We have put together the ultimate list of 40+ books about feelings for preschoolers! This list of incredible preschool books covers all aspects of social-emotional development, from understanding and recognizing emotions to how to cope with those BIG feelings.
After you check these out, don’t miss the rest of our compilation of the best preschool books!
40+ Books about Feelings for Preschoolers
I can remember my first days in the classroom. I began my teaching career as a Kindergarten teacher and I was certain that I knew all the things. You know…how to teach them how to write their name, learn to read simple text, and perform basic addition. But by the end of that first day, it was clear… aside from setting rules and a classroom schedule, I hadn’t considered one element of social-emotional opportunities!
Kids argued amongst each other and called out during storytime. They tossed their pencils and yelled, “I can’t write my name!” They grabbed items from each other’s hands or pushed and shoved in line. Or they were nervous and anxious, and a few never uttered much of anything all day.
I came home and scrapped all my previously planned lessons. I sat down and searched through every picture book I owned for titles that supported social skills and dug through our school library. I knew I needed to start over the next day with a whole NEW plan.
Some social/emotional concepts can be really hard to teach. Children need lots of practice, modeling, and one of the most effective approaches is through the use of storytelling.
Social-Emotional Development in the Preschool Years
“Children’s social and emotional health affects their overall development and learning. Research indicates that children who are mentally healthy tend to be happier, show greater motivation to learn, have a more positive attitude toward school, more eagerly participate in class activities, and demonstrate higher academic performance than less mentally healthy peers (Hyson 2004; Kostelnik et al. 2015).
We have put together a fantastic checklist of social-emotional progress that gives you great insight into all the areas to foster and grow with your preschoolers.
Social-Emotional Milestones in Preschool
Some social-emotional milestones you can expect in preschool are:
Relationships with Others – Children learn how to navigate communication, sharing, and challenging situations while building lasting friendships.
Emotional Regulation – This concept takes plenty of time, adult support, and the permission to experience their emotions and work through them with a variety of coping techniques and strategies.
Independence & Confidence – Have you ever met a little one who had a shortage of confidence? They can’t wait to tell you about all they know and can do! We strive to give kids the chance to be independent and provide as many opportunities for little ones to fill that pride bucket they all carry inside.
Empathy – This is arguably one of the most critical foundational social-emotional steps that preschoolers will continue to grow and develop. When young children can set aside their own ego to ask the question, “how will this make the other person feel,” we have reached a valuable emotional milestone for their future.
Books About Feelings and Emotions for Preschoolers
Books about Emotions
Learning to recognize how we feel, giving those emotions a name, and owning our body language and facial expressions is so important. It helps children understand that we are all on an emotional rollercoaster each day. Using picture books to help navigate the emotional highs and lows gives confidence and independence to even the youngest learners.
The Way I Feel by Janan Cain
Don’t miss one of the classic books about feelings for preschoolers! I love the way the author describes this book, “Feelings are neither good nor bad, they simply are”. It’s a colorful and inviting book full of all the feelings we might feel in a day, a week, or a month. This book goes beyond the basic emotions of happy, sad, mad, and surprised and includes many other important emotions like jealous, proud, thankful, and bored.
The Way I Act by Steve Metzger
This wonderful book dives deep into thirteen different ways to act throughout our days. Whether you are feeling curious or responsible, cooperative or persistent, it’s important to learn how our behaviors can contribute to our overall day and our level of happiness. Perfect for preschoolers who are developing their confidence and learning the value of their contributions to their family and friends.
The Color Monster by Anna Llenas
The Color Monster’s emotions are all over the place until a new friend helps him identify his feelings. This adorable monster learns how to name his feelings and sort through the emotional “colors” we all experience each and every day.
The Feelings Book by Todd Parr
This super colorful book about feelings for preschoolers with simple text and even simpler illustrations is captivating for young children. With bright and bold kid-like drawings, this book is one that little hands like to pull off the shelf and re-read time and time again. It’s so important for little ones to connect with their emotions and recognize that our feelings are ever-changing!
The Boy with Big, Big Feelings by Britney Winn Lee
When this young boy feels big emotions, he often feels overwhelmed and confused as to why he has to feel all the feelings so deeply. He soon meets a friend who helps him learn that feelings come and go and that embracing your feelings helps you feel less alone and brings you more joy!
