10 Books That Teach Kids About Their Feelings

We have all heard parents talk about the “terrible twos” or having a “threenager.” Some of the biggest contributors to this phase of toddler life are the emotions that the children feel and the fact that children don’t understand how to express them appropriately. Emotions can be confusing because toddlers don’t have the words they need to express them and kids can easily become overwhelmed when the feelings are bottled up.

If you’re like me- even though the school year has started you still have a toddler at home. Having a toddler at home means several meltdowns a day – some of which can leave you wondering what in the world you did to deserve this kind of stress in your life. Thankfully- there are a few things you can do to help your toddler navigate through their emotions with a few less tantrums. Toddlers love books and these 10 books all hold a lesson in disguise about understanding our emotions and feelings.

Not only will these books help your child label the things they are feeling, but they will also learn how to communicate their feelings effectively.

  •  In My Heart: A Book of Feelings by Jo Witek (Author), Christine Roussey (Illustrator) (2-4 years) — This book explores a full range of emotions, describing how they feel physically, inside. With language that is lyrical but also direct, toddlers will be able to practice articulating and identifying their own emotions.
  • My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss (2 – 5 years) — This is a color concept book to use with babies or a feelings and moods book to discuss with toddlers.
  • Lots of Feelings by Shelley Rotner (3 and up) — Children can learn to identify the feeling of others by reading this awesome little book. Simple text and photographs introduce basic emotions happy, grumpy, thoughtful, etc.
  • Today I Feel Silly: And Other Moods That Make My Day by Jamie Lee Curtis (Author) & Laura Cornell (Illustrator) (3 and up)  This book follows a spunky little red-head through 13 feelings beginning with “Today I feel silly…”
  • Feelings From A to Z by Todd Snow (Author), Peggy Snow (Author), Pamela Espeland (Editor), Carrie Hartman (Illustrator) (3 – 5 years) — This book helps children build and use a vocabulary for communicating their emotions.
  • Glad Monster, Sad Monster by Ed Emberley & Anne Miranda (3 – 6 years) — This is a fun interactive book that kids can use to understand the way they feel. Your child can try on funny masks as they walk through the wide range of moods all little monsters (kids) experience.
  • A Little Book About Feelings by Abbie Schiller and Sam Kurtzman-Counter (Ages 3 – 6 years) — Reading this story helps children learn the universal and transitory nature of all emotions. It looks at feelings of all sizes and shapes and helps young children both understand their feelings and know that it is okay to express them.
  • The Color Monster by Anna Llenas  (ages 3 – 7 years) — Bright illustrations and amazing 3-D pop-ups illustrate common emotions such as happiness, sadness, anger, fear, and calm. It is both a delightful book to read, and a great tool for helping young kids sort out their emotions.
  • The Way I Feel by Janan Cain (3 – 8 yrs) — There is a note to parents in the back  showing how this book can be used to help children understand what circumstances make them feel happy, sad, jealous, and so on.
  • The Feelings Book by by Todd Parr (3 and up) — There are a few emotions included in this book (scared, brave, cranky, lonely, and silly), but most of the “feelings” are more about wanting to do certain activities.
  • Hilly Discovers Her Feelings by Meytal Raz-Nave (3 and up) — Throughout this book Hilly’s quest is motivated by one simple question, “How do I feel?” in response to different events that she encounters in daily life. While reading this book, children can learn about their own emotions through Hilly’s experiences. 
  • The Very Frustrated Monster by Andi Green (3 and up) — The WorryWooMonsters stories teach simple lessons about many different feelings and emotions and how to handle them. This is one of several in the series.
  • Understanding Myself: A Kid’s Guide to Intense Emotions and Strong Feelings by Mary C., Ph.D. Lamia (9 and up) — This book offers a basic education for families in understanding, managing and discussing strong emotions and feelings. The straight forward information also makes it useful for older teens and parents struggling to understand their children’s feelings.


Descriptions taken from Rhythms of Play.

About Brittany:

Brittany was born and raised in Alabama. She is a Wife and Mama of two sweet babies- her son John is two years old and her daughter Annie is ten months old. She has her degree in Home and Family Studies with an emphasis on Child Development from BYU.

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