Education, Wellbeing

Books to help your child understand big emotions

07 June, 2023

Books are a great way to gently introduce children to the idea of feelings. Stories and conversations can help children identify their own emotions, learn to manage them and know that it’s perfectly okay to talk about how they’re feeling.


What Feelings Do When No One’s Looking

This is a beautiful book, literally full of feelings: curiosity, joy, envy, imagination… Each feeling is drawn as a cute furry grey critter – and they really look like their names! The feelings are paired with one thoughtful sentence that describes what they’re doing, which is a lovely prompt for kids to think and talk about feelings. The book is beautifully presented with a soft, pared-back palette. You could choose to share just one feeling to explore each time you read it or pick the one that matches your feelings today.

What Feelings Do When No One’s Looking is written by Tina Oziewicz, illustrated by Aleksandra Zajac, and published by Pushkin Press.

What feelings do when noone's looking

Ruby’s Worry

This story is lovely, using pictures to show how talking about a worry can help it to shrink, or even disappear. The illustrator uses nature’s green, sunshine yellow and sky blue when Ruby is happy, with increasingly more black and grey as her worry grows. Children will absolutely recognise Ruby’s worry and may enjoy drawing their own too.

Ruby’s Worry is written and illustrated by Tom Percival, and published by Bloomsbury Publishing.

Ruby's Worry

I Am Angry

This book perfectly captures the feeling of anger with its short staccato phrases and humorous illustrations. It’s a great way to show young readers just how over-the-top anger can make us behave so we can all be a little more self-aware. The ending is just right too, with this cranky little kitty feeling pretty tired after letting out all his anger, so he heads off to bed. Sage advice for us all! This book is fun to read aloud with rhyming and a little bit of optional shouting and roaring, if you like. There’s funny face endpapers and a restricted colour palette of mostly blue, red and yellow that works nicely.

I Am Angry is written by Michael Rosen, illustrated by Robert Starling, and published by Walker Books.

I am angry

Little One

This book beautifully portrays the special relationship little kids have with their favourite toy. Pippi loves her Little One. And then she loses her. And her dad – oh my heart! He drops everything to help search for her special doll. The story explores love and the sadness of loss and shows how the support of friends and family can help.

It’s beautifully told and the illustrations are gorgeous, using colour and movement to convey moods.

Little One is written by Janie Godwin, illustrated by Gabriel Evans, and published by Affirm Press.

Little One

Oliver’s Grumbles

You know those days when you wake up cranky, spill your cereal and nothing seems to go right? Oliver is having one of those days. He’s got the grumbles and they just won’t leave him alone. He tries bribing them and making them run around outside. And then he loses it! This is a beautifully written story that subtly reminds readers to acknowledge our feelings. The pictures are both soft and vibrant with a sense of fun and Oliver’s expressions are gold!

Oliver’s Grumbles is written by Yvonne Mes, illustrated by Giuseppe Poli, and published by Dragon Tales Publishing.

Oliver's Grumbles

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