Navigating Emotions

Palisades LibraryRead Feed

Navigating Emotions

Exploring Emotional Topics Through Picture Books

Discussing emotions with children can be a difficult task to navigate. Children might not know exactly what’s causing these new feelings, or how to process and cope with them. Convincing them to open up can be challenging, but these books will alleviate some of that pressure and will help guide conversations about difficult emotional topics like death, family separation and anger.

The death of a family member or friend can be extremely difficult to discuss for both the child and the adult. It's an emotional experience, and explaining death to children can be complicated. How to Say Goodbye by Geoffrey Hayes and When Dinosaurs Die by Laurene Krasny Brown delve into the death of a loved one, but they use animals as the main characters instead of humans. This allows the reader to see death through a different lens and makes it easier to understand.

For many, pets are as much a part of the family as people are, and their deaths can be just as devastating. Saying Goodbye to Lulu by Corinne Demas takes the reader through the process of grieving the loss of a pet, and then eventually healing and continuing on with life. Here are more books about death and grieving

Sometimes children don’t realize that the people in their lives experience emotional moments as well. Wild Feelings by David Milgrim and Tough Guys (Have Feelings Too) by Keith Negley explain that feelings are natural and that everyone, even the “tough guys” experience an array of emotions. Glad Monster, Sad Monster by Ed Emberley features monsters who explain why they’re feeling worried, angry, glad, etc…and comes with fold-out masks to encourage the reader to talk about their feelings as well.

Hurt feelings is something that everyone has to deal with at some point in their lives, and these books can help children cope when others aren’t kind. In Maria Dismondy’s Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun, Lucy stands up for herself when a classmate teases her for being different; Hurty Feelings by Helen Lester tells the story of a sensitive hippo and a rude elephant; and in When Sophie’s Feelings are Really Really Hurt by Molly Bang, Sophie defends her painting when other children make fun of it.

Even the littlest readers experience different emotions, and these boardbooks can help them along the way. Feelings = Sentimientos is a bilingual book that teaches children how to describe their feelings in both Spanish and English. In The Feelings Book by Todd Parr children express their moods, and in Sandra Boynton’s Happy Hippo, Angry Duck different animals experience an array of emotions through a hilarious story.