These books teach your toddler about emotions

Marie Stambe
Marie Stambe
Marie is an emerging writer who loves all things content creation. From her Italian heritage to her deep-rooted passions (fashion, beauty, lifestyle, and fun), Marie harnesses the power of personal experiences to write stories that are #relatable and easy to digest. Because who has the time?
Created on Jun 03, 2024 · 6 mins read

Understanding emotions can be hard, even for those with fully developed brains. The hard reality is - we can never completely comprehend what is going on up there. But we definitely can try.

With the pile-up of resources and materials available to assist, helping your kids express their messy, big, valid feelings doesn’t have to be a dreadful challenge. Instead, Emily Hanlon (otherwise known as, the playful psychologist), is offering up some of the top toddler-friendly books on emotions to guide your kids through those rocky waters. 

Having these books on the shelf means your kids won’t only be reaching for them every night, but they’ll subconsciously embark on a path where emotions aren’t the scary monsters under the bed. Rather, they will learn how to express and communicate their emotions in a healthy way, empowered to navigate life’s ups and downs with confidence and grace.

So, if you’re finding that your little one’s in constant states of worry, anger, sadness, fear, or even joy, here are the books we’re recommending you add to your shelf. And maybe, just maybe, they’ll help you discover a few things about your own feelings along the way!

All About Feelings by Felicity Brooks

“All About Feelings” is a comprehensive exploration of emotions designed for young children. Through vibrant illustrations and simple text, it covers a wide range of feelings, helping children identify and understand their own emotions and those of others. 

This book serves as a foundational resource for teaching children about emotions. It promotes emotional literacy and self-awareness, providing children with the vocabulary and understanding to express and navigate their feelings effectively.

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My Mixed Emotions - Learn to Love Your Feelings by DK

This book provides a safe space for children to explore and normalise their emotions, promoting self-awareness and emotional literacy. It empowers them to navigate complex feelings with confidence and compassion, as an interactive journey-style book.

Through prompts, activities, and illustrations, it guides readers to understand and express their feelings in a healthy and constructive manner.

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Find Out About Feelings - A lift-the-flap book of emotions by Pat-A-Cake and Louise Forshaw

With colourful illustrations, simple explanations, and an interactive lift-the-flap component, this book introduces children to different emotions and how they manifest in daily life. 

By allowing them to pick emotions from the liftable flaps on the pages, it lets them identify the possible emotions each character is feeling. This book serves as a foundational resource for young children to begin their emotional journey.

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ABC Emotions - Helping Kids Understand Emotions by Katherine White

If only emotions could really be as simple as ABC. Until then, these letters just serve as prompts to introduce different emotions, accompanied by simple explanations and ideas for discussion. 

“ABC Emotions” offers a fun and accessible way for children to learn about a wide range of emotions. It encourages language development and emotional vocabulary, empowering children to express themselves more effectively.

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Feelings - Understanding different feelings and emotions by Jayneen Sanders

“Feelings” is a collection of short conversations between characters that explore various emotions and situations. Through dialogue and illustrations, it addresses common feelings and experiences in a relatable and easy-to-understand manner.

This book fosters open communication about emotions between children and caregivers. It provides conversation starters and prompts for meaningful discussions, strengthening your relationships and emotional bond with your child, as well as equipping them with skills that are crucial to their social and emotional development.

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A Little Spot of Feelings by Diane Alber

Emotions are big – both in concept and the actual feelings themselves. “A Little Spot of Feelings” simplifies complex emotions into digestible concepts for young children. 

Colourful illustrations of “spots” represent different emotions, helping children visualise and understand their feelings. Each page explores a specific emotion and offers strategies for coping and expressing oneself. It promotes self-regulation and emotional awareness through visual storytelling and welcoming characters.

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Talking About Feelings by Jayneen Sanders

This conversational book encourages children to discuss and share their emotions with others. It provides prompts and scenarios to facilitate open communication about feelings in a supportive and non-judgmental way.

“Talking About Feelings” supports emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills by promoting dialogue about feelings. It empowers children to express themselves authentically and develop healthy relationships built on understanding and empathy.

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Brain is NOT Always Right by Scott Stuart

“Brain Is NOT Always Right” explores the concept of emotional intelligence and the importance of understanding and managing one’s emotions. Through a relatable story and engaging illustrations, it teaches children strategies for controlling impulsive reactions and making thoughtful decisions.

Importantly, this book equips children with practical tools for navigating challenging emotions and situations. It promotes self-awareness and self-regulation, empowering children to make positive choices and build resilience.

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The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld

This adorable book has a gold nugget on every page. “The Rabbit Listened” tells the story of a young child who experiences a range of emotions after a difficult event. Through simple yet powerful illustrations, it demonstrates the importance of empathy, listening, and validation in supporting someone through their feelings.

By teaching children the value of empathy and emotional support in relationships, it expands their knowledge of emotions and feelings and enhances their social skills. It encourages active listening and compassion, empowering children to not only be conscious of their own feelings, but also those of others. 

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When Sophie’s Feelings Are Really, Really Hurt by Molly Bang

“When Sophie’s Feelings Are Really, Really Hurt” follows the story of Sophie, who experiences hurt feelings after the other children laugh at her and tell her she’s wrong. Through expressive illustrations and thoughtful storytelling, as well as the presentation of a universally relatable situation, it explores the impact of words on emotions and the importance of empathy and reconciliation.

This book helps children understand the effects of their words and actions on others’ feelings. It encourages empathy, kindness, and conflict resolution skills, working towards producing a more compassionate and inclusive generation.

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The Great Big Book of Feelings by Mary Hoffman

Sometimes, you just need an all-inclusive, comprehensive guide to emotions, covering a wide range of feelings and situations. Through colourful illustrations and engaging text, “The Great Big Book of Feelings” helps children explore and understand their own emotions and those of others.

This book serves as a go-to resource for children to navigate the complex world of emotions. 

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How Big Are Your Worries Little Bear? By Jayneen Sanders

“How Big Are Your Worries, Little Bear?” addresses the topic of anxiety and worries in a gentle and reassuring manner. Through the story of Little Bear and his worries, it teaches children coping strategies and mindfulness techniques to manage anxious thoughts.

Providing practical tools for children to cope with anxiety and uncertainty, this book inspires resilience and self-confidence, helping children develop a positive mindset and navigate challenges with courage, equipping them for the big, sometimes scary world. 

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Wrapping it up

Understanding and navigating emotions is a fundamental aspect of childhood development, and the journey is made easier with the right resources and support. In a time like ours, it’s all readily available at your convenience. 

By incorporating these recommended books (from an expert child psychologist, may we add) into your child’s reading routine, you’re not only providing them with valuable tools for emotional intelligence as they begin experiencing all the feelings of life but also developing your emotional relationship and connect with your little humans. 

Happy reading, and here’s to creating a future generation equipped with emotional resilience and grace. 

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