The Crayons Book of Feelings by Drew Daywalt
Did you know that crayons have feelings too? Yup, we get to hang out with crayons as they share how colors are often related to how we feel. Most importantly, sometimes we feel a whole rainbow of colors because we can feel more than one feeling at the same time! Simplistic and adorable, this book is a fun read with helpful insight into our emotions.
In My Heart: A Book of Feelings by Jo Witek
Did you know that your heart is like a house, with all the feelings living inside? In this gorgeous book with a corresponding die-cut heart on every page, we journey through our emotions and experience the ups and downs. With nine amazing books about feelings for preschoolers in the series, there are plenty of books to choose from that will make sure your preschooler appreciates and understands those powerful emotions.
Little Big Feelings by Deb Mills
This is a much-needed story in any preschool classroom! This book walks readers through examples of specific situations that can create each emotion, reminds children that those emotions are normal, and teaches children how to process that BIG feeling. From frustration to nervousness to love, this little big book is a great book to refer back to when those powerful feelings strike.
Some Days by Karen Kaufman Orloff
With rhyming text and colorful illustrations, this book is a great example of our everyday life. Some days are full of joy and splashing in the mud, and some days we race after the bus and don’t have the day we planned. Orloff encourages readers to find delight in each day.
Books For Dealing with Anger
Anger is a challenging emotion in preschool because it takes SO much practice and repetition to channel that rage into a calm and collected reaction. These books have absolutely amazing ideas to help kids accept the anger, feel the fire, and then cool off in some amazing ways.
Mouse Was Mad by Linda Urban
Mouse learns there is no right or wrong way to feel your feelings. Are you feeling mad? Do you stomp, hop, scream, or roll around on the ground? Or perhaps you stand perfectly still and take deep breaths to help calm down? If so, then you and Mouse have something in common. Mouse soon teaches all his animal friends to breathe alongside him as he works to release his anger.
When Sophie Gets Angry – Really, Really Angry… by Molly Bang
Kids relate to the emotional drama of this book as Sophie’s BIG emotions loom in the air, heavy and seething. The illustrator draws a large fire-breathing roar as Sophie gets angry that she has to share her toy. Sophie goes on a mental journey to cool herself down and finds, in the end, that painting helps her to reconnect with her happier self. A perfect read for preschoolers who are learning to cope with life skills like sharing, taking turns, and waiting.
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
A classic tale, Where the Wild Things Are pays homage to using our imagination to cope with anger and frustration. Max, the little boy in the story, has a tantrum and is sent off to his room. While in his room, he paints us a wild imaginary picture of traipsing through an island where the Wild Things live. This story has so many teaching opportunities for young children and is a great way to model that we have the ability to calm ourselves by using our impressive imagination.
Ravi’s Roar by Tom Percival
Ravi is having a hard time. Most days he doesn’t mind being the smallest one in his family but today… he can’t control his temper any more! This raging little boy turns into a wild tiger and everyone leaves him alone. But Ravi soon finds out that it’s lonely being a tiger because no one wants to play with him when he’s acting so aggressive. This book is a great example of how it really feels to be mad when you are in preschool with a focus on how to manage it.
Books For Developing Kindness
If there is one thing I want for my own children and my students, it’s the ability to be kind. Using the power of books about feelings for preschoolers, we can model examples of real-life kindness. This gives preschoolers a concrete model of what kindness looks and feels like. Enjoy these favorites, and don’t miss the many more we have in our full list of books on kindness for kids.
The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig
An ideal book for using with preschoolers on the importance of treating others with kindness and compassion. We follow Brian through his days at school where he feels invisible. One day a new student joins his class and makes him feel welcome, and they both end up finding a way to shine in their own unique ways. A truly inspiring story for preschoolers and older kids alike!
We’re All Wonders by R.J. Palacio
The novel, and subsequent movie Wonder, inspired a national movement to Choose Kind. The author took the same story and designed a picture book for younger readers that tells the story of a young boy who doesn’t look like everybody else. He struggles with other people being unkind or pointing at him and being rude. He wishes for a day that all the people can see and look with kindness. He knows best of all… that we are ALL wonders.
