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20 Best New and Noteworthy Children’s Books About Feelings

Looking for the best children’s books about feelings? These picture books on feelings for elementary students are engaging for primary and upper elementary kids. Books with lesson plans and activities linked. Picture books about various topics such as sadness, anxiety, overwhelm, anger and more for your kindergarten, first, second, third, fourth or fifth grade students. Your students will delight in these classic and brand new books!

If you’re a member of the Picture Book Brain Trust Community, you already have access to EVERY lesson plan and activity for these books! Just click on the Lesson Plans button in the menu!

After the Fall by Dan Santat

Everyone knows that when Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. But what happened after? Now terrified of heights, Humpty can longer do many of the things he loves most. Will he summon the courage to face his fear?

After the Fall (How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again) is a masterful picture book that will remind readers of all ages that Life begins when you get back up.

Get the lesson plan and activities for After the Fall HERE

You can try a free lesson and activity for After the Fall with your students by signing up below:

Sweep by Louise Greig

Anger and frustration, two emotions students need help dealing with. Ed’s bad mood begins as something really small, hardly a thing at all. But before long it grows, gathers pace, and spreads through the whole town. Can Ed sweep his troubles away?

Get the lesson plan and activities for Sweep HERE

Looking for the best children's books about feelings? These picture books on feelings for elementary students are engaging for primary and upper elementary kids. Books with lesson plans and activities linked. Picture books about various topics such as sadness, anxiety, overwhelm, anger and more for your kindergarten, first, second, third, fourth or fifth grade students. Your students will delight in these classic and brand new books!
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I’m Sad by Michael Ian Black

Everyone feels sad sometimes—even flamingos. Sigh. When Flamingo announces he’s feeling down, the little girl and Potato try to cheer him up, but nothing seems to work. Not even dirt! (Which usually works for Potato.)

Flamingo learns that he will not always feel this way. And his friends learn that sometimes being a friend means you don’t have to cheer someone up. You just have to stick by your pal no matter how they feel. Even if they’re a potato.

Get the lesson plan and activities for I’m Sad HERE

Jack’s Worry by Mark Zuppardi

A touching and reassuring story about the jitters associated with first experiences — and the satisfaction that comes with conquering your fears.

Jack loves playing the trumpet, and for weeks he’s been looking forward to taking part in his first concert. But on the morning of the big day, Jack finds he has a Worry. And his Worry starts to grow. Even when Jack’s mother calls him for a special breakfast, even when he hides under the bed or runs around the yard, his Worry follows him. Suddenly, when it’s almost time to leave for the concert, Jack finds it’s all too much. For anyone who’s ever been afraid of failing at something new, this book offers just what’s needed to shrink a Worry down to size.

Get the lesson plan and activities for Jack’s Worry HERE

The Heart and the Bottle by Oliver Jeffers

There is a wonder and magic to childhood. We don’t realize it at the time, of course . . . yet the adults in our lives do. They encourage us to see things in the stars, to find joy in colors and laughter as we play.
But what happens when that special someone who encourages such wonder and magic is no longer around? We can hide, we can place our heart in a bottle and grow up . . . or we can find another special someone who understands the magic. And we can encourage them to see things in the stars, find joy among colors and laughter as they play.

Get the lesson plan and activities for The Heart and the Bottle HERE

Proud As a Peacock, Brave As a Lion by Jane Barclay

Much has been written about war and remembrance, but very little of it has been for young children. As questions come from a young grandchild, his grandpa talks about how, as a very young man, he was as proud as a peacock in uniform, busy as a beaver on his Atlantic crossing, and brave as a lion charging into battle. Soon, the old man’s room is filled with an imaginary menagerie as the child thinks about different aspects of wartime. But as he pins medals on his grandpa’s blazer and receives his own red poppy in return, the mood becomes more somber.

Outside, the crowd gathered for the veterans’ parade grows as quiet as a mouse, while men and women — old and young — march past in the rain. A trumpet plays and Grandpa lays a wreath in memory of his lost friend. Just then, the child imagines an elephant in the mist. “Elephants never forget,” he whispers to his grandpa. “Then let’s be elephants,” says the old man, as he wipes water from his eyes and takes his grandson’s hand.

