25 Children’s Books that Teach Emotions and Character Building Traits

25 Books That Teach Character Building Traits and Emotions

Books that teach emotions and character building traits are an invaluable resource for parents! Books are one of the easiest and most fun ways to teach kids about emotions and character building traits. Some of the books in the list below have been beloved bedtime reading books of our kids.

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Teaching our children to identify, label, and express their emotions has always been very important to The Husband and me.  Books in which children can relate with the characters can help kids internalize lessons that, we as parents, often struggle to teach our kids. With one psychologist and one early childhood educator in the house, books that teach character building traits and emotional intelligence have been very important additions to our kids’ bookshelves.

*Some of these books I have used in therapy with children with autism in teaching social situations and emotion identification and regulation. If you have a child with autism who likes to be read to, I highly recommend using books such as the ones listed below to help teach, and reinforce your teaching of, social situations and emotion identification and regulation.

Books that Teach Emotions and Character Building Traits

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The Way I Feel

One of our family’s favorites! This full color book is filled with vivid, expressive illustrations that help children ages 2 to 8 describe their emotions and understand that feelings are a normal part of life.

 The Way I Act

The Way I Act

The Way I Act uses detailed illustrations, type faces and vivid color to complement the simple verses that explain character traits like compassion and bravery.

How Full Is Your Bucket?

How Full Is Your Bucket? For Kids

In How Full Is Your Bucket? For Kids, Felix begins to see how every interaction in a day either fills or empties his bucket. Felix then realizes that everything he says or does to other people fills or empties their buckets as well.

 When Miles Got Mad

When Miles Got Mad

By encouraging Miles to use his words to express his anger, the Mad Monster helps Miles move through this big emotion to calm himself. Through this fun story and adorable illustrations, this insightful and entertaining children’s book offers much-needed comfort to young children as they struggle to regulate their emotions.

 The Juice Box Bully

The Juice Box Bully: Empowering Kids to Stand Up For Others

Have you ever seen a bully in action and done nothing about it? The kids at Pete’s new school get involved, instead of being bystanders. When Pete begins to behave badly, his classmates teach him about “The Promise”. Will Pete decide to shed his bullying habits and make “The Promise”?

 Enemy Pie

Enemy Pie

In this funny yet endearing story, one little boy learns an effective recipes for turning your best enemy into your best friend. Accompanied by charming illustrations, Enemy Pie serves up a sweet lesson in the difficulties and ultimate rewards of making new friends.

The Invisible Boy

The Invisible Boy

From esteemed author and speaker Trudy Ludwig and acclaimed illustrator Patrice Barton, this gentle story shows how small acts of kindness can help children feel included and allow them to flourish

The Feelings Book

The Feelings Book

The Feelings Book vibrantly illustrates the wide range of moods we all experience. Kids and adults will appreciate Todd Parr’s quirky intelligence as he pays special attention to the ever-changing, sometimes nonsensical emotions that we all feel. Targeted to young children first beginning to read, this book will inspire kids to discuss their multitude of feelings

The Wonderful Things You Will Be

The Wonderful Things You’ll Be

From brave and bold to creative and clever, Emily Winfield Martin’s rhythmic rhyme expresses all the loving things that parents think of when they look at their children. With beautiful, and sometimes humorous, illustrations, and a clever gatefold with kids in costumes, this is a book grown-ups will love reading over and over to kids—both young and old.

How Are You Peeling

 

How Are You Peeling?

Photos of scowling oranges and gregarious scallions garnish this garden of delights from the creators of Play with Your Food. Meanwhile, the rhyming text draws comparisons between the emotive plants and its audience when it queries, “Wired? Tired? Need a kiss?/ Do you know anyone like this?”

When Sophie Gets Angry, Really, Really Angry

 

When Sophie Gets Angry–Really, Really Angry…

Everybody gets angry sometimes. For children, anger can be very upsetting. Parents, teachers, and children can talk about it. People do lots of different things when they get angry. In this Caldecott-honor book, kids will see what Sophie does when she gets angry. What do you do?

When Sophie's Feelings are Really, Really Hurt

 

When Sophie’s Feelings are Really, Really Hurt

Everyone’s feelings get hurt, and it’s especially painful in childhood. In this story, Bang’s popular character Sophie is hurt when the other children laugh at her and tell her she’s wrong. Sophie’s face gets hot, and tears begin to flow. Then she questions herself and the value of the choices she’s made.

