teach toddlers, so we hope our list of books can help inspire and educate them on navigating and identifying their feelings. Our goal at Doona is to truly impact parents' lives by providing tools that simplify parenthood and make life on the go easy, which is why we created our Doona Car Seat & Stroller and Liki Trike. Happy reading!