5 Children’s Books to Teach Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand and manage your own emotions, as well as understanding the emotions of those around you.

If you have ever cared for an extremely reactive child that seems unable to control their emotions, or reacts inappropriately towards others, you know that emotional intelligence is one of the most important characteristics to have. But, it can also be one of the hardest characteristics to refine.

Helping children develop emotional intelligence is no easy task, but it’s sure to be one of the most rewarding.

Here are 5 of my favorite children’s books that can help children to identify, articulate, and then address their emotional needs. Use these books to teach children what different emotions feel like, then help them name those feelings as they experience them, and express emotions appropriately.

1. Feelings and Dealings: The ABC’s of Emotions By Camille Childs and Bryan Jones

From A to Z: Kids learn about emotions in a fun way with snappy rhymes moving through the alphabet. No emotions are “bad.” It’s important to teach kids that a wide range of emotions exists so that they develop emotional literacy. Emotion identification and emotion recognition are essential first steps toward emotional regulation, which is how we deal with those emotions. Check out Feelings and Dealings: The ABC’s of Emotions and start teaching kids emotional literacy and empathy today.

2. When Sophie Gets Angry – She Gets Really, Really, Angry… By Molly Bang

This book follows along with a child as her anger boils up inside her. A great book for kiddos who struggle to control their frustration, it emphasizes the importance and need for taking some time to yourself to calm down, relax, and return to the situation when you’re ready.

3. Even Superheros Have Bad Days By Shelley Becker

All kids have trouble getting a grip on their emotions, sometimes — even young superheroes! But what do they do when they’re having a bad day? Colorful action-packed illustrations and a dynamite rhyming text reveal the many ways superheroes (and ordinary children, too) can resist the super-temptation to cause a scene when they’re sad, mad, frustrated, lonely, or afraid. From burning off steam on a bike or a hike, to helping others, this energetic picture book has plenty of fun ideas to help kids cope when they’re feeling overwhelmed.

4. The Big Feelings Book for Children: Mindfulness Moments to Manage Anger, Excitement, Anxiety, and Sadness of by Sharon Selby

It’s normal for kids to experience feelings so big that they’re hard to manage! This book is filled with engaging exercises that show kids how to use mindfulness to work through tough emotions and feel happier fast. Kids will learn how to handle anger, excitement, anxiety, and sadness with helpful mindfulness activities. This book offers a mix of peaceful exercises that encourage kids either to move their body or pause and breathe. Discover beginner-friendly activities with colorful pictures and clear instructions that make it easy for kids ages 5 to 7 to practice mindfulness.

5. I’m Just a Kid By Chandele Morris

This is a must-have book for teaching anger management and self-regulation. Ben is a kid who loves to play, especially with his puzzles, which help him learn and grow. But he often experiences many BIG emotions when things don’t go his way. Like many other kids, he has to learn different ways to help him cope with his anger so he can calm himself down.
In I’m Just a Kid, Ben’s big emotions can be overwhelming, but with a little help from Mom, he learns how to engage more mindfully, self-regulate, and develop emotional resilience.

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