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  • Sarah E. Carlson, PhD, LPC-S, RPT, RYT

Enhancing the Language of Feelings Through Literacy

The importance of reading to our children has always been an important topic, but did you know there are a lot of books these days that focus on feelings? In the past 10 years, I have seen a rise in books about various feelings, self-esteem, mindfulness, divorce, trauma, and other factors that we face on a day-to-day basis. Below you will find some of my favorite books that I have in my library to help with the discussion of things that may be difficult.

Most of these books are for young children (3rd grade and below), because the more we can build the emotional language of our children at a young age, the easier it will be for them to access that language when then need it. For example, if we talk about feeling mad and implement that language, children are more likely to say "I am mad" instead of using their bodies to show it.

Parents and caregivers, please look over these books and consider adding them to your library as well.

Books focused on feelings:

Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes

Sheila Rae the Brave by Kevin Henkes

Today I Feel Silly & Other Moods That Make My Day by Jaime Lee Curtis and Laura Cornell

Leo the Late Bloomer by Robert Kraus and Jose Aruego

Mad Isn't Bad (A Child's Book About Anger) by Mundy Michaelene and R. W. Alley

You've Got Dragons by Kathryn Cave and Nick Maland

Words are Not For Hurting by Elizabeth Verdick and Marieka Heinlen

(in a board book and bigger text)

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst and Ray Cruz

The Way I Feel by Janan Cain

I'm Gonna Like Me! Letting Off A Little Self-Esteem by Jaime Lee Curtis and Laura Cornell

Books focused on separation:

The Invisible String by Patricia Karst and Geoff Stevenson

The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn

(specific to going to school)

Books focused on nightmares

The Dream Jar by Lindan Lee Johnson and Serena Curmi

Jessica and the Wolf by Ted Lobby

(be advised it could be a little scary)

Books focused on divorce:

Dinosaurs Divorce: A Guide for Changing Families by Marc Brown and Laurene Kransy Brown

Standing on My Own Two Feet: A Child's Affirmation for Love in the Midst of Divorse by Tamara Schmitz

When Mom and Dad Separate: Children Can Learn to Cope with Grief from Divorce by Marge Heegaard

Books focued on adoption:

Wherever You Are, My Love Will Find You by Nancy Tillman

God Found Us You by Lisa Tawn Bergen

I Wished for You: An Adoption Story by Marianne Richmond

Tell Me Again about the Night I Was Born by Jaime Lee Curtis and Laura Cornell

Books focused on sharing:

Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister

It's Not Fair by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld

Lllama, Llama Time to Share by Anna Dewdney

Should I Share My Icecream? (An Elephant and Piggie Book) by Mo Willems

Books focused on death:

Samantha Jane's Missing Smile by Julie Kapnow and Donna Pincus

When Someone Very Special Dies: Children Can Learn to Cope with Grief by Marge Heegaard

The Fall of Freddy the Leaf by Leo Buscaglia

Waterbugs and Dragonflies: Explaining Death to Young Children by Doris Stickney

Books focused on new siblings:

Julius, Baby of the World by Kevin Henkes

A Pocket Full of Kisses by Audrey Penn

New Baby by Rachel Fuller

The New Baby by Mercer Meyer

Books focused on mindfulness:

How Full is Your Bucket? For Kids by Tom Rath and Mary Reckmeyer

Peaceful Piggy Meditation by Kerry Lee Maclean and Kerry Maclean

A Handful of Quiet: Happiness in Four Pebbles by Thich Nhat Hanh and Wietske Vriezen

Angry Octopus: An Anger Management Story Introducing Active Progressive Muscular Relaxation and Deep Breathing by Lori Lite and Max Stasuyk

Books focused on relationships:

Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney and Anita Jeram

I Love You Through and Through by Bernadette Rossetti Shustak and Caroline Jane Church

I Love You Forever by Robert Munch and Sheila McGraw

I Love You, Stinky Face by Lisa McCourt and Cyd Moore

Books focused on diversity:

Whoever You Are by Mem Fox and Leslie Staub

The Sneetches by Dr. Seuss

Heartprints by P.K. Halliman

And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell

Mommy, Mama, and Me by Leslea Newman and Carol Thompson

Daddy, Dada, and Me by Leslea Newman and Carol Thompson

Not Every Princess by Jeffrey Bone and Lisa Bone

My Princess Boy by Cheryl Kilodavis and Suzanne DeSimmone

Books focused on special needs:

I See Things Differently by Pat Thomas

A Friend Like Simon by Kate Gaynot

All My Stripes: A Story for Children With Autism by Shaina Rudolph and Danielle Royer

Everybody is Different: A Book for Young People Who Have Brothers or Sisters with Autism by Fiona Bleach

My Brother Charlie by Holly Robinson Peete and Ryan Elizabeth Peete

Mrs. Gorski, I Think I Have the Wiggle Fidgets by Barbara Esham

Ellie Bean the Drama Queen: A Children's Book about Sensory Processing Disorder by Jennie Harding

Books focused on safety:

I Said No! by Kimberly King and Zack King

Amazing You! Getting Smart About Your Private Parts by Gail Saltz and Lynne Avril Cravath

The Berenstain Bears Learn About Strangers by Stan Berenstain and Jan Berenstain

A Terrible Thing Happened by Margaret M. Holmes and Sasha J. Mudlaff

This list includes only some of the books out there that promote communication, understanding, and the parent-child relationship. Of course, please read the books before reading to your child, but enjoy the list!

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