Have You Filled a Bucket Today? By Carol McCloud
With its simple plot and clever metaphor, McCloud teaches young children the power of positivity – in both behavior and actions. Written to help young students understand how words and actions make others feel, it models that positive words and actions “fill” our bucket while hurtful things “dip” into our bucket and steal our joy. It is so helpful for children who are still learning to use kind words, share, and be respectful. It’s one of the best books for preschoolers!
Be Kind by Pat Zietlow Miller
What does it mean to be kind? In this story, we follow along with a young girl who is trying to figure out how to be kind to another classmate who spills grape juice all over her dress. Being kind takes practice and focus and no matter big or small, any act of kindness brings joy and contentment to all around.
Pass It On by Sophy Henn
What a world it would be if we simply passed it on! If we pass on our smiles and giggles, delight, and wonder to the next person we see, we would find that sharing these moments of happiness gives us so much delight in return. A heartwarming and lively story that is a perfect circle time read and a favorite book to revisit.
Kindness Starts With You by Jacquelyn Stagg
One thing is certain, real-life situations help kids make connections to their own lives. This clever author uses a young classmate to walk us through all the ways she is kind throughout the day. She uses kind words, helps her peers, uses manners, and shows the best way to be a friend! Each page ends with the same phrase, “This is what I would want someone to do for me”! A great read to help children see the value in how they would want to be treated and how that translates into treating others.
Kind Ninja by Mary Nhin
Ninjas are fun for all ages, right? This life-hack series of Ninjas include books that focus on anger, anxiety, laziness, dishonesty, and many more. In this book about kindness, we learn that being kind is a choice and one that the Kind Ninja hasn’t always made. The author uses wit and bold pictures to convey this powerful and important message.
Books For Coping with Nerves or Anxiety
Nerves and anxiety are difficult emotions to regulate, especially in preschool! Preschoolers often worry about small moments and their anxiety can become so overwhelming that they may miss out on important experiences. These books make sure to focus on the power of sharing your worry so that an adult or friend can help you work through that struggle.
Ruby Finds a Worry by Tom Percival
Have you ever had a worry that grew bigger and bigger until it was all you could think about? Ruby finds her first worry and it becomes so large and nerve-wracking that it starts to steal away her happiness. Until she meets another boy who has anxiety and worries too. She starts to realize that everyone has worries too…and the only way to get rid of those worries for good is to talk about them.
Wilma Jean the Worry Machine by Julia Cook
Everyone worries and feels anxiety from time to time, but what happens when you can’t think of anything else? Wilma Jean feels ALL the worries and her mind just can’t stop. What should she do? Her mom and teacher come up with a plan and Wilma Jean’s “worry flu” starts to subside. Using the tools from this book, you can help your preschooler feel in control of their anxiety and remember that talking about their worries is the only way to cope.
Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes
Wemberley is a worry-wart. All-day long she worries. She worries about spilling her juice, snakes, you name it… she worries about it. So of course, she worried about her first day of school! Will Wemberley ever let go of her anxiety and enjoy school? When she meets another classmate with worries like hers, she realizes maybe it’s time to let some of it go!
The Worry Box by Suzanne Chiew
What do you do with the worries you feel? Murray Bear learns that it feels better to write down his worries and put them in the worry box. While the worry doesn’t disappear, it helps Murray Bear know that his worry is tucked away safely for another time while he focuses on the fun of right now. Coping with our worries is all about easing some of that anxiety and learning how to manage our nerves.
The Magical Yet by Andrea DiTerlizzi
Journey on this rhythmic and inspiring picture book of the magic of Yet. Put simply, Yet refers to the things that children can’t do ‘yet’. A truly heart-warming tale that gives children peace of mind that although some tasks might seem too difficult right now, Yet is waiting around the corner! Developing a growth mindset at an early age is so important so that young children see that they really can do anything their heart desires, but it might just take a bit of resilience and patience.
Books When You’re Feeling Grumpy or Sad
Feeling grumpy? It happens. Some days are like that. The problem with grumpy days is that they don’t typically just stay with the grumpy person…they pass onto others and have a way of making others feel down and sad too. Sometimes we need grumpy days or days spent on our own and that’s ok too.