Proud as a Peacock, Brave as a Lion has relevance to a growing number of families, as new waves of soldiers leave home.

Get the lesson plan and activities for Proud As a Peacock, Brave As a Lion HERE

The Dark by Lemony Snicket

Laszlo is afraid of the dark. The dark lives in the same house as Laszlo. Mostly, though, the dark stays in the basement and doesn’t come into Lazslo’s room. But one night, it does. This is the story of how Laszlo stops being afraid of the dark. An amazing story about fear and anxiety and dealing with them.

Get the lesson plan and activities for The Dark HERE

I’m Trying to Love Spiders by Bethany Barton

I’m Trying to Love Spiders will help you see these amazing arachnids in a whole new light, from their awesomely excessive eight eyes, to the seventy-five pounds of bugs a spider can eat in a single year! And you’re sure to feel better knowing you have a better chance of being struck by lightning than being fatally bit by a spider. Comforting, right? No? Either way, there’s heaps more information in here to help you forget your fears . . . or at least laugh a lot!

Get the lesson plan and activities for I’m Trying to Love Spiders HERE

Owen by Kevin Henkes

“Fuzzy goes where I go.”

Owen’s fuzzy yellow blanket is his favorite possession. Everywhere Owen goes, his blanket goes with him. Upstairs, downstairs, in-between. Inside, outside, upside down. Everywhere! Owen’s parents are in despair—soon Owen will begin school, and he can’t take Fuzzy with him then. Whatever can be done? Everyone who’s ever had a favorite blanket will know exactly how Owen feels!

Get the lesson plan and activities for Owen HERE

Saturday by Oge Mora

Today would be special. Today would be splendid. It was Saturday! But sometimes, the best plans don’t work out exactly the way you expect….

In this heartfelt and universal story, a mother and daughter look forward to their special Saturday routine together every single week. But this Saturday, one thing after another goes wrong–ruining storytime, salon time, picnic time, and the puppet show they’d been looking forward to going to all week. Mom is nearing a meltdown…until her loving daughter helps her practice a calming strategy and reminds her that being together is the most important thing of all.

Get the lesson plan and activities for Saturday HERE

Enemy Pie by Derek Munson

Teach kindness, courtesy, respect, and friendship: It was the perfect summer. That is, until Jeremy Ross moved into the house down the street and became neighborhood enemy number one. Luckily Dad had a surefire way to get rid of enemies: Enemy Pie. But part of the secret recipe is spending an entire day playing with the enemy! In this funny yet endearing story one little boy learns an effective recipe for turning a best enemy into a best friend.

Get the lesson plan and activities for Enemy Pie HERE

A Different Pond by Bao Phi

A Different Pond is an unforgettable story about a simple event – a long-ago fishing trip. Graphic novelist Thi Bui and acclaimed poet Bao Phi deliver a powerful, honest glimpse into a relationship between father and son – and between cultures, old and new. As a young boy, Bao and his father awoke early, hours before his father’s long workday began, to fish on the shores of a small pond in Minneapolis. Unlike many other anglers, Bao and his father fished for food, not recreation. A successful catch meant a fed family. Between hope-filled casts, Bao’s father told him about a different pond in their homeland of Vietnam. A great book for talking about missing something, nostalgia, and empathy.

Get the lesson plan and activities for A Different Pond HERE

America’s White Table by Margot Theis Raven

The White Table is set in many mess halls as a symbol for and remembrance to service members fallen, missing, or held captive in the line of duty. Solitary and solemn, it is the table where no one will ever sit. As a special gift to her Uncle John, Katie and her sisters are asked to help set the white table for dinner. As their mother explains the significance of each item placed on the table Katie comes to understand and appreciate the depth of sacrifice that her uncle, and each member of the Armed Forces and their families, may be called to give. A great book about dealing with grief and for Memorial Day or Veterans Day.

Get the lesson plan and activities for America’s White Table HERE

School’s First Day of School by Adam Rex

It’s the first day of school at Frederick Douglass Elementary and everyone’s just a little bit nervous, especially the school itself. What will the children do once they come? Will they like the school? Will they be nice to him?

