Reading has a very important role in our family dynamics. I want to cultivate my kids’ love for books and I feel that starts from me and my commitment to read to them. There’s quite a feeling in taking your time to browse through a book and in today’s hectic world, that’s something to pass on to our kids. Books are a support to teach them new concepts and help them develop. We’ve always put active effort into helping R. to name how she felt. Her brother E. needs constant reassurance on our love for him and is now starting to develop empathy and deal with his own emotions. Today I want to share my list of the best ten books we have used to teach our toddlers about emotions and feelings.
The feelings book – Todd Parr
Buy in ENG
Todd Parr is a classic to face delicate themes with small children. Kids love the simple and colourful style of drawings. The book doesn’t name exactly feelings, but describes different situations when one may wants to be on their own, or feels excited, and so on. The story concludes that it’s important to share your feelings with someone else. I feel this book is mostly useful to explain our children that it’s normal to have all sort of different feelings – positive or not – and that does not define who we are.
No matter what – Debi Gliori
Buy in: ENG – ITA
We own the Italian edition of this book and the story was fully translated in rhymes, which makes it sound very musical when read out. The main characters of this book are an adult fox (Large) and her cub (Small). In the Italian version their gender and relationship are not specified, which makes it inclusive for all kinds of families. Large comforts Small, telling her she’ll always be loved no matter what. A delicate tale about unconditional love.
You can always count on daddy – Mireille D’Allancé
Buy in: ENG / ESP – ITA
Keep this title in mind as a gift for next Father’s Day or for a soon-to-be dad. We loved this book and its pictures. It’s a short story of a young bear and his dad, who reassures him that no matter what happens, he’ll be there for him and will protect him from any danger.
The great big book of feelings – Mary Hoffman
Buy in ENG – FIN – ITA
I would recommend this book for preschool age children or older. We only browsed through it as a sort of illustrated enciclopedia, to trigger the discussion about some feelings. Nevertheless, it’s a rich resource and I love its illustrations. I’m sure this book lasts through years and years, I would definitely recommend it as a durable gift.
What a tantrum – Mireille D’Allancé
Buy in ENG / ESP – ITA
I would dare say this is my children’s favourite book ever and I am sorry to see it’s not an easy find in English language. Both my kids wanted me to read it so many times, they both can recite it by heart. It’s a short story about a boy who gets so mad that his anger manifests and turns his room upside down. The boy goes through the process of calming down after seeing the effects of his anger. As a parent, I see a couple of flaws in the plot (it’s not fully clear the manifestation is his anger and the child is sent to his room to calm down on his own), but it’s a fact that my kids adore it and it helped them to define anger when they felt it.
Frog is sad – Max Velthuijs
Buy in ENG
I found this book through a list published on a website and I’m grateful I did, because I would have never picked it among others at the library. Illustrations are nothing special, but I think the plot compensates. Frog feels sad and doesn’t know why. His friends don’t know how to make him happy and it turns out, he just needed to feel sad for a while. I love that it teaches how it’s okay to experience negative feelings sometime. I like to read it to my kids and relate to when it happened to them.
In my heart, a book of feelings – Jo Witek
Buy in ENG – ITA
We’ve recently received this book as a gift and we’ve all fallen in love with it. Each page describes a feeling in a very visual and poetic style. We’ve read it and tried to recall together when was the last time we felt like that. Definitely suitable both for R. (4 years old) and E. (2 years old). Definitely in the top 3 in this list.
Owl Howl – Paul Friester
Buy in ENG
There’s a whole series of books of Owl Howl. The cute little owl finds himself in some emotional situations (getting lost in the woods, being scared, …). I think it makes it easy for children to identify with the plot and can help starting a dialogue on negative feelings. The illustrations are very rich and coloured.
I love you as big as the world – David Van Buren
Buy in ENG – FIN
This is one of the sweetest books we’ve read. The concept is really similar to “No matter what” and it’s simply a declaration of unconditional love. I loved the pictures. Great choice for a bedtime story.
Inside Out, box of mixed emotions – Brittany Candau
Buy in ENG – ITA – FIN
Normally I am insensitive to Disney books, as I find them to be more marketing than content. However, this won the popular vote in my house. It’s not any deep, but still great to smile together and name emotions. There’s a good touch of humour which makes it enjoyable for parents as well. It’s very short, which makes it ideal for young toddlers.
Whatever book you choose, I feel it’s so important we help our kids to learn to recognise and name their feelings. Did you know any of the books in the list? Do you have more to suggest? Drop me a line in the comments.
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