My Friend is Sad by Mo Willems
A super silly take on helping our friends when they are feeling down. Piggie is on a mission to make his friend Elephant feel better. Kids LOVE Mo Willems stories because they are relatable, silly, fast-paced, and always make us smile!
The Grumpy Monkey by Suzanne Lang
The perfect book to help little ones recognize their feelings and accept that all emotions are welcome, even grumpy ones. As all of Jim’s friends try to help him feel less “grumpy”, Jim realizes that sometimes you just need a day to be grumpy and that’s ok too. This book hones in on an important lesson – we can’t always have great days, but tomorrow always starts a brand new day.
Grumpy Pants by Claire Messer
Poor Penguin is in one of those moods…you know the kind where you are grumpy from your head to your toes? He learns that doing one of his favorite things (playing in the bath) helps him feel better! Maybe washing away those grumpy feelings is just the trick for a brand new happy day. Such a sweet and simple story that resonates with preschoolers who can’t shake the blues!
Grumpy Bird by Jeremy Tankard
Bird woke up on the wrong side of the nest. In fact, he woke up SO grumpy that he was too grumpy to eat, play, or even fly! Grumpily, he decided to walk. As he began walking, animals from all around decided they would walk with him too. After five animals join Bird on his walk, he stops, stands on one leg, and jumps. All the animals mimicked him! This made Bird happy and suddenly the grumpy mood was forgotten. Sometimes a little distraction is the best cure for the grumpy time blues.
Maya Was Grumpy by Courtney Pippin-Mathur
Laughter really is the best medicine. Maya wakes up grump, grump, grumpy. She grumps and growls at everyone in the house. Not to worry, her Gramma knows just the trick… a little humor goes a long way when we are feeling cross. Maya’s grouchiness fades away and is replaced by fun times with her Gramma and outside play.
Books that Promote Self-Control
These books are some of the books that we read on repeat every week throughout the school year. They remind children that self-control is a personal decision. These incredible stories give gentle reminders and offer tips and tricks to being in charge of your body, all the time.
What If Everybody Did That? By Ellen Javernick
This is the perfect book for helping young children understand the power of their choices throughout a typical day. Each page arrives with the tagline, “What if everybody did that?” and is followed up by fantastic illustrations and dialogue that help children imagine what it would actually be like if everyone broke the rules. This book highlights the need for rules in order for us to enjoy school, our outside world, and help keep things from becoming too chaotic. It answers the ‘why’ for lots of kids too!
My Mouth is a Volcano by Julia Cook
Louis can’t seem to control himself and interrupts because he has so much to say! He erupts like a volcano and all his thoughts and words come pouring out and he just can’t control himself. Told from the child’s perspective, we get an insight into how hard it is to wait for our turn but also how much Louis dislikes being interrupted himself. Louis soon learns a few different strategies for how to be respectful and wait for his turn to speak.
Decibella And Her 6 Inch Voice by Julia Cook
Isabella loves to share! She just can’t control her loud voice and it’s starting to bother her classmates and teacher. Her teacher introduces the strategy of voice volume and what voice level to use during different daily situations. This gives Isabella more confidence and she begins to communicate more appropriately. Ideal for almost every preschooler who at some point or another, needs to learn volume control for various settings.
I Have Ants in My Pants by Julia Cook
Sitting still is a HARD task for most preschoolers. While completely normal and appropriate for their age, there are still times in the day when sitting still and being calm are necessary. In this book, we follow Louis through his day and sympathize with how hard it is to not wiggle! Little kids are made to move, so with a few smart strategies, every kid can become the boss of the ants in their pants!
Books That Inspire Friendship
It’s so important for preschoolers to make lasting friendships. But at this stage in development, it can be downright hard for little kids to manage conflict and communicate with each other. Friendship stories are so valuable as a teaching tool and a great way to build a classroom community. Don’t miss our full list of friendship books for kids.