The school has a rough start, but as the day goes on, he soon recovers when he sees that he’s not the only one going through first-day jitters.

Get the lesson plan and activities for School’s First Day of School HERE

So Few Of Me by Peter Reynolds

Leo’s list of things to do keeps growing, until one day he wishes, “If only there were two of me.” Just as the words are out of his mouth, poof! Another Leo appears! Two Leos become three, three become four, and four become more . . . but Leo can’t help but notice that he has even more to do than before. As he struggles to deal with his overcomplicated life, Leo realizes that there may be a simpler solution to his overscheduling woes.

Get the lesson plan and activities for So Few of Me HERE

The Antlered Ship by Dashka Slater

An inquisitive fox sets off on a seafaring voyage with a crew of deer and pigeons in this enchanting tale of curiosity, friendship and adventure.

Marco the fox has a lot of questions, like: how deep does the sun go when it sinks into the sea? And why do birds have such lizardy feet? But none of the other foxes share his curiosity. So when a magnificent ship adorned with antlers and with a deer for a captain arrives at the dock looking for a crew, Marco volunteers, hoping to find foxes who are as inquisitive as he is that can answer his questions. The crew finds adventure and intrigue on their journey. And, at last, Marco finds the answer to his most important question of all: What’s the best way to find a friend you can talk to?

Small in the City by Sydney Smith

It can be a little scary to be small in a big city, but this child has some good advice for a very special friend in need. It can be a little scary to be small in a big city, but it helps to know you’re not alone. When you’re small in the city, people don’t see you, and loud sounds can scare you, and knowing what to do is sometimes hard. But this little kid knows what it’s like, and knows the neighborhood. And a little friendly advice can go a long way.

Alleys can be good shortcuts, but some are too dark. Or, there are lots of good hiding places in the city, like under a mulberry bush or up a walnut tree. And, if the city gets to be too much, you’re always welcome home, where it’s safe and quiet.

Get the lesson plan and activities for Small in the City HERE

I Am Peace by Susan Verde

Mindfulness means being fully in the present moment. Children can learn how to manage their emotions, make good choices, and balance their busy lives by learning to be mindful, express emotions through speech, find empathy through imagination, and wonder at the beauty of the natural world.

Get the lesson plan and activities for I Am Peace HERE

Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall

Jabari is definitely ready to jump off the diving board. He’s finished his swimming lessons and passed his swim test, and he’s a great jumper, so he’s not scared at all. “Looks easy,” says Jabari, watching the other kids take their turns. But when his dad squeezes his hand, Jabari squeezes back. He needs to figure out what kind of special jump to do anyway, and he should probably do some stretches before climbing up onto the diving board. In a sweetly appealing tale of overcoming your fears, Gaia Cornwall captures a moment between a patient and encouraging father and a determined little boy you can’t help but root for.

Get the lesson plan and activities for Jabari Jumps HERE

The Rough Patch by Brian Lies

Evan and his dog do everything together, from eating ice cream to caring for their prize-winning garden, which grows big and beautiful. One day the unthinkable happens: Evan’s dog dies. Heartbroken, Evan destroys the garden and everything in it. The ground becomes overgrown with prickly weeds and thorns, and Evan embraces the chaos.

But beauty grows in the darkest of places, and when a twisting vine turns into an immense pumpkin, Evan is drawn out of his isolation and back to the county fair, where friendships—old and new—await.

Best Children’s Books About Feelings

What are some of your favorite children’s books about feelings? Are there any must read children’s books about feelings that I left out? Let me know in the comments, and I’ll add it!

Remember: You can try a free lesson and activity for After the Fall with your students by signing up below:

Looking for the best children's books about feelings? These picture books on feelings for elementary students are engaging for primary and upper elementary kids. Books with lesson plans and activities linked. Picture books about various topics such as sadness, anxiety, overwhelm, anger and more for your kindergarten, first, second, third, fourth or fifth grade students. Your students will delight in these classic and brand new books!
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Hey there! I’m Josh from Picture Book Brain here to share only the best literature for you to use with your students. If you are looking for a specific book, use the search bar below to check my archives. Glad you’re here, and glad to help you!

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