 Today I Feel Silly

Today I Feel Silly: And Other Moods That Make My Day

Silly, cranky, excited, or sad–everyone has moods that can change each day. Jamie Lee Curtis’s zany and touching verse, paired with Laura Cornell’s whimsical and original illustrations, helps kids explore, identify, and, even have fun with their ever-changing moods.

 Wemberly Worried

Wemberly Worried

Wemberly worried about spilling her juice, about shrinking in the bathtub, even about snakes in the radiator. She worried morning, noon, and night. “Worry, worry, worry,” her family said. “Too much worry.” And Wemberly worried about one thing most of all: her first day of school. But when she meets a fellow worrywart in her class, Wemberly realizes that school is too much fun to waste time worrying!

Words are not for Hurting

Words Are Not For Hurting

The older children get, the more words they know and can use—including hurtful words. This book teaches children that their words belong to them: They can think before they speak, then choose what to say and how to say it. It also explores positive ways to respond when others use unkind words and reinforces the importance of saying “I’m sorry.” Includes tips for parents and caregivers.

Angry Octopus

Angry Octopus

Angry Octopus is a story that teaches children how to use progressive muscle relaxation and breathing techniques to calm down, lower stress, and control anger. Children relate to the angry octopus in this story as the sea child shows the octopus how to take a deep breath, calm down, and manage his anger.

Zach Gets Frustrated

Zach Gets Frustrated

Zach and his family go to the beach, but Zach is having a lousy day. First, he dropped his toothbrush in the toilet. Then his best friend went to someone else’s birthday party instead of joining him. But most frustrating of all, he can’t get his kite to fly! Zach kicks sand, yells angry words, and asks his dad if they can just go home now. Instead, his dad teaches him a simple, three-step approach to get a handle on frustration and find a way to enjoy himself even when things aren’t going his way.

When I feel Sad

When I Feel Sad

Readers will recognize similiar experiences in their own lives as this little guinea pig describes feeling sad when someone is cross or when something bad happens. Eventually our heroine realizes that feeling sad doesn’t last forever.

Unstoppable Me!

Unstoppable Me! 10 Ways to Soar Through Life

In Unstoppable Me! Dr. Dyer teaches children how to hold on to the no-limit thinking he believes they were born with, rather than just trying to “fit in.” In doing so, they can learn to truly enjoy life and become unstoppable as they strive to attain their dreams.
    The 10 important lessons in this book include the value of taking risks, dealing with stress and anxiety, and learning to enjoy each moment.
 The Pout Pout Fish

The Pout Pout Fish

Swim along with the pout-pout fish as he discovers that being glum and spreading “dreary wearies” isn’t really his destiny. Bright ocean colors and playful rhyme come together in Deborah Diesen’s fun fish story that’s sure to turn even the poutiest of frowns upside down.

 Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun

Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun: Having the Courage to be Who You Are

How can Ralph be so mean? Lucy is one of a kind and Ralph loves to point that out. Lucy’s defining moment comes when Ralph truly needs help. Because she knows what she stands for, Lucy has the courage to make a good choice. This charming story empowers children to always do the right thing and be proud of themselves, even when they are faced with someone as challenging as Ralph.

 The Most Magnificent Thing

The Most Magnificent Thing

For the early grades’ exploration of character education, this funny book offers a perfect example of the rewards of perseverance and creativity. The girl’s frustration and anger are vividly depicted in the detailed art, and the story offers good options for dealing honestly with these feelings, while at the same time reassuring children that it’s okay to make mistakes.

 Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

People of all ages have terrible, horrible days, and Alexander offers us the cranky commiseration we crave as well as a reminder that things may not be all that bad.

Glad Monster, Sad Monster

Glad Monster, Sad Monster

Glad, sad, silly, mad – monsters have all kinds of different feelings! In this innovative die-cut book, featuring a snazzy foil cover, you’ll try on funny masks as you walk through the wide range of moods all little monsters (and kids!) experience.

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About Amy @ Oh So Savvy Mom

My name is Amy. I'm a mom to three, wife to one, and a sister and aunt to many. I'm an Air Force wife currently living in Bossier City, Louisiana. Oh So Savvy Mom began as a way for me to share parenting and product advice with others. I have a lot share, but I'm no loud mouth. My blog is my way to be heard. Come join me at Oh So Savvy Mom, learn about new products, pick up some parenting tips and tricks, and have a good time.

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