Strictly No Elephants by Lisa Mantchev
On Pet Club day, all the local children are invited to bring their pets to show and tell. But when the young boy shows up, they won’t allow his pet elephant to join in! The Pet Club doesn’t understand that friends come in all shapes and sizes, so he sets out to make a new club… a club where EVERYONE is welcome! The author frequently uses the tagline, “Because that’s what friends do,” which really opens the door to thoughtful conversation about what friends really do for each other and how kindness starts with one action.
Enemy Pie by Derek Munson
This clever title showcases the importance of getting to know others before we decide whether or not to like them. In this story, a young boy is feeling disgruntled by a certain new neighborhood boy and shares with his father that he has an enemy. His wise old dad shares his recipe for Enemy Pie (which is really quite yummy) in an effort to sneakily trick him into learning more about this new neighbor and perhaps, they don’t have to be enemies after all. This friendship book is so cleverly written and so engaging that it’s a great fit for just about any age!
The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister
This timeless story shares the message of sharing, giving, and being thoughtful of others and their feelings. A great read for young students about how sharing what you have fills your heart with happiness and joy and brings you great friendships.
Books That Calm and Promote Mindfulness
Deep breath in, deep breath out. Imagine if we raised an entire generation of kids who knew how to regulate their bodies when they needed it? That starts with stories, practice, and making mindfulness fun and appealing.
Little Monkey Calms Down by Michael Dahl
Poor Little Monkey…he’s having a very bad day. After a big tantrum, he heads to his room to try and calm down. He makes great calming decisions like singing to himself, taking deep breaths, and having a comforting cry. With very simple text and pictures, it’s the perfect and quick book to read during a moment of anger or frustration to help teach coping techniques, and learn that it’s okay to start over.
B is for Breathe by Melissa Boyd
These calming down techniques from A to Z are sure to be a lifesaver for preschoolers! With only one sentence to a page and full-page detailed illustrations, this book is ideal for grabbing when your preschooler needs a gentle reminder to breathe, count, or even grab a healthy snack to reset and refocus our energy.
A gorgeous collection of calming techniques, games, and exercises for preschoolers! Young children will learn different techniques for focus, relaxation, imagination, and even channeling their energy. A great parent and teacher resource to use with kids of all ages!
Belly Breathe by Leslie Kimmelman
Belly breathe, jelly breathe, no matter what you call it, taking a deep breath is always a good idea when you’re feeling wild. Preschoolers love the animal characters all taking deep breaths and will want to join along! Simple, concise, and adorable, this book is a must-have for making good choices and promoting mindfulness.
A perfect addition to these mindfulness books are our FREE animal yoga cards! They’re great for introducing yoga in the home or classroom in a fun, approachable way. Fill out your information below and we’ll send them right over!
Books About Being Unique and Special
We are all made so wonderfully different, and celebrating that with our preschoolers sets our children on a path to be remarkable humans. These books celebrate the wonder of the human race and the beauty of differences. For more books just like this, check out our list of books that celebrate differences!
It’s Okay to Be Different by Todd Parr
Todd Parr does an incredible job appealing to young readers with bold colors and beginner text. The simplistic drawings engage students while still stressing the importance of having differences. Some differences include having a missing tooth, having a different nose, needing extra help, or enjoying macaroni and cheese in the bathtub. This book puts the silly in being different while sending a crystal-clear message of acceptance.
Incredible You: 10 Ways to Let Your Greatness Shine Through by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer
With 10 easy-to-understand life concepts, this informative book appeals to kids of all ages and models the importance of believing in yourself, building confidence, sharing the good with others, and many more. A reader’s guide at the end helps the adult reinforce these valuable skills and celebrate the incredible child in your life.
The World Needs Who You Were Made to Be by Joanna Gaines
The breathtaking illustrations are the first thing you’ll see when you open this book, followed by the lovely message of diversity and acceptance. The children in this tale embark on creating their very own hot air balloons. Some work alone and others together, some are chatty and some are quiet. One thing is true, we can all be one thing – kind and compassionate for one another. This book celebrates each uniqueness inside all of us and reminds us to use that superpower as a strength.
Marvelous Me by Lisa Marie Bullard
Build self-esteem and learn about our marvelous characteristics with this adorable story. Alex is learning about how his laugh and the way he thinks are different from his friends. But maybe different isn’t a bad thing…maybe it’s marvelous!