Little Bodies, Big Feelings:
Our Favorite Feelings Books

Nora Hedgecock, OTR/L - May 14, 2020

Feeling our feelings can be hard for all of us. Big feelings can be especially challenging for our little ones, who are still learning how to recognize their emotions and find the language to express them.

Emotional intelligence refers to our ability to identify, reflect, manage, and express emotions. In children, emotional intelligence supports empathy, friendships, problem solving skills, and independence. Emerging research shows that emotional intelligence is a better predictor of school success than IQ!

Talking about feelings can be challenging at times. Books can be incredible tools to help children understand, honor, and manage their emotions. There are SO many great books out there, but these our some of our favorites at P2P!

Books for toddlers and preschool-aged children:

In My Heart: A Book of Feelings by Jo Witek
We LOVE this book at P2P and find that kids respond well to it. It’s beautifully illustrated and each page serves as a nice stage to talk about different times you or your child have experienced different feelings such as happiness, silliness, or sadness.

The Feelings Book by Todd Parr
This is a great book for little ones with its simple images of different emotions. Point out different facial expressions and have fun pretending to be in each mood to help your child recognize different feelings.

Grumpy Monkey by Suzanne Lang
A playful story about honoring our feelings, even the not so pleasant ones like grumpiness, so that they can pass.

Calm Down Time by Elizabeth Verdick
This book uses simple, accessible language to introduce our little ones to coping tools that can help us calm down when we’re upset. Each page encourages practice of different tools like breathing or giving our bodies a squeeze.

Pass It On by Sophy Henn
A sweet story about the beauty of sharing the joys and delights of life with those around us.

Books for kindergarten- and elementary school-aged children:

Don't Feed the Worry Bug and The Very Frustrated Monster by Andi Green
Part of the Worry Woo series (we have them all at P2P!), these books bring emotions to life in a whimsical way that we’ve found kids really enjoy. The stories bring levity and insight to difficult feelings that come up regularly for many of our little ones. We recommend the whole series but these are two of our favorites!

Listening to My Body by Gabi Garcia
Another one of our all-time favorites at P2P, this book is a great way to help kids begin to connect body and mind. Noticing and labeling the different sensations that come up within our bodies when we’re feeling certain ways is the first step towards being able to self-regulate. This book normalizes these experiences and emphasizes self-compassion when big feelings come up.

I'm Sad by Michael Ian Black and Debbie Ridpath Ohi
A sweet and light-hearted story that normalizes the feeling of sadness and encourages children to honor this feeling (within themselves or in a friend), knowing that it will pass. 

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
Another great one about frustration, this classic book lets our little ones know that everyone has bad days sometimes, and that’s ok.

Peaceful Piggy Meditation by Kerry Lee MacLean
This book introduces concepts on meditation and breathing in kid-friendly language and shows how pausing to sit and breathe can ease our mind.

A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon 
A playful book about being yourself, no matter what others think!

There may be more big feelings coming up right now (for us and our little ones!) with all the recent changes to our routines. This is ok, and we will get through it! We hope these books serve as helpful tools to talk about big feelings at home and invite the self-compassion we all deserve, now more than ever.

Happy reading!



Owenz, Meghan. “How to Strengthen Your Child's Emotional Intelligence.” The Gottman Institute, 29 Apr. 2019,